TOP 10 BEST OF NITRA
N Nice views from seven hills
I Incentive events
T Tourist attractions
R Religious monuments
A Atmosphere of cosy city
The city of Nitra is located in southwest Slovakia, approx. 90km from Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It has excellent transport accessibility. It is 160km away from Budapest, the shortest distance to Hungarian border is 71km (Komárno). Nitra has 11 partner cities.
Population: 79 534 (2.1.2017)
Area: 108 km2
GPS: 48˚ 18´ 25´´N, 18˚ 5´ 11´´ E
Nitra is one of the oldest cities in Slovakia, which was founded on the slopes of seven hills. We can say that it is a paradise for archaeologists. The territory of Nitra is continuously inhabited for almost three thousand years.
Nitra was the seat of Prince Pribina, who had built and consecrated the first Christian church in Slovakia (around 828). In 863, the Thessalonian brothers Constantine and Methodius came to our territory to spread Christianity among our ancestors in their native language. We also owe the first Slavic script – Glagolitic script to Constantine. During the time of the Great Moravian Empire, Nitra was one of the largest housing agglomerations in Central Europe.
The earliest written mentioning about Nitra dates back to 871 – 873 in the work Conversio Bagoaiorum et Carantanorum. Nitra is mentioned also in the Charters of Zobor from 1111 and 1113 (deposited in the Diocesan Museum). At the beginning of the 12th century, the oldest monastery and school on the territory of Slovakia was established on foot of the Zobor hill– Benedictine monastery of St. Hypolit. In 1248, the sovereign Belo IV granted Nitra a town privilege as his gratitude for salvation in the battle against Tartars. Nitra remained an important economic centre also in times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Nitra, the fifth largest city in Slovakia, is situated on both banks of the river Nitra under the majestic Zobor hill (587m). It lies on the borderline of the Podunajská nížina lowland and the Tribeč mountains. Zoborské vrchy mountains are located in the southernmost part of the Tribeč range. The most valuable plant in the Zoborské vrchy mountains is Thlaspi jankae (Slovak pennycress), a tiny white flowering plant which occurs only in Zoborské vrchy mountains and in the Slovenský kras karst. The Zoborská lesostep forest steppe is scattered by rare protected plants such as Iris pumila, Pulsatilla grandis and Adonis vernalis.
In late summer you will see Mantis religiosa (Praying mantis) jumping in the grass. Its name comes from the typical position of its front legs under the chest creating the impression of praying. Another rare kind of animal living here is Saga pedo. Beautiful colourful butterflies are the jewels of local fauna.
Nitra – that is also new districts and housing estates, streets and roads, parks and mini parks, reliefs and statues, but also new modern buildings, adjusted spaces, companies and plants.
...seat of diocese (since 880)
...city of sacral monuments and pilgrimage site (castle, cathedral, churches, cloisters, Calvary)
...city of history (mother of Slovak towns)
...city of exhibitions (143ha of Agrokomplex fairground, 11 international exhibitions and fairs)
...city of culture (festivals, events, concerts, two theatres)
...city of students (more than 20 000 students of the University of Constantine the Philosopher and the Slovak University of Agriculture)
...city of museums and galleries (archaeological, missionary, agricultural, diocesan, Jewish museum, Gallery Foyer and Nitra Gallery)
...city of sport (21 sports fields in City`s administration)
...city of industry (218ha of industrial parks)
TOP 10 BEST OF NITRA!
Visit the most distinctive dominant feature of Nitra and taste the unique atmosphere offered by the castle area. Nitra Castle together with its fortification is the largest medieval fortified settlement.
Take a look to the basilica of St. Emmeram, Vazil`s Tower, Casemates, Gothic ditch and lose yourself in the history.
Nitra Castle – national cultural monument, it comprises several separated parts.
Fortification – it was built gradually during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was built by Bishop Pálffy in 1673 during the reign of Leopold I. (Latin inscription over the gate) as a defence against the Turks. It is a star shaped fortification system with five massive corner bastions, on which busts of generals from the Leopold`s times are placed.
Cathedral of St. Emmeram – it consists of the Upper Church, Lower Church and Romanesque church.
Romanesque Church of St. Emmeram – it is the oldest part of the cathedral, which was built in the 11th century in Romanesque style, later it had taken Gothic elements. It cannot be excluded that it stands on the site of the first Christian church built by Pribina. The current interior is the result of a reconstruction carried out in 1931-33. The visitors can admire the remnants of St. Andrew and Benedict, as well as a silver casket with the remnants of St. Cyril.
Upper Church was built in 1333-55 on the highest point of a rocky elevation. Its Gothic interior was rebuilt in Baroque style by Bishop Erdődy after 1711. The fresco paintings on vault were created by Austrian painter G. A. Galliarti. The main Baroque altar is work of Italian master D. Martinnelli from the first half of the 18th century. Other rare works include the Renaissance baptismal font from 1643. The Upper Church has one of the most valuable Baroque church interiors in Slovakia.
Lower Church was built in 1621-42 adjoining the Upper Church. Its dominant feature was until recently a rare altar called the “Deposition from the Cross” from 1622, a work of an Austrian sculptor J. Perneger. This altar was moved from its original place to the opposite wall after finding a precious fresco from the 14th century depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.
Bishop Palace – its foundations date back to Middle Ages. Its present appearance is a result of a substantial rebuilding during several centuries. Recent Baroque modifications are from the 18th century. A fire in 1924 destroyed the roof and a part of the Episcopal archive. Today it is a seat of Nitra bishop.
