Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

Bratislava Churches –selection from the collections of Bratislava City Gallery | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


Explore the archive of exhibitions


The City Gallery of Bratislava organises workshops for families with children?


Bratislava Churches –selection from the collections of Bratislava City Gallery

Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
26. 4. 2008 - 15. 6. 2008
Curator: Jana Luková

Bratislava Churches –
selection from the collections of Bratislava City Gallery

The exhibition, under the patronage of Andrej Ďurkovský, the Mayor of the Capital City Bratislava, is part of the project Bratislava for Everyone.

Sacral architectonic sights constitute an integral part of our city. We understand them as buildings bound to the life of a religious community, phenomena reflecting the spirit of the age, symbols and architectonic jewels significantly shaping the building structure of the city.
Selection of works from the collections of Bratislava City Gallery shows the transformation of the city during its development and growth from the 18th century to the latter half of the 20th century. In terms of a subject, the selection focuses on a crucial chapter of its history.
The oldest discoveries of local Christian buildings date back to the period of Great Moravia Empire, when Christianity started directing the spiritual and historical existence of its inhabitants. They refer to Bratislava Castle Hill which became a seat of the chapter in the early middle ages. At the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries, a capitular church of St. Salvador (the Holy Saviour) was built by the foundations of a basilica from the 9th century. On the eastern foot of the Castle Hill could have been found a rotunda which was most likely dedicated to St. Nicholas. From other sacral buildings located in the territory of original villages surrounding the city is worth mentioning a rotunda from the village of St. Vavrinec (in front of the Old Market Hall) and St. Michael’s Church whose foundations have been uncovered during recent reconstruction of a courtyard of County council. The transfer of a capitular church from the castle to the settlement round a castle presented a significant change for Bratislava priory. The findings of a recent research indicate that a church with an identical patronage was built at the place of older church from the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. In the last third of the 13th century, the church was consecrated to St. Martin of Tours.
Despite its extent and importance, Bratislava did not receive city privileges until 1291. In the 14th century, the appearance of the medieval city changed with the construction of city walls, gateways and defence bastions. Podhradie and Vydrica remained under the authority of Bratislava district governor and the inhabitants of these areas visited St. Nicholas´ Church. In northern suburb was located the aforementioned St. Michael’s Church and in the eastern part of the city was located the Church of St. Vavrinec with St. James´ Chapel. After the separation from royal settlement round a castle, the town gradually completed the construction of three main churches, namely St. Martin’s Cathedral, which became a parochial church, and monastery churches of Franciscan and Clare Sisters orders. Care for poor, old and sick was in charge of the city hospital consecrated to St. Ladislav and hospital of Antonites (both of them with own chapels). There was a lot chapels in the city, e.g. St. Catherine’s Chapel founded in 1311, St. John’s Chapel at the Franciscan church from the latter half of the 14th century and chapel of the town hall which was most likely consecrated to St. Ladislav.
At the end of the first third of the 16th century, during Turkish invasion, one suburb had to be torn down including the church of St. Vavrinec, St. Michael’s Church and St. Nicholas´ Church. St. Martin’s Cathedral thus became the only Catholic parochial church in Bratislava for more than twenty-five years and in 1563 it also became a coronation cathedral of Ugrian kings and queens.
At the begging of the second third of the 17th century, a strong community of Protestants was permitted to build its own church as well. The builders of a church for German speaking Protestants had to respect some construction restrictions, however Slovak-Hungarian church, built in 1658, was allowed to have both the tower and the bells. In 1672 the Protestants were divested of their two churches, which subsequently passed to the possession of Jesuit order and Ursuline sisters. A decade later, the Protestants built their chapels at Panenska street, which were replaced with current Large church and Small church due to the permission of the queen Maria Theresia from 1774.
