Architecture / Slovakia / Travel

Bratislava: It’s All In The Details

Sundial on Gymnasium

When visiting a city for the first time, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect … but something has drawn you there. It could be grand architecture, incredible museums, world class dining or amazing entertainment. Whatever the motivation, in the end, your impression of the city reflects the sum of its parts.

But major attractions aren’t the only things that form an impression. Whether it’s rooftop gargoyles, ornate gates, lush gardens or colorful graffiti; small details also weave into the fabric of a place. And taking the time to slow down and notice the small bits tells us about the culture and its history – which is exactly what we found in Slovakia’s small and welcoming capital Bratislava.

Pharmacy Dragon

This unusual, golden dragon hangs over the door of a pharmacy in the charming old town. To our knowledge dragons have nothing to do with medicine, and everything to do with grabbing your attention with an attractive, eye-catching piece of art.

Derelict building

Van Gogh 1Van Gogh 2Van Gogh 3

No matter where they are, derelict buildings are always an eyesore. But some art fan in Bratislava had enough pride of place to cover these broken windows with reproductions of Van Gogh’s famous works. And there’s no denying that it adds interest and softens the impact of an unattractive sight.

Snake Weathervance

Weathervane artists have the challenge of transforming an article of pure function into something artistic and appealing. And this snake hitching an arrow-ride does the job nicely.

Grumpy Gargoyle

A matching pair of these grumpy Gollums were guarding the entrance to a stockbroker’s office. Hopefully, this broker’s stock-picking skills are as keen as his sense of humor. 

Dog Corbel

A simple corbel will hold an overhang, but the architect for Bratislava’s Old Town Hall knows that an animal sculpture is much more likely to draw attention.

Blue Cross

Every Catholic church is topped by a cross, but few can equal this beauty on the Church of St. Elizabeth. It’s an unusual combination of shapes that fits perfectly atop this Art Nouveau masterpiece.

There can be no city without buildings, but the small elements bring together the big parts that make the whole of a place like Bratislava.

When it comes to details, Aristotle said it best:

All-Knowing Eye

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Happy Trails,
James & Terri


13 thoughts on “Bratislava: It’s All In The Details

    • Well said Jo, because that’s exactly the sort of place Bratislava is. It’s small and quiet without a lot of “must see” places. But, there’s lots of interest there for those that “poke around.” ~James

  1. I always enjoy your attention to details, James. For me, I find that the slower I travel, the more features I notice and the more I appreciate my surroundings. The world sure is full of detail isn’t it?

    • Joe, as travelers, one advantage that you and I have is the gift of time – and I never take it for granted. It’s difficult to overstate what a difference it makes to be able to slow down and appreciate the details. And it’s not just the sights and attractions but also people going about their daily lives. It makes all the difference. ~ James

    • Thanks Terry. Bratislava was a relaxing stop and because it doesn’t have a long list of “must-see” sights it’s the perfect place to focus on small, interesting details. ~ James

  2. James and Terri – The first shots of that eye-catching clock and the dragon brought me back almost ten years ago when we visited Bratislava. Wasn’t there a great Italian restaurant near the clock? Hope your travels are happy and safe – Susan

    • Susan, we didn’t visit an Italian restaurant close by, but the neighborhood near this clock was pretty neat, so there could have been one there. This gymnasium and the church next door were wonderful. ~ James

  3. Thanks for taking me today to Bratislava – a place I’ve never been before. The photographs are beautiful and express lots of nostalgia (maybe personal too?)

    • Thanks Virginia. Bratislava is one of those small, interested places that’s easy to visit and if you’re in the neighborhood, you should drop by. It’s an easy trip from Vienna for instance. And BTW, we haven’t forgotten about you and your wonderful book and our promise to write a post about it. If you’ve read our most recent post, you see that we’ve had lots going in and our attentions have been elsewhere. Once we get back on track, we’ll follow through on the post, and in the meantime, we hope books are just flying off the shelves. Thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James

      • I should have visited Bratislava when I visited Vienna! One day… it’s still on my list. Don’t worry at all about the post, I imagined that you’re very busy and summer is always full of plans. So no rush at all. Luckily, sales are going very well and the one shop in which we have the books at the moment is selling even better during summer – I am very pleased 🙂 Catchting up with your newer posts now. Lots of love from London to you guys.

Leave a Reply to Terry Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s