A Travellerspoint blog

Museums and a Soviet war memorial


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Since I still felt very drained and cough-ridden today, I took it quite easy again.

I started with what I didn't manage yesterday; the Arms Museum, held round the corner within St Michael's Gate, and the historic Red Crayfish Pharmacy Museum, a couple of doors down from there.

Both are tiny and handily share the same ticket; entrance to one gives you free entry to the other. I went to the Arms Museum first. I admired their collection of pistols, giant metal 'speaking trumpet', Central European, Moroccan, Middle Eastern, Indian and Japanese daggers and swords, Central European huntsman's bag and stag- and cattle-horn powder flasks, and Austro-Hungarian armour, drum, uniforms and field-glasses.


I also walked round the viewing platform at the top of the gate, managing not to get blown off in the process (it was an extremely windy day today). Intriguingly, when looking down on one side, I noticed small coins in the copper gutters below, and that the gutter ends were shaped like dragons.


The Pharmacy Museum didn't have the dried pufferfish and bats, collections of exotic biological and mineral materials, or historic medical texts which I've seen in other pharmacy museums, but it was still interesting to have a look at its collection of wooden cabinets and ceramic, wooden, glass and tin jars, and I admired the painted ceiling in the main room. After taking a photo of a wooden cabinet near the start, I was told that photos weren't allowed, so I didn't get any of the rest of the interior, though I did get ones of the exterior; the metal crayfish sign and the historic metal gates.


After that my intention had been to go to the castle, but I was so lacking in energy I decided to leave that until the next day, when the weather is due to be better in any case, and just wander round the City Museum this afternoon instead. It's held within the beautiful Old Town Hall, practically on my hostel's doorstep. After a decent sit-down at the hostel, I walked over. However, the lady at the ticket desk told me that although the main part of the museum was open, the tower was closed today (due to the strong winds, I assume), so since I didn't want to miss going up it, I decided to leave the museum until the next day as well.


After then finding out that the majority of the Slovakian National Gallery is under refurbishment and/or having new exhibitions installed, I settled on something a bit different; the site of Slavín, the largest war memorial and cemetery in Europe.


I assume they mean the largest in terms of numbers buried there, because I'm sure some of the WWI cemeteries I saw in France and Belgium were bigger in terms of site size. This one contains the bodies of nearly 7000 Soviet soldiers who died in April 1945 during the liberation of Bratislava from the Nazi forces who were occupying the city. The statue on the memorial column shows a Soviet soldier crushing a swastika underfoot.


The memorial/cemetery lies on a hill, so there were some impressive views of the city. Very cold and windy, though, and the setting of course was sombre.


Posted by 3Traveller 15:29 Archived in Slovakia Tagged bratislava museum slovakia soviet_monument

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Thanks for another interesting post! I really wish I could have gone to those places, too, when I visited Bratislava. Unfortunately though the arms museum was shut at the time and I don’t think I knew about the Red Crayfish Pharmacy Museum or the Soviet cemetery. To be fair, I was only there on a day trip…Anyway, thanks for the photos and descriptions. Do you know why a red crayfish was involved with the pharmacy, by the way?

by TravelLover3

Incidentally, I really recommend the historic pharmacy (Raeapteek) in Tallinn. It’s the oldest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe, having operated in the same building since before 1422. I loved it, and know you would too! As well as the pharmacy area it also has a section operating as a pharmacy museum. It was fascinating.

by TravelLover3

I've had a look for why red crayfish are involved, but I can't find any explanation about it. All I can find out is that the original pharmacy was called The Red Crayfish and they kept the name after they turned it into a museum.

by 3Traveller

The historic pharmacy in Tallinn sounds fascinating. Yet another reason to go there! Really hope I can go there before too long.

By the way, there are fantastic pharmacy museums in Krakow and Budapest, should you be going to those cities in the future!

by 3Traveller

Thanks for the recommendation - I very much hope to go to Krakow and Budapest before too long, so will definitely check out the pharmacy museums there!

by TravelLover3

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