Old Town Hall

Bratislava, Slovakia | C.1599

Photo Credit: Patricia Villamar

Peek at your own risk! Depending on the year, sneaking a clandestine look into the windows of Bratislava’s Old Town Hall may have conjured some astonishing views. The 423 year old building has had many uses over the centuries including a prison, a coin mint, an arsenal, and most recently, a museum exhibit featuring toruture devices.

Completed in 1599, the Old Town Hall is an amalgamation of architecture – quite literally. The building complex came to be when three families’ houses were joined together. (We can thank the Jacobuses, the Ungers, and the Pawers for their contributions.) Later on, the Town Hall also adjoined the palace of Count György Apponyi. With this palatial addition, the structure encompasses much of Bratislava’s Main Square.

But despite its patchwork-style planning, the Old Town Hall has very much been a place of intentional use by residents. From the 15th through the 19th centuries the structure was used for meetings and celebratory occasion, except for one less celebratory period where it held firearms and some unlucky prisoners.

Today, the headquarters of the Bratislava City Museum calls the Old Town Hall home. Opened in 1868, it is the city’s oldest museum and comprises eight specialized museums throughout the city, each with their own exhibition. Within the Old Town Hall, visitors can explore the Museum of City History, which includes archaeological artifacts and yes – even those aforementioned torture devices. So whether you simply catch a glimpse or take a full tour, what’s inside the Old Town Hall is sure to arrest your attention.

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