Bratislava’s former Propeller ferry terminal turns into a summer reading room

The iconic building awaits its future fate.

Propeler how it looked like in January.Propeler how it looked like in January. (Source: Sme)

In the past, the iconic Propeler building served as a ferry terminal for the Propeller Line which ran boats taking people from one bank of the Danube River to the opposite side. After the line ceased operations, the building turned into a café. But this was not in business for long and the building, designed by prominent architect Emil Belluš in the Functionalistic style, remained empty and began to deteriorate. Now Bratislava’s borough of Old Town wants to bring it back to life.

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“We have started restoration because we do not want it to deteriorate for another tourist season,” said Old Town Mayor Radoslav Števčík, as cited by the SITA newswire in late June. “During the summer it will serve as a summer reading room and will also offer light refreshments.”

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Originally the Old Town wanted the building to again serve as a café with a small tourist information centre. A tender for its rental was even promulgated but councillor Matej Vagač proposed scrapping this. He did not like the fact that the only criterion of the tender was the rental.

“Logically, in this way the building might have ended up as only a café,” said Vagač. “But the building should primarily serve its original purpose and this is as a stop for public water transport.”

The councillors scrapped the tender in February even though more than 30 entities showed interest.

For now, until the councillors find a final and sustainable solution for the next usage of the building, it will serve as the summer reading room. It should be open daily between 12:00 and 20:00. At first it will be open seasonally, i.e. in August and September and maybe in October. The touristic organisation for the Bratislava Self-governing Region will have space there, too.

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“I would be glad if Propeler is in operation year round,” said Števčík. “The embankment needs something like this.”

Propeller in Bratislava

The Propeller Line operated in Bratislava from 1893 until 2003. During this time they ran more than seven ships in total. The steamer Devín served the longest – from 1932 until 1968. Now its body is in a desolate condition in Vlčie Hrdlo port, the SITA newswire recalled.

The Old Town borough is supportive of the resumption of transport across the river. However, the operation of such a line would be too expensive for its budget.

Read also: Boats on the Danube may speed up commuting to Bratislava Read more 

There are also plans to launch public river transport on the Danube. This way people living in towns and villages along the river might commute to Bratislava. The former Propeller station might serve as a terminal in Bratislava. However, even though stops have been already built near villages of Čunovo and Hamuliakovo and the town of Šamorín, plans for public river transport have not materialised yet.

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