Countries Slovakia Bratislava Cultural Tours

Bratislava: Echoes of Empire

with
Thomas Abbott
Thomas Abbott is an independent art and architectural historian. He graduated in Psychology and Art History at Carleton College, Minnesota, and studied his Masters at the Louvre School of Art History in Paris. He is a specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th century. He has a been a resident of Berlin since 1987 and has successfully led cultural tours for many years across Europe.
What's included...
  • Return flights on British Airways (economy) to Vienna
  • 3 nights at the 5-star Marroll's Boutique Hotel
  • 3.breakfasts, 2 dinners and 1 lunch
  • Category A seats to Swan Lake
  • All gallery and museum entry ticket fees
  • The services of your tour lecturer and tour manager
  • Transfer to/from Vienna airport on a luxury coach
  • All tips and taxes
Hotel
Marrol's Boutique Hotel
Getting about
Participants should be reasonably fit. There is a significant amount of walking, standing and use of stairs.
Inspirational tours frequently booked together
with £995 per person
Highlights
On the second evening of this tour, Sapienza Travel has reserved category A seats for you at the Slovak National Theatre for its performance of  Tchaikovsky’s romantic masterpiece, Swan Lake.
Schloss Hof was purchased by Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1725. He immediately set out to extend the existing building with the additon of two wings. Thirty years later the palace was purchased by Queen Maria Theresa who further embellished the property. 

On arrival, we will enjoy lunch before embarking on our tour of the Imperial Apartments, taking in the splendour that Prince Eugene, Queen Maria Theresa and her son, Emperor Joseph II created in this bastion of the baroque.
St Martin's Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Bratislava. More importantly, it was the coronation church for the Kings and Queens of the Kingdom of Hungary. On this tour of the city, we will spend time exploring this historically important building.
On the return to Vienna airport, a stop is made at Schloss Rohrau, or as it is sometimes known, Schloss Harrach after the Counts of Harrach who owned the castle for many years. Today, the castle houses the magnificent art collection of the counts of Harrach. Among the collection are paintings by Luca Giordano, Anton Raphael Mengs and  Adrien Manglard.
Bratislava's modern name is credited to Pavel Jozef Šafárik's misinterpretation of Braslav as Bratislav. The city, for many years, was known as Pressburg and after the defeat of the Hungarians by the Ottomans became the capital city of the Hungarian Empire and entered the Hapsburg Austrian Empire in 1536. The city became a coronation town and the seat of kings, archbishops (1543), the nobility and all major organisations and offices. Between 1536 and 1830, eleven Hungarian kings and queens were crowned at St. Martin's Cathedral. The 17th century was marked by anti-Habsburg uprisings, fighting with the Turks, floods, plagues and other disasters, which diminished the population.

Pressburg flourished during the 18th-century reign of Queen Maria Theresa, becoming the largest and most important town in Hungary. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave a concert in 1762 in the Pálffy Palace. Joseph Haydn performed in 1784 in the Grassalkovich Palace. Ludwig van Beethoven was a guest in 1796 in the Keglević Palace.

In the 20th-century, the area became part of the newly formed Czechoslovakia and was cloaked by the Iron Curtain for nigh on six decades. Following a friendly separation, Bratislava became the capital of Slovakia throwing off its iron mantle. The city’s turbulent history has left its mark in the many styles of art and architecture that prior powers used to stamp their presence on the city.

The Sapienza Travel tour introduces this jewel of the Hapsburg empire, taking us on a curated journey through changing face of the city.
On arrival at Vienna airport, we depart for Schloss Hof, a palace once owned by Price Eugene of Savoy, and later Maria Theresa. After lunch together, we tour the apartments in this royal residence, the largest in Austria. Continuing to Bratislava, we check-in to the boutique Marrol’s Hotel before dining in a restaurant with a birds-eye view of the city.
Our morning finds us strolling through the historic centre of the city taking in the statue of the Fallen Soldier, the statue of Pavol, Maximillian’s fountain and Michael’s Gate. We then enter the 18th century, Archbishop’s Palace, described as the most beautiful building in Bratislava. It is home to many Hapsburg family portraits, glorious chandeliers and its own Hall of Mirrors. The afternoon is an exploration of the Old Town Hall Museum. An early dinner precedes our departure to the Slovak National Theatre for a performance of the ballet, Swan Lake.
The morning is spent inside the Slovak National Gallery looking through the gothic and baroque galleries, and the more recent contemporary works, which gives us an experience of the impressions left on the country as it attempted to create its own identity. St Martin’s Cathedral was where the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Hungary were crowned for over 250 years, including Maria Theresa. The cathedral has several crypts beneath it and contains the remains of Saint John the Merciful who died in the early 7th Century. Our afternoon is at Bratislava Castle, where a castle has stood since 3500BC. We explore the collection of fine and decorative antiques and wander the gardens where Maria Theresa walked. We dine together in a delightful local restaurant on our last evening.
Our morning sees us visit the beautiful Blue Church of St Elizabeth designed in the Hungarian Seccessionist style. Walking by The Grassalkovich Palace we enter the French-style gardens of this Roccoco palace finished in 1760. Next is the Franciscan church of Kostol Zvestovania Pána which houses the torso of St Reparatus and a glorious Baroque chapel dedicated to St John the Evangelist. After some free time in Bratislava, we depart for Schloss Rohrau outside Vienna which houses one of Austria’s most impressive private art collections, that of the Harrach family. 
Marrol's Boutique Hotel is in a historic building, all of the rooms and suites are slightly different, but of the same high quality with luxury amenities and services. Sapienza Travel has reserved classic rooms for guests. If you would like to receive a quote on higher categories of room, please contact us for a quote.

Flights - If you would like to fly BA Club class, please contact us, and we will provide a price for the upgrade.

Travel advice - Please refer the Foreign Office's website to make sure you are comfortable with the travel advice they provide for the destination(s) you are visiting. www.fco.gov.uk 

Activity level - Our tours involve a lot of walking, climbing stairs and standing still for periods of time. The historic centres of cities are often uneven and cobbled requiring everyone to be confident walking across them.

Prices - 2 sharing £1,685 per person (£1,485 without flights). Single room £1,875 (£1,675 without flights)
with
Thomas Abbott
Thomas Abbott is an independent art and architectural historian. He graduated in Psychology and Art History at Carleton College, Minnesota, and studied his Masters at the Louvre School of Art History in Paris. He is a specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th century. He has a been a resident of Berlin since 1987 and has successfully led cultural tours for many years across Europe.
Marrol's Boutique Hotel
Marrol’s Boutique Hotel Bratislava provides 5-star stylish accommodation with views of the Old Town streets or hotel garden courtyard. It is conveniently located in the heart of Bratislava historic center just a few minutes walk from the Slovak National Theatre, St. Martin’s Cathedral or the Primatial Palace.
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