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Bratislava Castle

Bratislava’s landmark castle peers over the Starý Mesto (Old Town) from its rocky eerie over the north bank of the River Danube, visible from all over the modern city with its distinctive, red-topped corner towers. The first fort on this site was mentioned in 907, by which date Bratislava was already an important trading post on the River Danube, and today’s white-washed, red-roofed and squat Renaissance palace was constructed in the mid-16th century on the remains of earlier medieval and Gothic castles.

It was one of the many palatial residences of the Habsburg dynasty that ruled over much of Europe for centuries and also housed their crown jewels. In the 1750s, Empress Marie Therese gave the castle’s interior a gracious rococo overhaul, but after her death in 1780, it became a garrison before being tragically destroyed by fire in 1811. It was to remain in ruins until reconstruction was completed in the 1950s.