Bratislava has a rich cultural and artistic history. Franz Liszt and Ludwig van Beethoven gave concerts here repeatedly and prominent artists Andy Warhol and Joan Miró exhibited their artwork here too.
Today, you can enjoy performances from top musicians and admire artwork and precious exhibits in Slovakia’s capital. Choose from a wide range of museums and galleries, theatres or concerts, or visit them all as most of them are in the very centre of the city.
Definitely plan to spend several days in the capital so you can fully experience the festive atmosphere of an evening theatre performance or concert. Holders of the Bratislava CARD City & Region tourist card have discounts or even free entry to multiple venues.
What you should definitely see
You will find the widest collection of art, from the Gothic period to the present, in the Bratislava City Gallery (GMB), a historical jewel of the city. The Mirbach Palace at Františkánske Square has, among other things, preserved, original decorations, consisting of 290 historical graphic sheets. Each of them displays a separate story but together, the stories create a huge mosaic that completely covers the walls of two rooms.
“From a historical point of view, the Pálffy Palace at Panská 19 is interesting too,” said GMB spokeswoman Zuzana Novotná. In the basement and on the first floor of the edifice, the core of a Gothic palace with a chapel was discovered. Its stellar vault, as well as a part of the masonry on the third floor, dates back to the 15th century.
It is exactly this venue where you can admire the amazing Passage by Matej Krén. Immediately upon entering, you are surrounded by books and mirrors, blurring the line between reality and mere reflection.
The modern art museum Danubiana and the Nedbalka gallery are centred around impressive, contemporary art by Slovak and foreign artists. These galleries are listed among the most exciting exhibition venues in Europe. While Danubiana was inspired by a Roman galley, Nedbalka is paralleled to the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
The Slovak National Gallery also houses valuable art collections. Although some of its exhibition spaces are closed for reconstruction until 2020, it is still worth visiting its creative and inspirational exhibitions and attending its rich programme.
From theatre to music
For theatre-lovers, a dramatic, opera or ballet performance at the Slovak National Theatre is a must. These performances are given in the heart of the city in a historic building and on the banks of the Danube in a modern building.
Musicians from the Slovak Philharmonic fill the majestic, gilded Reduta with beautiful music. Here, the most important classical music festival in the city, the Bratislava Music Festival, takes place every autumn. Its reputation has surpassed Slovakia’s borders, sparking the interest of an international audience.
While jazz lovers should head to Bratislava in October to enjoy the Bratislava Jazz Days festival, photo admirers should plan their visit for November. This month, the city hosts dozens of exhibitions within the Month of Photography festival.
Other interesting events take place during the Bratislava Cultural Summer. One of them is the Roman Games, returning you to the times when Romans ruled the territory of today’s Bratislava.
Re-enactments of historical battles, which include staged combat and mass battle scenes, make for an exciting summer attraction too.
“Spectators can immerse themselves in historical stories full of action, period costumes and weapons,” said Martin Fejfár from the historical fencing group Banderium. It regularly participates in the Bratislava coronation festivities and reconstructs the Baroque Battle of Bratislava in Sad Janka Kráľa park every year.