After two years of writing exclusively about France, mostly about the area where I live and French culture, I’m diverging into wider pastures, so this, my friends, is my first offering not about France. I’ve been itching to write about other places I’ve been and having just returned from a trip to Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava I’ve decided it’s now or never! I present to you the Blue Church Bratislava.
Bratislava, the tiny capital of Slovakia, is only an hour’s drive from Vienna, making it perfect for a day trip. I had done a little research about the place and knew that I wanted to see the Blue Church, no matter what. And in this case the “no matter what” was a big black cloud and rumbles of thunder coming from the general direction of the church. Looking the other way, towards the Castle on the hill it was still clear and sunny, but I reckoned if we didn’t rush to the church straight away we wouldn’t get there; the cloud was ominous and threatening to spill its load soon.
I’d read the church was far from the centre and difficult to find. It’s not! It’s a simple quick walk from the National Theatre in the Old Town. Rushing as we were it took about five minutes. No one can say that’s far! We arrived as there was still a little sun peaking through the clouds, enough to take reasonable photos, though not great and certainly not the perfect blue sky of earlier in the day.
Even in less than perfect light it didn’t disappoint. The Blue Church, or officially The Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary, is the most lovely combination of blues – mosaics and paintwork – with white detailing. Built in 1907-08 and consecrated in 1913 it is an excellent example of Hungarian (yes, I do mean Hungarian and not Slovakian) Secession style, Art Nouveau to you and me. It rises like a wedding cake out of the suburban streets, contrasting sublimely with a hideous Soviet concrete monster-of-a-block directly opposite.
The church was designed by Hungarian architect Ödön Lechner, known for decorating his buildings with Zsolnay tile patterns inspired by old Magyar and Turkic folk art, playfully combining oriental, Romanesque and classical features. It does have a certain eastern feel about it, and more than a whiff of Gaudi too. He also designed the high school next door, which while it is much more restrained, it also has a whimsical playfulness about it.
The Blue Church is consecrated to St Elizabeth, a medieval princess and saint, native of Bratislava, who risked her rank by giving alms to the poor. There is a mosaic depicting a miracle she performed above the main door. Unfortunately our timing meant that we couldn’t go properly inside to see the internal decorations up close as it is only open for mass at certain hours. However the main door was open and we were able to look inside through a metal grill to get an overall view. The colour theme continues throughout the church, with the pews and alter painted sky blue.
I’ll leave you with a quick peak at the building opposite – a hospital I think – just to put the church into context! We enjoyed our visit and didn’t get wet, but the heavens opened only minutes later making me pleased we’d made the effort to get there in time.
Have you been to Bratislava? What do you think of this lovely Blue Church?
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Do you remember the hospital name? My boyfriend was born there in the early 70s. I was in Bratislava in Sept 2016 but they were already tearing it down.
I was born across in that hospital… It used to be a women’ s clinic. I think for a short time oncology.
The blue church is so unique 🙂 It looks kind of icy though…
It’s easy to miss, it’s not really on the tourist circuit.
Aww,Christy, Swags, that’s such a lovely thing to say, I really hope we meet one day for real and in the mean time I’m so pleased you enjoy my writing.
I’m basically doing this same trip in June this summer! Diving into all of your posts on Budapest and Bratislava! I am so thankful to have connected with you: a true expat traveler who I can lean on for reliable down-to-earth information about awesome places! Thanks, Phoebe!!
Totally missed out on this one when in Bratislava 🙁 Such a shame!
Thanks Wander Mum! I still focus mainly on France but love to throw in the odd post like this.
Hopefully Slovakia has sorted out its corruption since those days Cathy as that sounds very tedious. I’ve been twice and had no problems at all but both were very short visits. The Blue Church isn’t very well known, so 20 years ago you probably didn’t see it. I discovered it through a blog, not a regular guide book and blogging didn’t happen back then.
It’s easy to miss as it’s not really on the tourist circuit. Thanks for popping by.
I was in Bratislava, but don’t know how and why this church slipped under my radar. Looks stunning. Thank you for your post. 🙂
This looks absolutely beautiful – I love the blues and I can imagine how stunning it would be on a clear day (although I like your atmospheric clouds too). For some reason, I don’t think I visited this in Bratislava, or have forgotten if I did. I was there almost 20 (!) years ago and unfortunately it was one of my worse travel experiences – we were backpacking, only a few years after the split with the Czech Republic, and seemed to run into a lot of corrupt police who fined us for various supposed infractions, then took pity and suggested we just give them half the fine. Hmmm. As they were holding our passports (then a legal requirement to have with you, so you’d definitely be fined if you didn’t), we never had much choice about paying up. Unsurprsingly we moved on as soon as we could. I’ve been back to the High Tatras since which were wonderful and can imagine the rest of the country has changed hugely too in 20 years.