Due to an intensive development in the 18th century the city expanded and merged with suburbs. Older churches were rebuilt in Baroque style. New monastery churches were built on suburbs and in 1770 a new parish, Bratislava-Nové Mesto (Blumentál), was established. The Capuchins, who had operated in Bratislava since the 17th century and used the St. Catherine’s Chapel, completed the construction of their own church in 1717. Two decades later they also took charge of a new Church of the Sacrosanct Trinity at Zuckermandel. Merciful brothers (the order of St. John Divine) were originally supposed to develop their charity in city hospital, but finally they built their own monastery in front of Laurinska gate. Their church and monastery of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary was completed not until the 1720s. The members of Trinitarian order built two-tower church with a monastery in the premises of the former St. Michael’s Church between 1717 and 1725. In the same period (1744-1745), two monastery churches at Špitálska street were built, one belonged to Elisabethesses and another one to the Order of Knights of the Cross with the Red Star. In 1754, the construction of the Church of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption was completed. The church belonging to the Sisters of Notre Dame, the order dedicated to the education of girls from aristocratic families, was located in front of the Fishing Gate. The last third of the 18th century brought a number of significant changes. Central offices were moved to Buda and religious reforms of Joseph II resulted in the cancellation of many monasteries (Clare sisters, Trinitarians).
In the early 1800s, life in the city was affected by Napoleonic wars. Destructive fire in 1811 destroyed Bratislava castle. In 1824, an original chapel on the Mount of Calvary was replaced with a chapel consecrated to the Virgin Mary of Snow designed in the strain of Baroque traditions. The Church of St. Ladislav and city hospital, which replaced an old hospital, were built in Classicist style. Romanticising tendencies in architecture also affected the tower of St. Martin’s Cathedral (1846) or main facade of Capuchin church (1860). In the late 1880s, large neo-Roman church replaced older buildings located in the parish Nové Mesto.
Variety of sacral architecture has also been enriched with Jewish synagogues. Large orthodox synagogue at Zámocká street was built in the early 1860s and served until 1947. More famous Neológ synagogue at Rybné námestie square was built in 1893. The architecture of the two synagogues includes Oriental features. The synagogues suffered a similar fate; they had to give way to urban development.
A unique Secession building is the Church of St. Elisabeth of Hungary (the so-called Blue Church), consecrated in 1913, which was to serve as a chapel for students of a new Catholic lyceum. The church of Reformed Calvinist Church, located at current SNP square, was completed in 1913. When Bratislava became capital of Slovakia during the first Czechoslovak Republic, new parishes were established as a response to increasing needs of the city. The construction of the Church of the Holy Cross in Petržalka started in 1932 and new Church of the Virgin Mary of Snow on the Mount of Calvary was completed in 1948. Karlova Ves merged with the city in 1943 and two years later, the parish Bratislava-Trnávka was established. Between 1946 and 1971, fourteen villages merged with the city. Except for Prievoz and Vrakuňa, all villages had their own parishes and parochial churches.
The reproductions displayed at the exhibition provide a brief view of Bratislava history and wealth left by our ancestors. It only depends on us whether we will be able to preserve it for generations to come. Though this album only presents a modest contribution to this extensive issue, we hope it will attract the attention of both Bratislava citizens and the lovers of history and fine art.

Jana Luková, Curator of Old Masters Graphics


Do you want to know what´s new at the City Gallery of Bratislava?

Other exhibitions/actions

Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curator: Vladimír Kordoš, Marián Meško
21. 4. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
Author: Albín Brunovský
Curator: Ivan Jančár
12. 3. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020

Františkánke nám. 11, 815 35 Bratislava

Open daily except Mondays
11am - 6 pm

Panská 19, Bratislava

Open daily except Mondays
11am - 6 pm

Pohľad z hradu Starhemberg
Author: Moritz Saint Genois
The photographs of works of art, promoting the exhibitions held at the City Gallery of Bratislava, published on the website, are subject to copyright protection under the Copyright Act. The City Gallery of Bratislava is not a copyright holder; it is the artist, or his/her heirs. The work of art becomes free more than 70 years after author´s death. The photographs of works of art published on the website can only be used with the prior written consent of the artist, his/her heir, or institution representing artist´s rights, otherwise it shall be regarded as copyright infringement.