Who would have guessed that the Nedbalova Street, one of the oldest streets in Bratislava, used to be a Jewish ghetto in the past? That’s right, the street appeared for the first time at the end of the 13th century as a demarcation of the Jewish neighbourhood.
Jews could not be organised in the guilds and thus could not become craftsmen. Therefore their main occupation was trade and the medieval version of banking. They borrowed money for high interest rates – even the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg owed them. From the money earned, they could afford buying houses also in other parts of the city. It is thus not surprising that the first name of Nedbalova Street was “Judengasse” or the Jewish Street.
There used to be a synagogue which was demolished after the monks complained that they could not focus during their prayers because of the noise coming from it. The medieval chapter of the Jewish history of Bratislava ended in the first half of the 16th century when the Jews fled the city for fear of the Turks, after the famous Battle of Mohacs (Ottoman Empire won over the army of the Kingdom of Hungary).
The Street probably became the main concentration point of hat-makers afterwards, as they renamed it to the Big Hattery Street (Veľká klobučnícka ulica). Later, they called it Hummel Street, after the famous music composer of Bratislava origin, Mr Jan Nepomuk Hummel. It received its current name only in 1945 after Mr Oskar Nedbal. He was a Czech music composer, conductor and the first director of the Slovak National Theater.
Nowadays, this crooked street connects Laurinska and Ursulinska Street. You can find two significant cultural sights on Nedbalova Street. One of them is the remains of the city walls – a stone wall dating back to somewhere between 13th – 15th century. You can see it standing opposite to the elementary school’s main entrance. The second sight is a burgher’s house on Nedbalova 17, from the beginning of the 19th century.
Those of you who love culture and arts should not miss the gallery of modern arts Nedbalka. This gallery is often referred to as the Slovak Gugenheim. It has one of the most unique interiors you can imagine. It displays the works of major artists formed in Slovakia since the late 19th century till the present. There are mostly paintings but you can also find sculpture and graphic art. The main things to see are the 4 permanent exhibitions, each on a different floor.
The Old Market Hall which stands at the SNP Square has its back part on Nedbalova Street. The talks about its construction started already in the 90’s of the 19th century. After long discussions about its location, the building was open in 1910 for the first time. Nowadays, Bratislavians organise regular Saturday markets with local products here.
TAKE A BREAK
Luckily, Nedbalova Street is not only interesting for its history but also for nice places to spend free time at. Mecheche is a popular tapas restaurant with interesting combination of ingredients and a great wine selection. The small dishes they serve are not tapas authentic but rather tapas-inspired but if you are OK with that you will for sure enjoy their yummy dishes, pleasant atmosphere and great service. They also serve lunch menus and offer options for vegans. Oh and we love the name – mecheche is an older Slovak folk expression for a party!
Dobre&Dobre is a popular coffee place in the old Bratislava style with a glamourous touch of French iconic cafes. By visiting it you contribute to an interesting project of social inclusion while having your coffee. It is the first and only café in Slovakia and Central Europe which tackles social inclusion by employing homeless people. Dobre & Dobré is more of a coffee spot than an eatery. There are no lunches or dinners available but rather small snacks to complement your drinks. They based their philosophy on having purely Slovak suppliers so you can make sure to find only local goods there. Have some of their real old-fashioned yummy cakes that are provided by patisserie Danela with a tradition since 1989, be it “veternik” or “puncovy tunel” cake.
La Putika on the corner of Nedbalova and Klobucnicka streets is a comfy place with chillout music and nice ambience. It has a form of a Belgian Beer-Cafe with several branches throughout the city. That means that it is great for an early evening meetup for a glass of wine or beer but also for a cup of coffee. It is furnished in a vintage style with many lovely accessories. It has a section for smokers, too, which we as non-smokers mind, as you can smell the smoke a bit there.
KC Dunaj is a venue which serves as a bar, a club as well as a place for various social events. Regular thematic parties, live shows, bazaars, literature, theater events – everybody can find their own thing here. When it comes to music, it is a more alternative spot than commercial. They play different genres from electro, indie, folk, gypsy and punk to even hip hop or dance. Very diverse, many options, everybody can choose their favorite thing :)