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The City Museum in the Old Town Hall


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Today I finally made it to the City Museum in the Old Town Hall!

The tower was open, luckily, although the wind was still quite strong. There were some great views of the Old Town and I was very glad I'd finally made it up there.


On the way down from the top of the tower I stopped to look at Dr Ovidius Faust's Study. Dr Faust was the town archivist in the inter-war period and was also a scholar and passionate book collector.


The Archive Room is in the same museum; all the most important documents of the town were kept there from the mid-18th century to 1948. They are stored elsewhere now, but some of them were on display, along with some facsimiles. I also admired the original iron door which is still in use, dates from 1749 and has extremely fancy Rococo decoration.


Adjoining the Archive Room were the richly decorated Court House and Hall of the Extended Municipal Council.


Above the gate to the Town Hall was the St Ladislaus' Chapel, the 15th-century chapel of the municipal council.


In the exhibition rooms in the rest of the museum, something intriguing which kept popping up without much explanation was painted circular wooden shooting targets, mostly with bullet holes still in. They had a range of quite detailed scenes, painted in oils and dating between 1790 - 1840.


I wondered why people would bother decorating targets in such detail only then to shoot at them. I finally got a little more information about them when I reached the section on various clubs and associations which the townspeople joined from the late 18th century onwards and came across the Shooters Club. This club actually had its origins in the 16th century as an association of volunteers formed to provide defence for the town, but in the late 18th century it began to lose its defensive function and became focused on competitive leisure activities such as free-shooting, bird shooting and target shooting. Shooting contests were very important, grand events and artists began to get commissions to paint targets for them.

Regarding other clubs, apparently male voice choirs became very popular in the 19th century, as did the Cycling Club; on display were a wooden-wheeled early velocipede and a penny-farthing. I was surprised to hear about the male voice choirs because I'd only heard of Welsh ones before.


Bratislava, or Pressburg as it was known then, was a town of guilds until the 19th century, and reflecting that was a collection of various items relating to them, e.g. copperware, stamps, fine wooden coffers, etc.


There was a section on the coronation town which Pressburg became for about three hundred years until the 1848 revolution. I was glad to get information about why Pressburg had become the seat of coronation for so many Hungarian kings, because on Monday I didn't see much explanation about it at the cathedral where the coronations happened.

Other highlights for me were some glass paintings which used to be in St Martin's Cathedral, an 18th-century polychrome woodcarving of St Florian, 19th-century musical instruments, an Early Modern special security door of extraordinary intricacy of mechanism, an exhibition of gruesome instruments of torture in the former prison cells, some original painted metal inn and shop signs, a 19th century box of board games and some early 20th century advertising leaflets for household products.


The museum was bigger than I expected, and I'm still recovering from my illness in Basel, so I was completely drained by the time I finished. Too drained to seek out the Jewish Museum, so instead of that I walked to the edge of the Danube (very swift-running today) and pondered transport to Vienna tomorrow. I saw one place that said it did Bratislava to Vienna boat trips, but it looked a bit deserted, plus I'd heard that a trip would cost about 30 euros which seemed a bit expensive, so when I got to the bus station I arrived at on Sunday and noticed a sign advertising bus tickets to Vienna for 5 euros, I decided to go with that instead.

After a long-ish rest at the hostel I went out for dinner. It was 7 p.m. but I was almost the only person there; not always a good sign, unless it's the custom in Slovakia not to eat until later in the evening, but at this place the food was good. I didn't feel like a big meal so I stuck with some garlic cream soup in bread - a big hollowed-out crispy roll with the top cut off as a lid and the soup inside - and for pudding, a parené buchty - a giant sweet steamed dumpling with chocolate sauce and icing sugar on top and with jam or custard inside (I've forgotten which).


I did take a picture of the parené buchty too but it came out too blurry to include, unfortunately.

Posted by 3Traveller 11:57 Archived in Slovakia Tagged bratislava museum slovakia clock_tower river_danube slovakian_cuisine

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