I can see why you wanted to rush to the blue church. It’s stunning, a very interesting structure and by the looks of things, rather incongruous with its surroundings. Shame you didn’t get to fully explore inside. I very glad you started blogging about outside France – love hearing about your global adventures. Thank you again for linking up to #citytripping
Yes we went to Bratislava in the early 1980s and we have just revisited on our Danube trip. It was -10 degrees and New Year’s Eve. I’m afraid we did not find your blue church. Another time
I bet it was pretty different then to today!
Did you get out of the bus Frank? I think that helps count as visiting th e ce, but clearly even if you didn’t, you have been there, it wasn’t an illusion! Pity the bus didn’t drive you past the church. I loved the contrast of the building opposite too!
I love it too Molly!
Yes Bratislava and Vienna are the 2 closest European capitals and easily visited when staying at one or the other. You can even visit by boat along the Danube which would be fun too.
I agree that the interior is very inviting. I’m delighted to share this with you Nancie
Oh no Rosemary! What a pity! 🙁
I am very upset, Phoebe, because I went to Bratislava and DID NOT SEE THE BLUE CHURCH. Thank you for your post. It’s lovely!
Yes I have been to Bratislava a few times but it must be 30 years ago when I was living in Prague
I love this church!! Just looking at the photos made me smile. The cheerful blue and ornamentation look so inviting. Seeing the blue inside made me think it is a place that welcomes it’s partitioners. I don’t know anything about Bratislava, but I would love to photograph this church! Thank you for sharing this special post! #SundayTravelers
What a gorgeous and unique church. I love European churches and this is such a beauty. I’m glad you were able to give us a peek of the interior. I didn’t realize Bratislava was that close to Vienna. This looks like a greta day trip.
Such a beautiful church! I love that colour blue. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve only been to Bratislava once. Actually I’ve been on a bus tour that sped throughout the city (look at the left, and now on the right kind of thing). So I don’t even know if that qualifies as a visit to the city. The church looks different. And I loved that you put it in context of the neighbourghood by showing the photo of the other building. Such a contrast!
Yes it really is a one-off!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Next time you’re back in Vienna you should try and get there; it’s a really easy day trip and well worth it.
Yes it really is!
My pleasure Joy! 🙂
You’ll have to go and see this church then Sammi. Bratislava is small and easy to explore. The old centre is very pretty. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Hej Anni, thanks for stopping by, your comment does link to your blog, no worries!
Thank you for showing this absolutely amazingly beautiful church! I have something more on my Bucket List now!
What a gorgeous place!!! I love the color – how unique!!!
Wow! How fantastic is that church! I’m so glad you shared it.
What a unique colour for a church! I lived so close to Bratislava and never actually went. Sounds like its time for a day trip one time 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #SundayTraveler again!
That’s got tobe one of the most unique churches ever! Cheers for linking up Lou.
What a beautiful church! Looks like a beautiful place to visit. Thanks for sharing!
Wow, it’s beautiful. I have a few days in Bratislava this summer, which I am excited for. I don’t know a lot of about Slovakia at all, really, so this post was super interesting.
How could I not play along today with such a post? Very happy to link up with you and all the others, thanks for hosting.
But you have been to Bratislava, haven’t you?
As far as I’m aware you can’t go up the tower. It’s not open to tourists at all really, just for mass.
One day Corinna!
It really is fairytale-like! 😀
Bratislava isn’t so far from where you are in Bavaria, you should definitely go one day.
I’m glad you enjoyed your armchair travels Lauren. 🙂
Spot on Kirsty! Amazing contrast.
It’s such an unusual church, really very pretty.
Isn’t it just! But luckily there’s also the attractive school next door, so the grot isn’t too dominant.
It’s important to colour co-ordinate one’s clothes with the sights you’re visiting!
I’m glad you liked it.
I too have a blue kitchen! Thanks for commenting.
What a perfect item to share for Blue Monday! I love it! Thanks for playing today.
I’m looking forward to reading your comment on my blue injury post. Please come back.
Have a Happy 1st Blue Monday!
No I have not seen this blue church Phoebe
Thank you for sharing it .
Wow what a beautiful building.
The Blue Church is beautiful. I bet it is indeed gorgeous on a clear day with blue skies. I haven’t seen many Art Nouveau churches. In fact, this may be the first. I wonder if they let people up the tower. It seems like Rapunzel should be hanging her hair out the window at the top.
Your photos make me want to go there!
Wow, that looks like an amazing place. All fairytale
That church is just so beautiful, like some kind of ornate wedding cake! Would love to make it to Bratislava one day! 🙂
Such contrasting buildings! The church is beautifully designed and so colourful x #blogclub
So beautiful. Thank you for sharing, I’ve a soft spot for pretty church buildings and often wonder inside to take a took
What a fantastic building, I have never travelled anywhere of real interest but would love to see things like this. #BlogClub
Wow. That is some contrast!!!!! Love the blue church though 🙂
Have you been to the Blue Church Catherine?
The blue church is beautiful. You sure have chosen an old style east block photo by way of contrast. It made me chuckle,.
Perfect church to match my jacket! Loved it, and the rest of the trip
This is so beautiful, thanks for sharing, so detailed and that blue is divine!