A sanctuary for Franciscan monks and pub owners

Find peace of mind in the oldest religious building in Bratislava's Old Town.

Franciscan Church of Lord’s Annunciation (Františkánsky kostol zvestovania Pána)Franciscan Church of Lord’s Annunciation (Františkánsky kostol zvestovania Pána) (Source: Courtesy of Spectacular Slovakia)
Lost in Bratislava? Impossible with this City Guide! Lost in Bratislava? Impossible with this City Guide!

This article was published in Bratislava City Guide. With this detailed, pocket-sized guide, it is impossible to get lost in the Slovak capital.

It is not possible to visit the Franciscan Church right now due to measures put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Slovakia. However, you can still learn more about its history and cultural significance in this article.

The Franciscan Church, part of the Franciscan monastery, is the oldest religious building in Bratislava’s Old Town, originally built in the gothic style between 1280-97. After suffering damage in the earthquake of 1590, the church was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. Now, the façade is mostly baroque.

The church was consecrated in 1297 in the presence of King Andrew III, and the oldest remaining part is the presbytery. A gothic tower was replaced by a neo-gothic version in 1897, but the original is now in Sad Janka Kráľa park, in Petržalka across the Danube, where it serves as a small pavilion. Legend has it that the bell in the tower came to be known as the “beer bell”, announcing the closing time for pubs.

The church was an important place during coronation ceremonies in Bratislava. New kings of Hungary walked here from St Martin’s Cathedral and appointed their Knights of the Golden Spur. In 1526, Ferdinand I, the holy Roman emperor, was elected as King of Hungary here and throughout medieval times, the huge church premises were also used for public meetings, including the election of the city mayor.

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The gothic Chapel of Saint John the Evangelist at the church’s northern end is a double-floored chapel with a crypt that was built in the 14th century by Ján, son of Bratislava’s mayor at the time Jakub. It became the funeral chapel for the mayoral family. Reconstructed in 1831, the chapel is now one of the most significant works of gothic architecture in Slovakia. New residential wings of the monastery were added during the 17th and 18th centuries. The main altar representing the annunciation was constructed between 1720-30.

Another chapel was added to the church in 1708, dedicated to Santa Maria di Loreto, containing a statue of the Black Madonna with Jesus.

The church also houses a rare relic: the torso of Saint Reparat, who was a 4th century Christian deacon from Italy. Reparat died a martyr in 353 and had his tongue cut out and his right hand cut off. He was buried in Rome until 1769, when his body was moved to Bratislava on the request of the Franciscan friar Eugen Kósa.

Today, the church and monastery with its garden belong to Franciscan monks. Mass is held daily in both Slovak and Hungarian.

Opening hours:

Apr-Oct: Mon-Sat 10:00-17:00 (entrance hall)
Jul-Aug: Mon-Fri 10:00-17:00, Sat 10:00-17:00 (entrance hall)

Ticket prices:

Voluntary donation.

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