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Old July 25th, 2012, 03:16 PM   #1
Malyan
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A little rail journey to Slovakia and Ukraine

Last month, I spent a week travelling from Vienna to Lviv, the metropolis of Western Ukraine, via the two largest cities of Slovakia, Bratislava and Kosice. Originally, I had planned to travel deeper into Ukraine, but I had totally forgotten the beginning of the European Soccer Championship a few days later, and considering that it probably would be hard to find cheap hotel rooms during the games in Ukraine´s larger cities, I decided to explore Central and Eastern Ukraine another time.

First station of my trip was the Slovakian capital:

Bratislava, Slovakia (Part I)

Bratislava, only 1h from Vienna with regional trains, is by far Slovakia´s largest city with a population of 433,000. It is a capital only since Slovakia´s indepence in 1993, and until 1918, it was a provincial city of the Austro-Hungarian empire with a mixed Slovakian, Hungarian and German population for centuries - that´s why you will find a lot of typical Austrian baroque architecture in the relatively small old town. Here´s the first part of my Bratislava pictures:





View to the modern Danube bridge and one of the new Highrises in Petrzalka district:



View up to the castle, founded in 10th century, renovated in baroque style in 17th century and used as the Austro-Hungarian emperors´ Hungarian residence in 18th century:





Though most of Bratislava´s old town has been preserved, the real socialist urban planning was not too sensitive regarding highway development - this one is situated just a few meters next to the gothic cathedral:



The gothic cathedral St.Martin, 13th-16th centuries:











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Old July 25th, 2012, 03:17 PM   #2
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Neogothic stained glass windows, late 19th century:













Portrait of Charles I., the last Austro-Hungarian emperor:





A beautiful work of late gothic art in the cathedral, around 1500:

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Old July 25th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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In the cathedral´s crypt, mostly with 18th/19th century graves:























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Old July 25th, 2012, 03:19 PM   #4
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Old July 25th, 2012, 03:20 PM   #5
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View to the late gothic city hall, 15th century:





















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Old July 25th, 2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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A beautiful little late baroque church, 18th century:







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Old July 26th, 2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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Bratislava, Slovakia (Part II)



An interesting building of the 1920s/early 1930s, I would guess - in almost all larger Eastern European cities, you can find such buildings of this time which adopt some motives of Western European historistic architecture 20, 30 years ago, but settle them into a more monumental form, which resembles a bit of later Stalinist architecture:





















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Old July 26th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #8
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Entrance to Bratislava´s central historic cemetery with graves mostly of late 18th-early 20th century. The names and languages on the graves show that Bratislava was a multiethnic city until WWII. What I really like about Eastern European cemeteries is the fact that they reveal much more of the individual personality buried there as they don´t only mention name and dates of birth and death, but mostly also show a photo of the deceased, mention his profession and often also have some individual poetry:























Just behind the gate of the cemetery, there´s a group of modern highrises which creates an interesting contrast to the contemplative atmosphere of the cemetery:

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Old July 26th, 2012, 03:14 PM   #9
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Old July 26th, 2012, 03:15 PM   #10
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The "blue church" St. Elisabeth, built from 1907-1908 in the forms of Hungarian Jugendstil - one of the most interesting Jugendstil churches I know at all:







On the other side of the street, you can find some decaying real socialism as an interesting contrast to the church:











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Old July 26th, 2012, 03:16 PM   #11
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Old July 26th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #12
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Even if you should not be a fan of real socialist architecture, you at least have to admit that it was quite creative in finding unconventional forms:











Palais Grassalkovich, built in the 1760s in late baroque forms, today seat of the Slovakian president:



Between Palais Grassalkovich and the Central train station, you can find some 19th century streets with impressive historistic architecture in Viennese style:



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Old July 26th, 2012, 03:20 PM   #13
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Inside Bratislava Central rail station, from where I continued my travel to Kosice:



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Old July 26th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #14
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Very good, very nice photos from Bratislava; i looking forward for the rest
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Old July 26th, 2012, 10:48 PM   #15
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Cool pictures of nice places! Keep them coming!
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Old July 27th, 2012, 05:13 PM   #16
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Thanks for the comments!
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Old July 27th, 2012, 05:19 PM   #17
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Kosice, Slovakia (Part I)

From Bratislava, I continued to Kosice, situated near the Ukrainian border - by the way, to an incredibly cheap fare when you´re used to Western European rail ticket prices: For the 450km from Bratislava to Kosice in a relatively fast and comfortable train, I paid 18€ (For comparison: In Germany or France, you would pay more than 100€ for the same distance).

With a population of 241,000 Kosice is Slovakia´s 2nd largest city and the center of Eastern Slovakia, a region relatively poor compared to the booming Bratislava and its surrounding. Though Kosice´s economic situation is quite difficult, it managed to restore its charming late medieval and baroque old town in a very beautiful way in the last years. Considering the nice landscapes around the city and its beautiful historic center with the magnificent gothic cathedral St. Elisabeth as a highlight, Kosice surely has some touristic potential for the future.





The recently restored main shopping street in the old town with nice historistic 19th century facades:













Neogothic phantasy castle, late 19th century:





The evangelic church, built from 1816 in beautiful classicist style:



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Old July 27th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #18
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Kosice´s main sight - the late gothic cathedral St.Elisabeth, mostly 15th century, Slovakia´s largest church and one of the most Eastern large churches of gothic art:















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Old July 27th, 2012, 05:22 PM   #19
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The gothic chapel St.Michael, 14th century, situated just next to the cathedral:





16th century epitaphias on the outer walls of St.Michael:







Interior of the cathedral:





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Old July 27th, 2012, 05:23 PM   #20
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The art gallery of Eastern Slovakia, situated in a late baroque palace built from 1779:





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