AROUND SLOVAKIA

Devínska Nová Ves hill-fort to get big makeover

IN THE 9th century, two Slavonic hill-forts were built overlooking the present Bratislava borough of Devínska Nová Ves. Planning is underway to revamp the lower fort area of the site, where a massive fortress once stood, and create a complex that would eventually include a range of educational, cultural and sporting activities. There are also plans to connect the fort to an international cycling route.

The nearby ruins of Devín Castle are already a major historical attraction.The nearby ruins of Devín Castle are already a major historical attraction. (Source: Petit Press)

IN THE 9th century, two Slavonic hill-forts were built overlooking the present Bratislava borough of Devínska Nová Ves. Planning is underway to revamp the lower fort area of the site, where a massive fortress once stood, and create a complex that would eventually include a range of educational, cultural and sporting activities. There are also plans to connect the fort to an international cycling route.

“People today know only about Devín Castle, but they fail to understand the context of these outpost fortifica- tions,” architect Pavol Kopač-ka, chief planner of the project, told the TASR newswire. “The whole territory was connected through such forts, and we should demonstrate this to the public.”

He added that he wants to recreate the space and outline of the former fort. Eleven centuries ago, the lower fort, which is called “On the Rock” or “Above the Quarry” in the documents, was protected by a defensive wall two metres thick with a wooden palisade. The fort was entered through two massive gates. The northwest entrance gate with watchtowers and an outline of the palisades will be built first.

“We want it to be visible for tourists from the Freedom Cycling Bridge / Cyklomost slobody, as an international cycling route leading to the fort,” the architect said. Kopačka, together with other activists and support from the local administration of Devínska Nová Ves, also wants to renew the steep road that once led from the Morava River to the northwestern gate.

The plan is for the fort to be built up gradually and include maps, information boards and a water-processing unit. The site would also offer space for educational activities focusing on history, culture and nature. Kopačka added that under the supervision of experienced adults, children could participate in educational activities which were formerly forbidden because the surrounding area is a national natural reserve Devínska Kobyla. Gradually, inner buildings and furnishings will be completed, including ovens and equipment for old-time crafts.

“Since the 1920s, research has turned up many discoveries here,” explains Kopačka. He added, however, that the complex should include not just historical architecture, but also modern technology – pointing to similar projects in Modrá, Pobedim or Chotěbuz in the Czech Republic.

“In Devínska, we have the biggest Slavonic-Avar burial ground ever uncovered. There are many Roman, Avar, Celtic and Slavonic artefacts here; they only need to be made available to public,” he said.
Devín Castle, together with other nearby monuments, could be connected to the forts and burial grounds by an educational path. However, the exact timing is not clear yet as there are several technical adjustments and some historical research to be finished.

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