Carpathian Beauty Bratis

On the banks of The Danube in The foothills Of the Carpathians, Slovakia’s Capital Bratislava is Waiting for You to turn a Weekend into A memorable Holiday.

Next door neighbor to elegant cities like Vienna, Prague and Budapest, Bratislava represents a different hue of the Central European rainbow. Its streets, which call to mind an old European fairy tale, are a perfect cultural synthesis.

A little Austro-Hungarian imperial architecture, the hint of a Czech accent, a touch of Polish landscape, in short, a unique blend in which you can feel the traditional and the modern at every step.  A European fusion Slovak - style. Here are some suggestions for discovering this surprising city in the heart of Europe in 48 hours.

12 Noon A Whirl Around Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Castle is our starting point for a tour of the city the Hungarian Queen Maria Theresa compared to a pearl. The castle’s spacious garden serves as a viewing terrace affording a panorama of the city. Built in defense against the Turks, who were already at the gates of Vienna, the castle was damaged by fire in the 19th century and restored in the 1950’s. Towers with pointed roofs rise at the four corners of this building, which is laid out on a square plan.

3 p.m. A Stroll To Old Town
Century-old pastry shops, 17th century churches, fascinating sculptures and street musicians. All can be found on the historic square known as Hlavné Námestie in the heart of the Old Town.

The avenue that runs from the old Courthouse building on the square to Michael’s Gate (Michalska Brana) is perfect for a pleasant 2-hour stroll that will take you past the French Monastery, the Mozart House, St. Martin’s Cathedral, the Parliament Building and the Historical Museum

8 P.M. Taking The Waters
Only a few years old, Bratislava’s five-star hotels are keen on tourists and justly proud of their spas. Among the services guests can enjoy are heated pools with a view of the Danube, Finnish saunas, ice showers, traditional massages with aromatic oils and hydrotherapy sessions. Serving guests like Bob Dylan, Sinead O’Connor and Placido Domingo, these hotels take pride in their sophisticated approach to the spa experience.

9 A.M. In The Old Patisseries
Despite the appetizing breakfast at our hotel, we go in search of the local pastry shops in the city’s historic streets. With their vast shelves, wooden tables and old-fashioned shopfronts, Bratislava’s half-century-old pastry shops seem frozen in time.

A breakfast of cinnamon rolls, chocolate cookies and fruit tarts in one of these venues, all of them hangouts popular with the city’s writers, musicians and intellectuals, is a truly unique experience.

12 Noon Beware The Watchers
The Watchers are one of the surprises of Bratislava’s streets, which are chock full of small museums and fashionable art galleries. These charming bronze sculptures that pop up on street corners and manhole covers are fixtures around the city, and it’s traditional to have your picture taken next to one of them. Now for some important places to see: Slovak National Museum (www.snm.sk), Bratislava City Museum (www.muzeum.bratislava. sk) and the Slovak National Gallery.

8 P.M. Slovak Cuisine
Slovak cuisine represents an interesting synthesis of Central European flavors in which soups and cheese play a key role, and veal, garlic and white cabbage soup are staples. Roast duck is served with hot red cabbage, and turkey sauté with spinach. Pancakes with butter are an adjunct to every meal. Fruit pudding and semolina balls with chocolate are the desserts of choice in the local cuisine.

3 P.M. Shopping
Bratislava is also rich in shopping choices. The area around historic Hlavné Námestie square boasts a large number of gift shops. Among the local markets, your best bet for authentic products is Mileticova Street. You can buy clothes, jewelry, cosmetics and hand-carved wooden items in Bratislava. What’s more, you can also find world- name brands in the modern shopping centers like Galleria Eurovea.

In The Foothills Of The Carpathians
Renata Sedminova Pr Uzmanı/Pr Specialist
“Did you know that there is a museum in Slovakia devoted to Pop Art pioneer Andy Warhol? One of the 20th century’s leading representatives of post- modern art, Warhol is a figure in which Slovakia takes pride because his mother was a Slovak. The museum, which opened in 1991, is at Medzilaborce.”

Bratislava is only 45 minutes from Vienna by train. Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Vienna flights in both directions every day of the week. Departure times are at 7:25 a.m. and 3:40, 5:20 and 7:45 p.m. from Istanbul, and returns at 7:30 and 10 a.m. and 1:10 and 6 p.m. from Vienna.
The train ride from Bratislava to High Tatras means four fabulous hours of panoramic winter landscapes.

Frozen lakes, isolated stations, snow-capped peaks, village houses with steep pitched roofs, and white as far as the eye can see… And the ski centers, scattered like gems in the foothills of the Carpathians: Tatranska Lomnica, Stary Smokovec, Lopusna Dolina and, last but not least, Strbske Pleso.

On your return from Bratislava you can extend your holiday by stopping, if only for a few hours, in Vienna. Its celebrated imperial pastry shops promise truly epicurean delights, among which Apfelstrudel and Sachertorte are regarded as national legacies.