THIS POSTCARD from the second decade of the 20th century brings together a large amount of symbolism, history, and politics. In fact, this photograph of Devín castle (situated near Bratislava) was taken sometime at the end of the 19th century, but the image was retouched and set in this form several years later.
At the castle, which was once the symbol of Slovak national pride, Hungarians, celebrating the 1,000th anniversary of the arrival of their ancestors on this territory built Árpád's column to symbolise their power. In the postcard, issued shortly after the origin of the Czechoslovak state (1918), the publisher removed the column. One can still see its round base on the top of the castle's ruins in the centre. Also changed was the original name of the steamer from Luitpold - a strong reminder of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy - to the Czech title Orel, or Eagle.
Today, tourists come and walk around the Devín castle, whose ruins no longer betray the harsh ideological battles fought over it.
Prepared by Branislav Chovan, Special to the Spectator