For almost a hundred years, people would come to the historical Salvator pharmacy in Bratislava’s Old Town, to pick up their medicine or just to admire its rare baroque furniture.
The pharmacy, located near St Martin’s Cathedral, survived the Habsburg monarchy, the interwar Czechoslovak Republic, the totalitarian wartime Slovak state and fifty years of the communist regime. It did not survive the turbulent privatisation years after the fall of the regime in 1989. The pharmacy closed down in 1995. Its valuable set of antique furniture went from one pair hands to another, leaving the pharmacy despairingly empty and closed.
Only after the Bratislava city council acquired the iconic building on Panská Street under its exclusive ownership in May this year, did some hope emerge that the pharmacy may return to its former look. The city council has initiated negotiations with the current owner of the furniture, Erik Kovács, about its possible return to the pharmacy.
Kovács built a separate building in the western Slovak town of Nové Mesto nad Váhom, near Trenčín, for his private collection of artifacts related to the Slovak and European history of pharmacies, including Salvator’s furniture.
Salvator Pharmacy Exhibition
- open daily, except Monday, from 10:00 until 18:00 until 31 October
- free entrance
“The acquisition of Salvator’s furnishings in 2010 was the natural outcome of my efforts to map and preserve the history of Slovak pharmacies,” Kovács told The Slovak Spectator, adding that he managed to save this dilapidated national cultural monument from its destruction or its sale abroad.
He now believes that bringing the furniture back to Bratislava is a unique opportunity to increase the availability and attractiveness of his collection, and to make it accessible to more visitors, including foreign tourists. At the same time, he admits that the Bratislava city council is not the only party interested in buying the artefacts from him.
“The current wave of media coverage has probably attracted another person interested in buying this furniture,” Kovács admitted.
The negotiations are still at an early stage and any agreement will depend on the options offered, said Bratislava spokesperson Katarína Rajčanová.