Of all the great things to do in Bratislava, the underrated capital of Slovakia, admiring the quirky Bratislava brutalism is among my favorite. While most of the visitors focus on the charming old town or the impressive castle towering above the city, Bratislava architecture is more diverse and actually offers some interesting creations from the 20th century.
I’ve been to Bratislava many times but only during my recent trip, I focused solemnly on finding the best works of brutalism in Bratislava. To my great surprise, there were more of them than I expected and I spent a perfect day in Bratislava, chasing some amazing concrete (and not only) works.
If, during your trip to Bratislava, you would like to discover the ugliful works of Bratislava brutalist architecture, I put together this small guide to Bratislava brutalism that will help you find the places. At the end of the article, you will also find the map that you can put on your phone when you visit Bratislava, with the locations of all mentioned below works pined.
So, without any further ado, here is the overview of Bratislava brutalist architecture (in no particular order), with locations and how to get there.
The UFO bridge
Probably the most known example of brutalism in Bratislava and the unofficial symbol of the city, the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising (often known as “the SNP bridge” or “the UFO bridge” connects two sides of the city over the Danube river, just outside the Old Town.
The works on the bridge started in 1967 and it was opened five years later, although a big part of the Jewish quarter needed to be demolished.
The most distinctive part of the bridge is the UFO-shaped structure atop the bridge. You definitely should go there when you visit Bratislava as that’s from where you will see the most spectacular view of the city. Besides the observation deck, you can also find there a restaurant and some activities for adrenaline junkies.
The entrance is on the Petrzalka’s side of the Danube. During my recent visit in June 2002 the opening hours were 10 am to 11 pm and the ticket cost 10€, available to purchase only at the entrance.
Built between 1967-1972,
Architect Jozef Lacko
Address: Most SNP 1
How to get there: you can walk across the bridge from the Old Town, the walking path is below the bridge
Slovak National Archives
One of the most impressive examples of Bratislava brutalism is a large concrete structure standing on the hill a bit away from the center (but definitely worth a trip). If you arrive by train to Bratislava from Prague and Brno, you will easily spot it on your right side.
Built between 1970-1983,
Architect: Vladimír Dedeček
Address: Drotárska cesta 4072/42
How to get there: bus no 41 from the main train station, the bus stop is “Slov. nár. archív”
Slovak National Gallery
While the main building of the Slovak National Gallery is a beautiful Esterházy Palace, the next-door extension of the gallery is a true brutalist masterpiece, towering over the area and not fully fitting there. During my recent visit, the place was under reconstruction.
Built between 1969-1977,
Architect: Vladimír Dedeček
Address: Námestie Ľudovíta Štúra
How to get there: the building is located at the edge of the Old Town, across the street from the Danube river
Slovak Radio building
Another iconic building of brutalist architecture in Bratislava is known for its shape the upside-down pyramid. It’s one of the most unique architectural pieces you will find in Central Europe.
Built between 1967-1983,
Architect: Štefan Svetko, Štefan Ďurkovič, Barnabáš Kissling.
Address: Mýtna 2826
How to get there: tram stop “STU”, lines 1 and 7 or bus stop “Nám. Slobody”, lines 31, 39, 94.
Main train station
When you arrive in Bratislava by train you most likely come to this station. Before continuing to the city, stop for a moment to see the building.
Rebuilt between 1986 and 1992.
Address: Námestie Franza Liszta
Experimental residential building
Hidden in the Old Town, this is one of the coolest residential buildings I’ve ever seen.
Built between 1968-74
Architect Štefan Svetko with J. Hauskrecht
Address: Medená 109/21
How to get there: the building is located within the walking distance of the most attractions of Bratislava Old Town
National Council of The Slovak Republic
The main building, located next to the Bratislava castle, dates back to the times of Czechoslovakia. It’s worth taking a look when you visit the castle.
Address: Námestie Alexandra Dubčeka 4809
How to get there: by walk from the castle or by bus – stop “Hrad”, lines 44, 47
The largest residential district of Bratislava, located across the Danube river from the Old Town, dates back to the 13th century but its real development happened after World War 2. That’s when numerous residential buildings typical for that period were built.
Today Petrzalka is a real paradise for concrete lovers with its blocks of flats galore – even if most of them got a colorful redo the vibe is still very much the same.
To get to the neighborhood just take one of the buses crossing the Danube and you are in for exploring the area.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much information about the place and I saw it only from the top of the UFO bridge but it surely is another example of brutalist architecture in Bratislava.
Address: Viedenská cesta 3409
Prior shopping center and hotel Kyjev
The complex, which opened in 1968, was among the most modern ones at that time. Today, the shopping center still works but Hotel Kyjev (which means “Kyiv” in Slovak) has been closed for a few years and awaits demolition.
At the square in front of the shopping center, you can find concrete sculptures, there is also an interesting clock on the side of the building at Dunajska street.
Address: Kamenné Námestie
How to get there: the place is just outside of the Old Town, you can easily walk there.
Freedom Square (Námestie Slobody) is one of the main squares in Central Bratislava, surrounded by impressive buildings of the Ministry of Transport and Posts and Telecommunications of the Slovak Republic.
The main reason (besides the pleasant vibe) to visit the place is the Fountain of Union located right in the middle of the square – the biggest fountain in the whole country. During my recent visit, Freedom Square was going through the renovation but you could still see the fountain, albeit not from close.
Built from 1979 to 1980
Sculptors Juraj Hovorka, Tibor Bártfay, Karol Lacko
Architects Virgil Droppa and Juraj Hlavica
Address: Námestie slobody
How to get there: the square is near the Radio building.
A new market hall was built in 1981 to give the citizens a modern shopping experience. Today the place is a bit in the state of decay but still is worth seeing.
Built in 1981
Architekt: Ivan Matušík
Address: Šancová 112
How to get there: numerous trams and buses to the stop “Trnavské mýto”, this is one of the main public transport intersections in Bratislava
This was my favorite piece of Bratislava brutalist architecture!
They clearly had a thing for outer space back when brutalism was popular as, besides well-known works like the UFO bridge, the University in Nitra, or SNP Museum in Banska Bystrica, there is one more thing inspired by the cosmos.
In the outskirts of Bratislava, surrounded by typical blocks of flats, you will find the UFO-shaped sculpture. This is such a random place and location yet that’s what makes it so cool and special. And it’s not a tiny piece, the sculpture is 460 centimeters high and has a diameter of 800 centimeters.
Built in the 1970s
Author: Juraj Hovorka
Address: Bieloruská street
How to get there: Bus stop “Priekopnícka”, buses number 71, 72, 75
And these are a few more places that I didn’t manage to see but are definitely worth mentioning:
I saw it only from the bus when going back from the Slovak National Archives but it sure looked like yet another interesting architectural piece.
Address: Drotárska cesta 4748
Again, I only saw it from afar but it looked interesting, although a bit spooky.
Address: Limbová 5
Military lodging house
Built in 1977
Architekt Ján Strcula
Address: Kukučínova street
How to get there: stop “Pionierska”, trams no 3 and 7, buses no 59, 75, 151
Kamzík TV tower
Built in 1975
Architect: Stanislav Májek, Jakub Tomašák, Juraj Kozák, Milan Jurica and Ján Privitzer
Address: Cesta na Kamzík 2796/14
How to get there: stop “Kamzík”, bus no 144
Built in 1960
Address: Trnavská cesta 29
How to get there: numerous buses to “Bajkalská” stop
Vinohrady train station
How to get there: numerous trains from the main station serve this stop
Bratislava brutalist architecture – practical information
When I explored Bratislava I relied only on public transport – this was pretty efficient and I didn’t have any problems. Most of the places mentioned above are located in the city center anyway and you can reach them by walking.
If you need to go a bit further away (like the National Archive or the UFO sculpture), buses are your best option. Above I included information on which bus to take but it’s always to double-check when you go.
I used Google Maps to find the correct bus number and then rechecked the info on the website of Bratislava public transport.
When traveling around, I got myself a 24-hour ticket – you can purchase them from kiosks or ticket machines located at bus stops (these are a bit confusing to navigate and not all of them accept cards, some are cash only). Recently, the 24-hour ticket was 4€. You need to validate the ticket inside the bus before your first journey.
Map of brutalism in Bratislava
Here is the map of all the greatest works of Bratislava brutalism. You can download it to your phone and use it during your trip to Bratislava.
My other guides to brutalist architecture
If you enjoy brutalist architecture, I covered a few cities where you can find it too. Here are my other architectural guides:
- Guide to Belgrade brutalist architecture
- Guide to Yerevan Soviet architecture
- 55 Examples of Amazing Tbilisi Soviet Architecture
- Guide to Soviet Architecture in Vilnius, Lithuania
- Guide to Skopje Brutalist Architecture
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