STATUS as a free imperial city during the Middle Ages was a privilege, but also a commitment. One of the most important obligations was to build fortifications and citadels around the town.
Modra, which is nestled below the Small Carpathians, started building its strongholds comparatively late, at a time when their significance had already begun to decrease.
From 1610 to 1643, architects constructed three gates: the Pezinok Gate, the Upper Gate and the Lower Gate. As a symbol of loyalty to the Emperor, the Pezinok Gate was decorated with an imperial eagle and faced towards Vienna.
But only the Upper Gate has been preserved and until 1918, one could even read a Czech inscription on the front of it: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” This quote from the Bible shows how insecure people felt just a few centuries ago.
Only a handful of gates still stand in Slovakia, since a majority of them were pulled down as cities expanded.
This postcard from 1925 shows the Upper Gate in Modra. The hedge and tall trees have been replaced by the town’s main road.