Check out the evolution of Bratislava in maps

What did Bratislava look like shortly after the Soviet invasion?

Aerial view of Bratislava from May 2021.Aerial view of Bratislava from May 2021. (Source: Michal Svítok/TASR)

Although five bridges over the Danube dominate the Bratislava skyline, the Slovak capital had only one bridge running across the river a half century ago.

Aerial views from 1969, published by the city through the Dve tváre Bratislavy (Two Faces of Bratislava) application, show Bratislava at the beginning of the Soviet occupation and normalisation.

“Differences can be seen at first glance,” Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo said. “Many parts of the city were still villages or fields.”

Lost in Bratislava? Impossible with this City Guide! Lost in Bratislava? Impossible with this City Guide! (Source: Spectacular Slovakia)

Highways, shopping centres and the Volkswagen Slovakia car plant did not exist 50 years ago. And even the only standing bridge in Bratislava had a different name. The Red Army Bridge changed its name to Old Bridge after the decline of communism, in 1990.

No Draždiak 50 years ago

Three small villages – Petržalka, Ovsište and Starý háj – formed the largest residential area in Slovakia five decades ago. Where most blocks of flats stand today, pastures and dense floodplain forests spread out in the bygone era.

Petržalka residents often spend their free time by the Draždiak lake, which cannot be seen on the map. Like other gravel pits, it was created later during the construction of apartment buildings.

However, time did not have much effect on the fuel producer Slovnaft.

“The refinery is located on both sides of the map,” said Pavol Škápik of the city’s data policy and analysis department.

The only visible change in regard to Slovnaft is the size of its premises.

Urban development

Bratislava created its orthophotomaps by processing aerial photographs. The photo from 1969 comes from the Topographic Institute in Banská Bystrica.

The purpose of the map application is to show the urban development of Bratislava along with the history of the city to its residents, visitors, and other groups.


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