Mountain Park in Bratislava’s Old Town borough is one of the oldest public parks in Bratislava. It is one of the most valuable natural areas in close proximity to the city centre and is therefore protected by fourth degree protection. Its cultural and historical value is not much smaller though. Mountain Park is an original work of landscape architecture with an obvious composition and intent. The Park includes a historic mountain lodge, which is an ever more sought after cultural and social centre. The Park is a popular spot for walks, relaxation, and sports.
In the second half of the 19th century almost the entire north-western part of the Old Town was covered by forests, vineyards, and gardens. These natural landscapes, however, were difficult to access as no comfortable road led to the area, except for a forest path leading towards the Our Lady of Snows Chapel, which was laid back in 1713. Between 1860 and 1868 the path was widened and modified to create the Hlboká cesta street (Deep Road), which made this area more accessible.
The local forest belonged to the Buben family, which sold it to the town hall. A part of the forests belonged to Petzl family, but the household did not wish to sell it and so it was expropriated. By 1892, the northern area was attached to the park, as a gift by Bratislavská sporiteľňa (Bratislava Savings Bank) on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.
The Park was established in second half of the 19th century, during the reign of Hernich von Justi as the Mayor, who also vice-presided Bratislavský okrášľovací spolok (Bratislava Beautifing Society). In 1870, through his initiative, Študentský les (Student Forest) began to be transformed into the Mountain Park.
Mountain Park was established by practical modification of existing forests, their shaping and additional planting, gap making, border improvements and access road paving.
Mayor Justi had a road plan drawn and laid. The original network of pathways remains to this day. Fifty benches were laid around the park, guard’s hut was erected at the main gate and in 1873 park’s first children’s playground was created. Irrigation was serviced through two wells. The Park was also enriched by minor iron constructions – a gloriette, a small pavilion with benches or a metallic view tower at Murmanská výšina (Murman hill). New benches were continually added into the park. For example, in 1907, the Beautifying Society had ordered globular benches at Marton company. Some of these unique benches remain preserved to this day! In the same year, 25 tables were nailed to the trees with poems by local artists. To aid the wildlife, 20 feeders and birdhouses were spread in the park.
Park was shaped during the era of realism, which favoured natural landscaping in garden arts and was also known for increased interest in foreign woods and plants. Due to rougher environmental conditions of the Mountain Park (namely terrain fragmentation, uneven sunlight exposure or different humidity conditions) attempts to incorporate exotic plants remained largely unapplied and the Park had maintained its character of a native forest park.
Near the end of the 19th century, many new forest species were introduced into the park, such as yews, lindens, planetrees but even ginkgo or foreign conifers. Today, some 50 types of introduced words remain in the park. Particularly, the presence of a pseudolarix specie native to China is on a nation-wide scale. Massive trees, many of which reach 30 – 35 meters in height, are also significant. These include species such as ponderosa pine, common beech, sycamore, or common ash. Horse chestnuts are the most common of deciduous trees, with notable presence of black walnuts. Coniferous trees are represented by Japanese redwoods, Canadian hemlocks, Douglas firs or a group of dawn redwoods. It also includes a single specimen of ginkgo.
Geographically, the Park is located in modern-day downtown, which had since park’s establishment expanded in all directions, but the park’s area had stabilized at 22,96 ha. Park’s elevation varies between 185 and 260 meters above sea level and is spread across two converging valleys, the ridge in between as well as the terraces. Justi Memorial is the obvious mid-point of the park, along with the adjoined terrace. The town hall had erected the memorial in 1908, following the death of Mayor Justi, commissioning it to local sculptor Alojz Riegel, who himself was a member of the Beautifying Society. Memorial to botanist J. A Bäumler, also a work of Riegel, is located at the entrance to the park at Nekrasovova St.
Today, a historic mountain lodge Horský park is an indivisible element of the park, deviating from its original use to become a sought resting and socialising area, as well a unique cultural center. The lodge includes a playground and a bookhouse cafeteria with great coffee and traditional walnut and poppy Bratislavské rožky (Bratislava rolls). In the summer, the lodge hosts various cultural and social events. It was renovated and opened to public by Nadácia Horský park (Mountain Park Foundation), which advocates for park protection and its meaningful use.
The Park also includes a sole outdoor gallery of contemporary Slovak sculptural art. In 2014, the Foundation had incorporated a new nature trail with information boards.
Magistrát hlavného mesta SR Bratislavy
Primaciálne námestie č. 1
814 99 Bratislava
Životné prostredie a mestská zeleň: tel.: +421 259 356 670
The Mountain Park is accessible 24/7.