What secrets do the Petržalka bunkers hide?

The new cycling route offers an insight into the former military fortification close to the capital.

(Source: Courtesy of Bratislava Region)
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Visitors to the Bratislava Region can now use a new cycling route and thematic path revealing the secrets of the military bunkers situated in the Petržalka borough.

The representatives of the region placed four information boards, three boards showing cycling routes and new signs on the first 3.7-kilometre stage leading from Berg in Austria to the Lafranconi Bridge, in cooperation with the Slovak Cycling Club, the civic association and the Czechoslovak Fortification Museum.

“I’m happy that we opened the thematic route via the Petržalka bunkers today,” said Tatiana Mikušová, deputy of the Bratislava Region’s parliament and chair of the European affairs, regional cooperation and tourism committee, as quoted in a press release.

The cycling route offers two bonuses. First, it is marked by information boards that reveal the history and the purpose of the bunkers, and second, it connects the international Eurovelo 13 and Eurovelo 6 cycling routes, she added.

Important value

The information boards present four topics: the Petržalka bunkers in wider concept; bunkers B-S1, 2 and 3 that are part of the complex but belong to private owners; the Pečniansky Les forest between the years 1948-89; and the Czechoslovak Fortification Museum that is a central piece of the project.

The former Czechoslovak fortifications have an important cultural and historical value as they create a unique and preserved military complex. The core of the project is the museum situated in bunker B-S4 “Lány” which has been renovated and can be visited by the public.

“It is one of the crucial projects that have been carried out this year,” said Agáta Mikulová, head of the tourism section of the Bratislava Region, as quoted in the press release.

History of the Iron Curtain

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The topic of the Pečniansky Les forest between the years 1948-89 also informs about the Iron Curtain which politically divided Europe and was an area of many tragedies for those who tried to escape to Austria. The former bunkers were not used by the border guards, though. They were considered undesirable as those escaping Czechoslovakia could hide in them.

“It is the first educational cycling route in the Bratislava Region and the very first meaningful route pertaining to the Iron Curtain, as Eurovelo 13 is more than 10,000 kilometres and crosses the whole of Europe, mirroring the border of the Iron Curtain,” said Michal Hlatký from the Slovak Cycling Club, which also administers Eurovelo 13 in Slovakia.

The route offers visitors interesting information about the region and its history before 1989, he added.

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