It’s a short walk this week, but the destination is special, I promise you.
We are in Bratislava and we’ll start this stroll from the river, at the Slovenské Národné Múzeum. The building was designed by architect M. M. Harminec and construction began in July 1925, completing in 1928 and opening in May 1930.
Take time to admire the statue of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, first president of Czechoslovakia, following the Pittsburgh Agreement of 1918.
Now we’ll head to the left of the museum, walking east along Vajanského nábrežie and turn left onto Šafárikovo námestie. At the end of the street, turn right and immediately left onto Alžbetínska and keep walking until you get to Gajova.
Don’t look to your right just yet – I have something I want to show you straight ahead.
This is Gamča, a public coeducational school founded in 1626 by the Cardinal Petrus Pazmanus as Collegium Posoniense. The current building was designed by Ödön Lechner, the “father of Hungarian Art Nouveau” and built in 1906-08. It was completely renovated in 2008-10. I’m a big art nouveau fan and this such a lovely example – simple, yet beautifully curvy.
Our real destination, though, is a true confection of a building, standing just across the road. It was designed by the same architect as the school and initially served as the school’s chapel.
This is the Church of St Elizabeth, more commonly known as the Blue Church (Modrý Kostolík) – no prizes for guessing why!
The church celebrates the life of Saint Elizabeth and was commissioned in 1907 in response to the 700th anniversary of her birth.
The curves and motifs are beautiful examples of Art Nouveau, the art style that embraced all forms of art and design in the period 1890-1910. This new style was a reaction to the academic art of the 19th century and was inspired by natural forms and structures. Whilst English speakers adopted the French name, other languages used different terms, such as Jugendstil in German and Secesia in Slovak).
The roses that feature in the church design reflect the secessionist style and also the legend of St Elizabeth.
The ground floor of the church is oval with a 36.8 metre high cylindrical church tower.
The inside is just as beautiful as the exterior, with yet more blue
and a painting above the altar of St Elizabeth handing out alms to the poor.