RECONSTRUCTION of Bratislava Castle, with the primary goal of returning the palace and its surroundings to the Baroque look from the period described as the castle’s golden age, has resumed. Negotiations between the Office of the Slovak Parliament, which actually owns the castle, and the Váhostav construction company, which is undertaking the extensive reconstruction work of the palace, has resulted in a reduced final price tag of €63.181 million, €7 million less than the original price, the SITA newswire wrote.
The reconstruction work is expected to be finished by late fall and the public will be invited to see the restored interior rooms on November 17, Slovakia’s national holiday known as the Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy.
“I’m glad that we closed the demanding negotiations lasting for five months with such a satisfactory result,” said Michal Nižňan, the head of the Office of the Slovak Parliament, adding that a tenth appendix to the original contract was signed on February 22.
When the government of Iveta Radičová took power last July, the Office of the Slovak Parliament temporarily halted reconstruction to reassess the scope of the work as well as the conditions in the work contracts. Some critics of the reconstruction had labelled the renovation as overpriced and too lavish to be undertaken with public funds during the economic crisis.
The negotiations between the parties began last August and the €7-million reduction in costs has been termed a compromise reached between the Office of the Slovak Parliament and Váhostav.
“Váhostav discounted some of its work and simultaneously we re-assessed the scope of some work which had been agreed upon in appendices to the original contract,” Nižňan told the SITA newswire, adding that the level of lighting inside of the castle was reduced and that should also result in lower energy costs in the future. Nižňan added that changes were consulted with the Slovak National Museum, which rents castle premises to display some of its exhibitions, so that future conditions will be in accordance with the museum’s requirements.
Váhostav won a tender for the project and began reconstruction work at Bratislava Castle in April 2008. Much of the reconstruction work is focused on the palace itself because of its poor condition and because it no longer met the requirements for housing historical exhibitions.
The original plans include opening of several historical underground spaces to visitors as well as re-creating the former Baroque garden and the historical buildings housing the former Orangerie and the winter riding school.
The original costs of the entire project inside and outside Bratislava Castle were calculated at about €1 billion, excluding VAT, with the costs for reconstruction of the palace accounting for €33 million. Archaeological research as well as works to preserve those findings and additions to the original project increased the overall costs.
14. Mar 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff