SK, Bratislava: Slavin – Memorial and Outlook
On a sunny day, we took a short walk in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. We chose to visit one of its landmarks, the memorial on Slavin.
As we are enthusiasts to traveling, we set off to Slavin on foot. Following the road below the SNP bridge soon we reached Bratislava Castle by going up “castle stairs”. From there we followed trolley wires. We followed a pathway lined by family houses. Some of the houses were now embassies of not only Europeans countries. 20 minutes of walk later we got to the terminus of trolleybus (Budkova). There we moved to the right. We got to a wealthy neighborhood. We just shook our heads when looking at these megabuildings. Why to have such a huge house? Does anybody live there? Soon we even walked around the White House, well its copy. Today there is the U.S. embassy, i.e. its ambassador. This building is very close to Slavin.
Slavin – place of reverence with beautiful view
Upon entering the compound of Slavin, we stopped at multilingual information board. It reminded thus that we are at a place of reverence, and there were also some historic facts about this popular locality. We read further and learned that the memorial at Slavin is a military cemetery. In the 1950s and 60s, it was turned to a park of reverence that has a central memorial and many statues.
At the end of the second world war, a sad event happened before the cemetery was founded. In a small projection of the Small Carpathian Mountains 6 845 soldiers of Soviet Army were buried there. They fall in the time of liberation fights due to injuries. It was then when the hill got its name – Slavin. The memorial and the park covering about a hectar was declared a national cultural landmark in 1961.
The four-sided hall of reverence with six mass graves and 317 individual graves is located up the cemetery. The memorial resembles an antic mausoleum. The 37 meter high granite pylon goes up from the memorial. On the top stand the 7 meter statue of Soviet soldier. Jan Svetlik created the concept. The statue hold a flag, and stand with his boot on a Nazi cross. The statue is work of Alexander Trizuljak. Scribings and reliefs around the hall is memory of war victims, and there are also dates when Slovakian towns were liberated. Except the memorial, sculptures of Slovak sculptors are scattered around the compound. There is also a meadow in commemoration of Alexander Dubcek, a large Orthodox cross, military bunkers, greenery that includes foreign woody plants from the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Upon learning these facts we walked around the whole areal. We stood a minute of silence for the dead, and then we moved to the edge of the compound. At one place we had Bratislava Castle and Old Town right in front of our eyes. At other part of the park, we saw individual neighborhoods. And when we moved to the third side of the compound, we were amazed by the TV tower on Kamzik. Adjacent to it were summits of hills covered with forests.
When we enjoyed panoramic views of Bratislava or Austria. We realized why Slavin is so popular landmark. It is not just for beautiful views on the dynamic city, the peaceful atmosphere hovers above this place. Despite many people were there, it was still quiet there.
As the sun was slowly setting, we went on our way home. But we hadn’t chosen the same road we went there. Instead we went along the ridge, so to speak. A tourist direction board helped us to get on the right road. Also, it had some tips for trips. For instance, one went along the most important tourist highway in Slovakia, the so called Road of the SNP heroes. The trail goes from Devin to the Dukla Pass. We went in the direction to the Horsky Park. There we conclude our hours-long trip.
The trip is easy not only for adults but for children as well. Therefore, we recommend it to you. You will experience exceptional walk that includes many beautiful views, and also you would learn some facts of recent history.
Text: Oskár Mažgút, Jiří Výborný
Photo: Oskár Mažgút
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