Embark on a captivating journey through Slovakia‘s cultural heritage on routes revealing surprising history at every turn. Visit ancient castles that welcomed Cyril and Methodius, precious Jewish pilgrimage sites, and remnants of the Iron Curtain.
The Cyril and Methodius Route
Experience rich Slavic heritage along the Cyril and Methodius route, which links 9th century sites associated with the Thessaloniki brothers’ pilgrimage to Great Moravia. Rely on the Storymap guide for details of route stops in western Slovakia and information on accommodation, dining, and other attractions. Follow in the footsteps of the creators of the first Slavonic alphabet and explore two important centers of the Great Moravian Empire: Devín Castle in Bratislava, and Nitra. Nitra is Slovakia’s oldest town and will capture your heart with its castle and beautiful calvary. Visit Hronský Beňadik for its uniquely styled Benedictine monastery.
Slovak Jewish Heritage Route
This route takes you to 26 remarkable sites of Jewish heritage across Slovakia. Starting in Bratislava, you’ll find a pilgrimage site renowned worldwide for Orthodox Jews. The Chatam Sofer Memorial was built on the burial site of 23 eminent rabbis and scholars, including the revered Chatam Sofer. Nearby Trnava has two synagogues, each offering a unique experience. Immerse yourself in modern Slovak art in the neo-Romanesque Status Quo Ante Synagogue, which houses the Ján Koniarek Gallery. For delicious coffee and homemade desserts served in an artistically detailed setting, head to the café in the former Orthodox synagogue. Be sure to stop at the early 19th-century, nine-bay synagogue in Bardejov in eastern Slovakia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a taste of Moorish architecture, visit the synagogue in Prešov. Enamored of its richly decorated interior, a group of Jewish people in Los Angeles attempted to move it to the US in the 1990s.
EuroVelo 13: the Iron Curtain Trail
Austria is only a stone’s throw away, but for almost 50 years remained unattainable due to the Iron Curtain, which separated Europe into East and West with barbed wire fences and military patrols. Delve into this period of history on a cycling journey along EuroVelo 13. This route runs through 20 countries, including a 90km stretch in Slovakia. Be sure to see the Iron Curtain Memorial, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008, beneath Devín Castle. Visit the Petržalka district’s World War I military cemetery and pre-World War II concrete bunkers. The Petržalské bunker thematic route offers guided tours showcasing impressive exhibits such as reconstructed firing ranges with original anti-tank guns. Along the border with the Czech Republic, you will be treated to stunning natural scenery, an abundance of wildlife, and the picturesque villages of the Záhorie region.
Choose from many cultural routes crisscrossing the country’s diverse landscape and let Slovakia surprise you!
Devín Castle in Bratislava
Embark on the Cyril and Methodius Route from its inception point, Devín Castle. Here, you will delve into history through the remnants of the medieval fortress, as well as the remains of the 9th-century Great Moravian Church.
The fortified Benedictine monastery in the nearby village, picturesquely perched on a rocky outcrop, boasts a distinctive blend of predominantly Gothic architectural styles and hints of Renaissance and Baroque influences.
Orthodox Synagogue in Prešov
Of the 26 stops along the route, be sure to visit the Orthodox synagogue in Prešov with its taste of the Moorish style. This synagogue has managed to retain its intricate interior decorations and complete inventory, to the extent that individuals from Los Angeles tried to relocate it to the US during the early 1990s.
Synagóga Café in Trnava
In Trnava be sure to check out a former Orthodox synagogue. Don’t be fooled by its modest facade. It is now home to a stylish café that will serve you a fragrant cup of coffee and home-made desserts in an impressive room full of art and refined details.
Freedom Cycling Bridge
Following EuroVelo route 13 crossing Slovakia is similar as to take a history lesson from the era when the Iron Curtain divided Europe into East and West. Along the way, you will cross the cycle bridge over the Morava River linking Bratislava’s Devínska Nová Ves district with the Austrian palace of Schloss Hof.
Chatam Sofer Memorial in Bratislava
The Slovak Jewish Heritage Route takes you to one of Europe’s most important Jewish pilgrimage sites. This architectonically exceptional complex houses the remains of a Jewish cemetery where Rabbi Chatam Sofer, as well as other respected Torah scholars, are laid to rest.
Petrzalka Bunkers in Bratislava
Visit the military cemetery from the First World War. From April to October, you can take part in guided tours to find out more about these historic sites.
Petrzalka Bunkers in Bratislava
Take a break from cycling to visit the pre-World War II bunkers in Bratislava’s Petržalka district. Three of them house fascinating exhibitions, reconstructed firing ranges with authentic machine guns and anti-tank guns, and underground living quarters.
Calvary in Nitra
Following the path of the Thessaloniki brothers, you will discover Nitra, the oldest city in Slovakia. The Calvary of Nitra is a place of immense charm, where you can climb to the summit and be captivated by the breathtaking view.
Synagogue in Lučenec
This remarkable piece of Jewish heritage in Slovakia was designed by the renowned architect Lipót Baumhorn from Budapest. Its style reflects eclecticism with Moorish, Byzantine and Art Nouveau elements.
New Synagogue in Žilina
Explore significant and remarkable examples of Slovak modernism and pre-war synagogues in Europe in Žilina. The synagogue stands out with its domed design, encompassing the traditional grandeur often associated with Jewish ritual buildings.