This article was published in Bratislava City Guide. With this detailed, pocket-sized guide, it is impossible to get lost in the Slovak capital.
In years past, only so-called “royal towns” enjoyed the privilege to have fortifications around them, and Pressburg obtained this right in 1297. The city walls encircled the relatively small area of the current Old Town, while the castle had its own fortification system.
However what initially helped the town to thrive behind the protection of thickstone walls and a moat later hampered its development. Finally Empress Maria Theresa ordered demolition of the city walls in 1775 to allow the town to grow.
Relatively little of the mediaeval fortification system remains today, including only one of the original four gates, St Michael’s Tower, St Michael’s Bridge, the barbican and the moat. The biggest section of preserved walls is next to St Martin’s Cathedral, whose façade used to form part of the fortification – the reason there is no entrance to the cathedral from this side.
Some city walls on the north side of the cathedral became the back walls of the houses in the Jewish quarter, meaning they survived until the 1960s. But they were eventually destroyed, along with the rest of the area, during the large-scale re-building of that era.
The walls are an open site from May until September, Monday through Sunday.
Admission is free.
The City Walls (Hradby)
Address: Úzka / Staromestská, Bratislava