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St. Michaels gate
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In the medieval times the town was behind fortified walls that surrounded it and the entry and exit was possible by one of the four heavily fortified gates. On the East Side it was the Laurinc gate, named after St. Laurinc, on the South side it was the Rybna gate or the Fishermen's gate. This was the smallest gate of the four, used mainly by the fishermen entering the city with their catch from the river Danube. On the West side it was the Vydricka gate also called the Dark gate or Black gate, since it was a tunnel like, dark and long. On the North side it was the St. Michael's gate named after the St. Michael and the St. Michael church that stood in front of it on the outside of the wall, later on it was put down and materials gained from it were used in the building of additional fortified walls.

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The history of St. Michael's gate dates back to the end of the 13th century and first written document about its existence dates to 1411. The fortification in front of the St. Michael's gate was closed off by drawn bridge over water ditch, later on rebuilt for stone bridge. The entrance was closed by a drawn Iron Gate together with a wooden door.

During the coronation of the Hungarian kings among the years' 1563-1830 when 19 coronations have taken place in Bratislava, the ruler would enter with his coronation entourage by the way of Vydrica gate, get crowned at the St. Martin's Cathedral and one of the stops following the coronation during the procession through the town was the stop at St. Michael's gate where now the new King would pledge his king's oath to the hands of the Archbishop.

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The tower of the gate was raised in 1529-1534 and then rebuilt in 1753-1758 to the form as it stands today. It was through this last reconstruction that a statute of St. Michael was placed on the top of the tower. The St. Michael's tower stands 56 yards.

Today, there is a museum of medieval fortification of Bratislava and arms located in the tower. Visitor will get familiar with the town’s fortification beginnings, reconstructions, and their final destruction in 18th century as the fortified walls were preventing the city's growth. On the sixth floor of the tower is a balcony that offers a magnificent view of the Old City, castle, and surrounding areas.

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Bratislava, Pamiatkova rezervacia, Blanka a Inrich Puskar, Tatran, Bratislava 1989
Bratislava, Sprievodca, Ing. Helena Navratilova, Vladimir Hancin, Ing, Maria Klacanska, Sport, Bratislava 1989
Bratislavske Muzea, Ing. Maria Klacanska, BIPS, Bratislava 1988
Mestske Pamialkove Rezervacie na Slovensku, Alexander Fricky, 0sveta, Bratislava 1986
Korunovacne Slavnosti, Stefan Holcik, Tatran, Bratislava 1988
Tvoja Bratislava, Ivan Lacika, Vladimir Tomcik Mlade leta, Bratislava 1992

Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 2, No. 2, Summer 1994
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1994 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6

The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.