Photo Credit: Bratislava Tourist Board

​The Bratislava Coronation Days, the legendary event reviving the 400-year-old medieval tradition and one of the highlights of Bratislava’s summer, took place from 13 to 15 of August. The festival offered visitors a rich programme consisting of a coronation parade, a knight tournament, a concert in St Martin’s Cathedral, and numerous free tours.

Bratislava, once called Prešporok by Slovaks, Pressburg by Germans and Pozsony by Hungarians, became the coronation city when the Ottoman Turks conquered Hungary and occupied Székesfehérvár – the city that had been the site of previous coronations.

Sanctuary for Hungarian aristocracy

At the time, Pressburg was a secure place near the imperial residential city of Vienna. It was chosen by the Hungarian aristocracy, intellectuals and church dignitaries as their sanctuary. In 1536, Bratislava was declared the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary. The small town on the Danube boomed over time as it was the administrative centre of the country, the residence of the King, Archbishop and the Diet of Hungary, and where the Kings of Hungary were crowned.

St. Martin’s Cathedral is where ten men were crowned king between 1563 and 1830, alongside a reigning queen and seven queens consort. The first reigning king was Maximilian from the Habsburg Dynasty. The famous era of coronations came to an end for Bratislava with the crowning of Ferdinand V. The only woman to have ever become queen and rule and was not the wife of a king, was Maria Theresa, who solemnly accepted the title of Queen of Hungary and was crowned in Bratislava on June 25 in 1741.

Photo Credit: Martin Sloboda

Follow in the footsteps of kings

Bratislava’s streets today have churches and buildings aligning them with historical events that have taken place. There are still houses along the coronation route and squares existing that have witnessed coronation ceremonies. Part of the original coronation procession route is today marked with brass crowns embedded in the pavement. Visitors can today follow in the footsteps of kings and walk the path of the original coronation procession during guided coronation tours organized by Bratislava’s tourist information office and selected travel agencies.

The tours were held on August 13 and 14 in 2021. They included the most significant places connected to the coronation ceremony, the Bratislava Tourist Board said. The coronation tour ended by the river Danube, where the newly crowned monarch swore the Oath to the Land. The coronation parade began at Bratislava Castle and ended in Main Square.

This article was implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic.