The relatively small historic centre of the Slovak capital, and its vicinity, have turned into a bustling festive area in anticipation of the arrival of Baby Jesus (or Santa Claus for visitors coming from other traditions). There are Christmas markets, Christmas trees, nativity scenes, carol singers, the smell of hot toddy or mulled wine – and crowds of people as a bonus – everywhere. One week before the official start of Advent, the first market has already opened, with many more to follow.
The core of the markets is, as usual, the Main Square, with its stage, tall Christmas tree and kiosks flanking the small space. Two smaller markets are nearby in the Františkánske (or Francis’) and Primaciálne (Primate’s) Squares. A more specialised market offering traditional Slovak crafts and products is located in the courtyard of the Old Town Hall. All of these markets have been organised by the Bratislava town office.
A further Christmas market, competing with the central ones, lures visitors to the elongated Hviezdoslavovo Square; this one organised by the Old-Town office. Here, the artificial ice-rink is once again available to the public.
A smaller market, but with live and broadcast concerts, will also open from December 1 until December 18, in the garden of the pyramidal Slovak Radio building in Mýtna 1, slightly outside the town centre.
For the first time, there will be a programme on the City Walls, next to St Martin’s Cathedral.
The Eurovea shopping centre has also prepared a special festive programme.
Most of the markets will close during the Christmas holidays but the one in Primate’s Square will continue until January 2.
Not forgetting to saturate the soul after the stomach has been filled nicely, there is a rich cultural programme organised for every day – with a special stress on weekends. It is impossible to name all the events, performers and genres, as these vary from carols – Slovak and international – folklore, jazz, classical music, gospels, and charity events, through fencing and historical re-enactment ensembles, programmes for St Nicolas’ Day (December 6), for children, Roma folklore, a designer market, demonstrations of traditional crafts’ and Nativity re-enactments.
29. Nov 2015 at 7:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská