MICHALSKÁ ranks among the most famous streets in the Slovak capital. Originally, an old trade route led through it, heading towards Moravia. Buildings were gradually constructed along the route, and one of the oldest of Bratislava’s streets thereby came into being.
The street, along with the only city gate to have survived to this day, both bear the name of St Michael, after a church that no longer exists but used to stand on the site.
The tower itself dates back to the first half of the 14th century. In front of the gate, a barbican (from the medieval Latin word barbecana – the outer fortification of a city or a castle) was built in the 15th century from which first a drawbridge and then, from 1727, a stone bridge led.
Michalská veža, or Michael’s Tower, can be seen together with the bridge in this replica of a painting by the artist Stankovits from the beginning of the 20th century. This postcard, with a winter motif, was sent as a Christmas greeting; on the back, the sender wishes merry Christmas to an addressee in distant Sweden way back in 1912.
And as Christmas is again nearing, let us recall two ancient myths, or legends, connected to this feast.
Several local Christmas tales were situated not in the city itself, but rather in its densely forested surroundings. Rumour had it that several people who ventured from Železná studienka to Kamzík hill during the holy night met a fox with a human head. The fox followed them to the highest point of the hill, where it suddenly disappeared. And according to another legend, in the vicinity of Železné Hámre one could meet a giant hare dressed as a forester.
19. Dec 2011 at 0:00 | By Branislav Chovan