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Bratislava's Sights


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St. Martin's Cathedral
St. Martin's Cathedral, Bratislava

St. Martin's Cathedral, Bratislava

CC BY-NC-ND theodevil
St. Martin's Cathedral is located in Old Town Bratislava. This cathedral is one of Slovakia's oldest and is known for is role as a place of coronation for Hungarian kings.

History of St. Martin's Cathedral

The site of St. Martin's Cathedral was used for religious purposes even before the construction of the current 14th-century cathedral was built. The cathedral was a part of the city's fortifications, acting as a section of the defensive wall. In the following centuries, Gothic and Baroque additions were added. However, the current style of the cathedral is Gothic despite remodeling in a newer style; the cathedral was damaged by fire and a major earthquake, and so its style was reverted back to the Gothic.

The cathedral was used as a site of coronation for Hungarian royalty from the 16th to 19th centuries. Today's coronation festival recalls St. Martin's esteemed connections with monarchical figures. Every September, a re-enactment of the crowning of Hapsburg rulers takes place, attracting visitors from far and wide. In the past, the crown jewels of Hungary were taken from their secure location in Bratislava Castle to be used in these important coronation ceremonies. Understandably, the precious Hungarian crown jewels are not used today, though they can be viewed during a tour of Budapest's Parliament Building.

Sights in St. Martin's Cathedral

Visitors to Old Town Bratislava can enter St. Martin's Cathedral to view its chapels, baptismal font, sculptures, and other interior decorations. St. John the Almoner's relics are preserved in a chapel dedicated to the saint; the Chapel of St. Anne contains the entrance to the cathedral's Archbishops and Jesuit crypts.

The tower of the cathedral is topped with a replica of the Hungarian crown. The cathedral's grounds are also home to a 17th century bell. Part of the city's walls still exist, as well, so it's possible to get a feel for how the city looked when it was enclosed in defensive structures.

Directly across from St. Martin's Cathedral stood a synagogue, though this structure was destroyed in the last century. A memorial to the synagogue has been placed here.

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