The Primatial Palace - One of the ¨City Halls¨ of Bratislava

The Primatial Palace is definitely a must see, when you visit Bratislava. It is located at the Primacialne Square in the centre of the city and offers visitors a glimpse at the history of the town.

About the Palace

The palace was built in classicist style by archbishop and cardinal Jozef Bathyány. The designs come from an architect Melchior Hefele. Up on the roof there are allegorical statues by J. Kogler and F. Prokop. There are also vases by J.A. Messerschmidt. At the top of the tympanum (the triangular decorative wall over the entrance and under the arch), there is a sculpture of the archbishop's coat and hat. There are also sculptures of angels holding the letters I and C (Iusticia-justice and Clementia-graciousness, the cardinal's personal motto.)

Inside the Palace

In the entrance hall, there is a memorial tablet that commemorates the signing the Peace of Bratislava, more commonly known as the The Peace of Pressburg, according to the name of Bratislava at the time. This was the ¨fourth edition¨ of the Peace of Pressburg and was signed in 1805 by representatives Napoleon and Franz I after the Battle of Austerlitz.

On the first floor there is a famous Mirror Hall (or Hall of Mirrors), where many agreements were signed, among them the abolition of serfdom in Hungary in 1848. In the palace there is also an amusing collection of famous 17th century tapestries made in an English Royal weaving factory in Mortlake, depicting the tragic love between Hero and Leandros. The tapestries were hidden in the walls in Napoleon´s times and were later discovered in 1903.

Outside in the courtyard is a picturesque image of St. George slaying a dragon. While this image is ubiquitously placed throughout Europe, this statue and the hall leading to it are particularly deserving of a photo.

The Primatial Palace Today

Today the palace serves as the office of the mayor and the Mirror Hall hosts the assemblies of the City Council. Also, the square in front of the palace has free wireless internet service, which is why you might notice some of the benches occupied by with people on their laptops whenever the weather allows.

Lost in Translation?

Sometimes the Primatial Palace is translated into English as ¨Primate´s Palace.¨ This is incredibly funny to some visitors, because, primate has a popularly recognized meaning in English. When a tour guide says, ¨Just around the corner in the next square, you will see the Primate´s Palace...¨ many visitors think to themselves ¨How strange that they put a zoo in such a pretty part of the city.¨ While this usage of the word primate in English is not widely known, it is correct. Primate can refer to a monkey just as it can refer to an important church figure.

The Primatial Palace - One of the ¨City Halls¨ of Bratislava