Like many Bratislava churches, St Martin’s was built over the remains of an earlier Romanesque basilica on the edge of the Starý Mesto (Old Town). Today’s three-naved Gothic cathedral was consecrated in 1452, and between 1563 and 1830, 11 Hungarian monarchs—including the much-loved Empress Marie Therese—and their spouses were crowned here, a fact celebrated by the placement of a replica coronation crown on the top of the 279-foot (85-meter) Gothic spire.
The church’s interior is awash with Gothic detailing, from the soaring wooden altarpiece found in St Anne’s Chapel, which depicts the Crucifixion, to the vaulted ceilings in the presbytery, while other ornamentation in the cathedral is variously Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque in style. Along with the vivid colors of the 19th-century Viennese stained-glass windows, highlights include the vibrant equine statue dedicated to St Martin, plus the extravagantly Baroque side chapel of St John the Almsgiver. Below, the cathedral, crypts and burial grounds are being excavated; currently only one is open to explore.
While services are free to attend, admission to the cathedral costs €2. The cathedral is open from Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 1 to 4 p.m., as well as on Sunday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. In April through October, it is open an hour later until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Mass is held multiple times a day.