Technical Monuments Day Conference
Technical Monuments Day Conference
Organized by the Slovak Monuments Board
Place and Date: Waterworks Museum, September 26, 2017
The conference included presentations of technical monuments in Bratislava and Slovakia that have been preserved. Attending and participating at the conference were representatives from the Ministry of Culture, museums and both members and friends from special interest clubs. Many of Bratislava’s technical monuments were demolished in the second half of the 20th century as they had not been embellished with ornaments, and hence people no longer considered them to be a part of the city’s history. Most of them were designed and built in the early 20th century, and not just by Slovaks, but also Hungarian, Austrian and German architects and builders as Slovakia was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Empress Maria Theresa deserves much of the credit not only for Pressburg’s economic and social development in the years of the Habsburg Monarchy, but also for the reforms that laid the framework for the current education system and national government.
The following topics were presented to cover Bratislava:
Zimný Prístav Pumping Station (Mgr. Lenka Halásová), The Feiglers and the Industrialization of Pressburg (Prof. Ing. Arch Jana Pohaničová), Transforming the Šturec into a ship museum and museum of river transport (Ing. Ernest Húska), Railway Museum and Documentation Center and Its Collection (Ing. Michal Tunega), Two-axle Trams in Pressburg/Bratislava 1895-2017 (Erik Žiak, DPB a.s.), Bratislava-Vienna Tram: forerunner of today’s train-trams (Peter Martinko), Defenses in Czechoslovakia and the Czechoslovak Fortification Museum (Ing. Martin Kubala), The Slovak Radio Building (Ing. arch. Štefan Bekeš, PhD). A commemorative tour of Sihoť Island took place after the lectures.
Some interesting thoughts that came out of selected talks
Zimný Prístav Wastewater Pumping Station
Constructed in 1904–5, it is one of only three such stations that have been preserved. The pumping station drained sewage into the Danube River and prevented the city from being flooded when there was high water. To save the pumping station, the Apollo Bridge was shifted to a new location on the river. The station ceased to operate in 1992 and was declared a National Cultural Monument in 2011.
The Feiglers and Their Industrial Designs
The Feiglers were architects and builders instrumental in the development of 19th century Pressburg into the modern city of Bratislava. The members of the Feigler family that contributed the most were Ignatz Feigler Sr., Ignatz Feigler Jr., and Alexander Feigler. They designed and built several major buildings in the city, such as the city gasworks, city waterworks, the pumping station at Sihoť Island and the first horse-drawn railway station in Great Hungary. Other examples of the Feiglers’ architectural work include the Stein Brewery, the Nobel Dynamite and later the Patrónka factory in the eponymous neighborhood of Bratislava, the Stollwerck Factory and the building housing the Waterworks Museum.
Zimný Prístav and the Šturec
Zimný Prístav (Winter Harbor) covers 50 hectares of land. It began to be developed in the second half of the 20th century when the flow of the Danube River was regulated. It is often called the forgotten part of Bratislava. At one time the port was situated in the outskirts of the city, but today it is practically located in the center of Bratislava and considerable development potential exists, even for tourism. There are five national cultural monuments here along with a functionalist building Warehouse 7, which was built in the 1920s. The Danube Trade Fair was started near Warehouse 7 in 1923, before later moving to PKO and then to its current home in Incheba. It was a major trade fair in the years when it was held at Zimný Prístav and later became a trade fair for the tourist industry, too.
National Cultural Monuments at Zimný Prístav:
- The Šturec was built in 1937 (before the war it was a tank vessel called Štúr). The ship was christened by Milan Hodža, the first Slovak premier to serve in the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938). When the Apollo refinery was bombed in 1944, part of the ship was destroyed, and it had to be shortened by 14 meters. The boat is exceptional for its riveted construction, similar to the construction of the Titanic. After the war it was renamed the Šturec and used as a cruise ship. It is 56 meters long and the largest movable monument in Bratislava. In 2013–2014, the ship was entrusted to the Bratislava Transport Museum and loaded on a ship lift for reconstruction. The ship will be exhibited by the Transport Museum, yet remain at its original dock at the port. However, the entire outline of the ship is going to be seen because it will not be floating on the river, but instead hoisted on a lift). When the Transport Museum acquired the ship, it simultaneously became a member of the Network of European River Museums.
- Wastewater pumping station (see above for information)
- Ship lift
- Longshoremen’s house
- Shipbuilding center
The Bratislava-Vienna tram was virtually the precursor of the train-trams currently running now between some cities in Germany and France. The line was opened on February 1, 1914, ran for 70 kilometers and connected the centers of Vienna and Pressburg. The proposal to link Vienna and what would be today’s Bratislava was prepared by Ing. Josef Tauber in 1898 and initially provoked outrage. The coaches were pulled by an electric locomotive from Vienna to Gross Schwechat and there switched for a diesel locomotive until Kopčany (Koptschan), before being pulled again by an electric locomotive for the run between Kopčany and the center of Pressburg at today’s Námestie Korunovačného pahorku. In January 1919, the line across Franz Joseph Bridge was suspended, with transit between Vienna and Kopčany resuming with long-distance trains in February 1923, More information can be found at https://imhd.sk/ba/doc/sk/16196/Historia-bratislavskeho-useku-Viedenskej-elektricky. The foundations of the original Vienna tram platform can still be seen at Janko Kráľ Park.
The Kopčany depot has since been registered as a National Cultural Monument.
Two-axle Trams in Bratislava
In 1895, the city of Pressburg launched its first electric tram, one of the oldest in Europe and among the first in the world. In Bratislava, the narrow gauge lines have had speed limits of 20 kilometers per hour, and even the early trams reached this speed. However, today there are electrical train lines with speed limits of 65 kilometers per hour whose construction permits a maximum speed of 75 kilometers per hour.
Czechoslovak Fortification Museum
Much is known about the defense system that existed in Czechoslovakia before World War II.
The fortifications were built in 1935-38 in response to Adolf Hitler’s accession to power, although only the section in Petržalka was ever completed. It consists of massive concrete and steel bunkers with two gun turrets. In World War II the German army used them to defend Bratislava, and they were also used during the Cold War to guard the border. The Czechoslovak Fortification Museum was established in 2011, with Bunker BS – 4 Lány on exhibit.