Known as Slovakia’s White House, this palace is the official seat of the president of Slovakia. Its large French garden which is one of the most popular parks in Bratislava is definitely worth of visiting. In past this building used to serve as a venue for aristocratic society events and concerts. Josepf Haydn, a popular Austrian composer, held some of his concerts in this palace, for example.
Grassalkovich Palace, also known as the Presidential Palace, is situated at Hodžovo Square, between the Old Town and the main train station. It is very well accessible by walking – just a few minutes walk from the Michael’s Gate.
WHAT TO SEE AROUND THE GRASSALKOVICH PALACE?
Right in front of the palace there is a big fountain in the shape of Earth which symbolizes freedom. A great spot for taking some nice pictures! The main gate reminds us the one of the Buckingham palace in London – with its shape and black & golden colors. And we have a small periodic change of the guards in the front yard, too! :) It happens at 12:00 at weekdays.
Do you know there is one day in a year when the doors of the Presidential Palace open to public? Have you ever been inside of the building where the head of our state receives its guests? If not, you can at least enjoy this photo journey :)
THE PRESIDENTIAL GARDEN
If you don’t happen to be around on that specific day, definitely visit the presidential garden in the back of the palace. It was originally created as a French formal garden and now serves as a public park. Take the Banskobystrická street and go to its end – that’s where you will find the entrance. An alternative is to take the Štefanikova street from the other side of the palace.
An interesting thing to know about this garden is that there is a so-called presidential alley. Our former president, Rudolf Schuster, decided to create it after being inspired by the governor’s garden in Ottawa. He planted the very first oak in 1999 here and since then, oaks are planted on the eastern side of the garden by each president who visits our country. And what about the west side? Well, it belongs to the chestnut trees :)
If you visit Bratislava with your kids, this is a place you both will like. First, there is quite a big playground where they can spend some fun time, and second – you can relax a bit on the benches which are everywhere :)
The whole area has nice paths to walk around, full with old trees and well maintained lawn.
Grab your book and come to read it here or just sunbathe on a blanket! Many locals come here to do so :)
Different statues of modern art are set throughout the garden. These can change occasionally. Once again, great spots for taking nice snapshots :)
Right in the middle of the garden there is a small pool with a statue of three girls playing in the water. It’s a lovely spot for relaxing or a sit-down in the sunshine.
DID YOU KNOW?
Even though the palace is the official seat of the president of Slovakia, he actually does not live there. It is however used for various ceremonies with foreign officials. Unfortunately you can’t get inside because it is not open for public – except the one „open door day“ which is usually held in June.
The palace was built in 1760 by Antal Grassalkovich, a Hungarian noble serving as the head of the Hungarian Chamber. He was Maria Theresa’s tenant, and the building was used for various balls and parties of the Habsburg royal court. No wonder why – just check how beautiful it is :)
OPEN HOURS: April to September 09:00 – 21:00, October to March 10:00 – 18:00
TICKETS: free admission to the garden
ADDRESS: Hodžovo square