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Bratislava will be for free again

People can attend a rich programme of Bratislava City Days during the weekend 22-23 April.

Citizens and visitors of Bratislava can again look forward to free entrance to city museums and galleries, free sightseeing tours, free tours by historical tram and many other interesting programmes and events to be held during the Bratislava City Days. These will take place during the weekend of April 22 and 23 with some events taking place on Friday, April 21. The festivities are also the opening of the upcoming tourist season.

“On Saturday morning at 10:00, under the Michael’s Gate, we will symbolically open the city gates and invite citizens and visitors inside the city,” said Bratislava Mayor, Ivo Nesrovnal.

The city will be helped in this by the re-enactment group, TOSTABUR, who will demonstrate old martial arts and crafts.

“After the rococo period this year the city days will be dedicated to the renaissance. This will be reflected in the costumes and decorations,” said Vladimír Grežo, the director of the Bratislava Cultural and Information Centre (BKIS). “The whole concept will be changed a bit, but the message itself of opening the city gates and celebrations of the city and its citizens will remain the same.”

The tradition that the city opens to its citizens and visitors on the day of St George is linked to old history.

“Based on the city’s privileges, burghers could freely elect their mayor and councillors since the 13th century,” explained Nesrovnal, adding that the election took place around the festivities of St George marked on April 24. “In terms of those times this was an important and rare privilege in the whole of Europe. The election was accompanied by festivities as well as with informal meetings of representatives of the city and the citizens of this royal town.”

To highlight this tradition the city decided to rename the event after 13 years from Bratislava for All, to Bratislava City Days.

“With the new name we wanted to give this event a clear identity and stress the relation of the city and its organisations with its citizens,” said Nesrovnal.

People should be prepared for masses, even though everything will depend on the weather. Last year opened museums, galleries and other events drew about 104,000 people. Traditionally the zoo was the biggest attraction with 20,000 visitors.

Visiting normally not accessible places

The city council and its organisations have prepared a rich programme with traditional attractions that repeat due to their popularity each year. People can visit the historic Primate’s Palace and apart from rooms opened to tourists they will be able to visit the parts used by Mayor Nesrovnal and his colleagues from the city council.

Those patient enough will be able to visit the St Jacob chapel in front of the Old Market Hall. It is usually closed to the public and thus its opening traditionally results in long queues.

Also the Sihoť island on the Danube River, a place from where a significant portion of Bratislava is supplied with drinking water, is normally not accessible. During the city days those interested will be able to visit it and also see the oldest well from 1886 as well as a tunnel going under a branch of the Danube.

Annual classics

As in previous years citizens and visitors of Bratislava will be able to visit, free of charge, thematic museums of the Bratislava City Museum like the Museum of City History in the Old Town Hall, the Museum of Pharmacy in the Red Crayfish Pharmacy or the Museum of Clocks in the rococo House at the Good Shepherd.

Those who like sports will have the opportunity to go swimming or skating at one of the city’s sports facilities, such as the Pasienky Pool or the Ondrej Nepela Arena.

First Cyclo fest

Enthusiastic bikers can get the latest information about cycle transport in the capital or get their bike checked at the first Cyclo festival. It will take place in the Old Market Hall on Friday, April 21.

Be a tourist in your own city

The Bratislava Tourist Board has prepared a series of thematic sightseeing tours given in Slovak as well as English and German. These tours will impart interesting things about the capital’s history and reveal the best that Bratislava has to offer.

The Bratislava – Pressburg – Pozsony 90-minute sightseeing tour in English will start at the Primate’s Square Well on Saturday as well as Sunday at 14:00.

Markets

Markets have been an inseparable part of each city festivity. Bratislava City Days will be not an exception with several markets of various kinds. The courtyard of the Old City Hall will host the craft market (April 21-23). The traditional book course will take place at the courtyard of the City Library of Bratislava at Klariská 18 from April 20 until April 26. The popular Good Market specialising in delicious local products will take place on Jakubovo Square on Saturday and the Old Market Hall will host the traditional Trh-Piac-Market on the same day.

Fjúžn festival

On Sunday the Old Market Hall will host the Fjúžn Paráda, an informal community event presenting the culture and activities of people from various nations living in Bratislava. It will be part of the 12th Fjúžn festival starting on April 20 and lasting until April 28. It will include exhibitions, dance and music performances, discussions, stand-up comedy in English - Joke’s On You, a presentation of a new community center for foreigners launched by Internationals Bratislava, and more. The programme, in Slovak is available here.

Lets go into nature

Those preferring nature can attend programmes prepared by the city forest company at Partizánska Lúka (Partisan Meadow) and Železná Studienka recreation resort. Apart from others there will be a demonstration of bee keeping and falconry as well as wood carving with a power-saw.

Wolves get new enclosure

On Saturday Bratislava Zoo is looking forward to the grand opening of the enclosure for Eurasian wolves at 14:00.

The place in which the wolves used to live in the Bratislava zoo was one of its most criticised facilities. This was because, for the wolf pair that arrived at Bratislava in 2006, this zoo should have been only a place of temporary stay. However, they remained here and even had offspring. The zoo wanted to build them a proper facility in the past but it lacked the €90,000 for doing so. Its plan materialised only this spring.

Free access

All the events of the Bratislava City Days will be free for citizens and visitors of Bratislava. People only need to collect free tickets for some events with limited access, such as Danube boat trips or the theatrical performance, Kids and Wolf.

Historical buses and trams

The city calls on people to leave their cars at home and travel to the city by public transport. On some lines – to Devín Castle, the zoo and Železná Studnička – there will be more buses running to satisfy the expected higher interest for transport.

There will also be historical buses and trams where people will be able to ride them free of charge. These will be marked by an H. For example, the historical bus Karosa ŠL 11 will run on the H25 line from the SNP Bridge up to the Berg custom house. People can use it for visiting the BS-4 military bunker.

Topic: Bratislava


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