I was inspired to write this blog post during my recent walk through the Bratislava castle hill. I heard one tour guide explaining to the big group of German tourists which symbols are represented on the Slovak national coat of arms. He got it wrong. But he was not alone, even the almighty Wikipedia repeats the same error on their pages. Where is the truth then? Continue reading Legends and facts about Slovak coat of arms
James Bond returned to Austria in his movie Quantum Solace. Not for the first time. In the movie Living Daylights (1987), the most famous British secret agent saves the world not only in Vienna but supposedly also in neighboring Bratislava. Continue reading James Bond in Bratislava- (Artistic licence 3)
It became a kind of urban legend. Dan Brown would write an another conspirational theory about it. Interestingly enough, it still remains an uncovered mystery, even 40 years from its origin.
When you listen carefully the original Yellow submarine song by Beatles, you will hear at one moment- 1 min 35 sec of the song- a single famous (or better infamous) sentence in Slovak language.
This secret the fathers were passing on to their sons over generations but with lowered voice.
A sentence is not part of the offical song lyrics. Although a message is quite clear and understandable in Slovak, it is not very polite. It could be translated to English as “Piss off!” but in much ruder as well as funnier form.
What does this sentence mean? Is it a John Lennon/Paul McCartney’s political message to the communist regime? Is it a message of an emigrant to his forbidden country? Or just a coincidence?
Futher theories has emerged over the ages trying to attribute the sentence to some person of Slovak origin which could happen to be at the studio during the recording of Yellow submarine. Slovakia-born Dezo Hoffman, a famous Beatles dedicated photographer has been selected among the most prominent candidates.
To make a complex problem even more complicated, I suggested an alternative explanation of the meaning of words used in the song.
“Mozte mi vylizat” could be no rude words at all. Same slang sentence meanign “You can take off” used to be shout out by the Bratislava tram conductors during the stops in 20’s and 30’s of 19th century.
Bratislava played its role in couple of Hollywood film productions. In both ways- it provided its environs pretending to be some other location or casted as Bratislava while it was actually shot in the completely different location.
Hostel- film by Eli Roth (2005), together with e.g. one James Bond sequel, falls to the latter category- a whole story supposedly happening in Bratislava and Slovakia has been actually shot in neighbouring Czech Republic. Therefore there is a lot of discrepancies which are pointless to discuss. This post will focus on facts which are by chance correct so you can have a similar experience during your stay in Slovakia.
Continue reading Artistic licence: Bratislava in the Hostel movie
As of January 1st, Slovakia has transitioned its currency from Slovak crown (Slovenska koruna) to Euro. Let’s look at Bratislava references on previous and current Slovak banknotes and coins.
The Bratislava castle is shown on the new EURO coins with 50, 20 and 10 cents. 50 cents sample featuring Bratislava castle is attached here.
In past, with the old currency, Bratislava was explicitly shown on 500 Slovak Crown banknote and references were also on 50 hal and 5 SKK coins.
The front of 500 SKK banknote (approx 16EUR) showed the portrait of Ludovit Stur, one of the greatest Slovak personalities of the 19th century, who was known as the father of the idea of Slovak national emancipation and the founder of the Slovak literary language. He was a lecturer on the high school in Bratislava an later also an active member of Hungarian parliament having its sessions in Bratislava. A street named after him- Sturova street- is mentioned in audiopoint Opera House (Hviezdoslavovo Sq)
The design on the back illustrates Bratislava Castle (The Castle audiopoint) together with the Baroque St. Michael´s church and a part of the Gothic tower of Klarisky Church. The central part of the composition displays the oldest layout of Bratislava dating from the 15th century wood carving CHRONICA PICTA depicting Bratislava Castle, three churches surrounded by a fortification, and a sketch of the River Danube.
Another reference to Bratislava was on the reverse of 5 SKK coin (approx. 16 eurocents) where you can see the Celtic coin depicting a galloping horseman beneath which the inscription “BIATEC” appears. It is a tetra drachma of Bratislava type from the first century BC
And finally, on the reverse of the coin with the minimal value-50 halers (1.6 eurocent), there was a renaissance polygonal tower with battlements- the most photogenic part of the Devin Castle, situated on a cliff above the confluence of the river Morava with the Danube. Ruins of the Devin Castle are situated outside the city center so they are currently not part of our audio tour but it is still the most recommended location for half-day visit when you are finished with city center.
NB! Note the important announcement at the end of the article.
Main Square is one of the must-see locations in Bratislava. Its importance for those who like to have fun grows especially in December when it host the Christmas Market. Together with adjacent squares and streets it accommodates this December over 100 stalls, mostly offering typical “Christmas” cuisine and beverages.
Official Bratislava website lists them all- typical “Gypsy Liver” pork burger (Cigánska pečienka), spicy sausage, bread with lard and onion, savoury pastry (Pagáč), goose or sauerkraut potato crepe, sauerkraut soup, hot punch, mulled wine or grog. For dessert, you can try some sweet pastry, Christmas wafers, honey biscuits, or Christmas mead.
The stalls have various trinkets and gifts on sale, complementing the special pre-Christmas atmosphere. Wood, glass, leather, wicker, dried corn leaves, or beeswax, are just some of the natural materials used to make practical and decorative wares.
But do not confuse it with some shopping festival. These markets are special socializing event, an opportunity to meet friends. For trespassers and tourists, it is also a chance to feel the local atmosphere more than any other time. And who knows, you may also learn more about these places while listening our MP3 Audio tour – especially the tracks Opera House, Main Square, Old Town Hall and Primate’s Palace and Primatial Square.
Limited time offer:
Hey, Bratislava Christmas Market lovers.
First 50 fans can now download 2 Main Square and Old Town Hall tracks for free!
Merry Christmas 2011!