Outer buildings – are situated on the castle courtyard. A circular tower is a fragment of the medieval fortification with a Neo-Gothic extension from 1857. Today, this building houses the Diocesan Museum with many objects which document the historical development of the city and the castle hill. The building above the Renaissance entrance gate was built at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. Once it served as a flat of the castle garrison’s constable. Flats for servants, chambers and stables were also situated on the courtyard. An exposition presenting Great Moravian wall from the 9th century is situated in the Gothic Ditch – in the Casemates.
Vazil`s Tower is part of the medieval fortification. According to a legend, Vazil (Vazul), king Stephen`s nephew and the lawful heir to the throne, was imprisoned and killed in this tower. There was supposed to be a dungeon in the tower`s underground.
Come here to reveal the secrets of the Cathedral Treasure. Diocesan Museum attracts visitors to its exposition of valuable liturgical objects, the oldest manuscript preserved in the territory of Slovakia from 1083 and copies of the Charters of Zobor from 1111 and 1113.
Romantic streets and mysterious corners, enchanting atmosphere, majestic ecclesiastical buildings, historical monuments and sleepy atmosphere, the town reserve offers it all. Make sure not to miss the sculpture of Atlas (called Corgoň), a young blacksmith, who saved the castle from incursion of the Turks, the sculpture of Prince Pribina, Small and Large Seminary and many other interesting things. Building of the Large Seminary, built in 1764-1770, houses the Diocesan Library with approx. 66 000 precious volumes and 78 first editions (incunabula) from 1473 – 1500.
Did you know that if you touch Corgoň`s feet, your wish will come true?
Take a walk through the pedestrian zone adorned by artworks in the spirit of Great Moravian traditions – an enlarged copy of the historical bronze sword, an iron fountain, a sewer cover from Great Moravia, a five metres tall musical clock column, a drinking fountain on the corner, Svätopluk`s sticks and visit the unique Svätoplukovo námestie Square, which is the central and relaxation part of the Lower Town. Enjoy a cup of coffee on Kupecká Street, feast your eyes on windows of shops with artworks or stylish second-hand bookshop.
The synagogue in Nitra built in 1908 belongs to the oldest synagogues in Slovakia. It is a witness of Jewish history, because for centuries Nitra belonged to the most important centres of Jewish life in Slovakia. The unique Moorish-Byzantine architecture gives the building an attractive appearance. Thanks to the perfect acoustic, the synagogue is also used as a concert hall and exhibitions, meetings and various festive events are organized here as well.
Ideal place for families with children is the City Park Sihoť, which belongs to the most beautiful parks in Slovakia. In the oldest part, there are many attractions for children, playgrounds, swings, obstacle ropeway and maze, carousels and trampolines, farmer`s yard with farm animals, historical Frog Fountain with water fairy Žblnko and snack bars. An outdoor swimming pool is also part of the 20ha park. Beautiful paths around two lakes are great for mothers with strollers, cyclists and roller-skaters. They are favourite places for fishermen as well; one of the lakes is used also for boating during the summer.
The Nitra Calvary with twelve chapels with reliefs depicting the Stations of the Cross is located on one of the seven hills. A lookout with binoculars gives a stunning view of the whole city. Do not miss the Missionary museum with pieces of ethnological character, exotic animals and birds from all over the world. Calvary is favourite place also for climbers.
Every year in October, the Calvary hill is crowded with children with colourful kites, this lovely event called Šarkaniáda attracts families with children also from wider surroundings.
An educational path with 27 stops and the overall length of 14,7km is here for visitors of the Zoborské vrchy mountains. Start this easy hike with visit of the remains of the oldest monastery in Slovakia. The Zobor monastery was established in 850-880 on the west slope of the Zobor hill. The oldest and most precious written documents from our territory – the Charters of Zobor written in 1111 and 1113 are also connected with the monastery.
The favourite hiking trail leads to Pyramída – Pyramid (553m), marked by blue hiking signs. Don`t forget to stop at the Svoradova jaskyňa cave (355m). Svorad, the legendary hermit came to Nitra from Poland during the reign of King Stephen I. and here he joined the Benedictine Order in the monastery of St. Hypolytus on the Zobor hill. The legend says that Svorad lived as a hermit in the cave near monastery, since then the cave is called Svorad`s. The one-hour hike will reward you with a spectacular view of the whole city. There is a lookout with binoculars, fireplace with the possibility to grill and a tourist shelter; a bit underneath it you can find the remains of a Great Moravian hill fort.
Church in Dražovce
A Romanesque Church of St. Michael Archangel from the turn of the 11th and 12th century stands on a rocky hill above Dražovce, the borough of Nitra. It is the most photogenic place in Nitra! It appeared several times in music videos of famous bands, on a postage stamp, and even it was depicted on a former Slovak fifty-crown banknote. At the end of June, this picturesque place is crowded with picnic baskets and hundreds of people in historical costumes! Enjoy a romantic picnic called “Breakfast in the grass”!
Slovak Agricultural Museum
It is the only museum presenting the history of agriculture in Slovakia. The open-air museum documents buildings from all over Slovakia: a bakery, a mill, a distillery, a dairy, bee hives... Reconstruction of early medieval farmhouse, a farmer`s yard, a school with the exposition of teaching aids and a historical coop shop with tasting of traditional ground coffee and workshop – these are the main attractions of the open-air museum. After the tour, take a ride on the narrow-gauged railroad around the open-air museum area, or let it take you to one of the attractive exhibitions within the Agrokomplex fairground.
Cultural monument Archaeological site of the Camaldolese Monastery. Zobor Monastery - an underrated treasure. The baroque monastery complex situated at the foot of Zobor Hill complements the tradition of the ancient town of Nitra. Originally, there was the Benedictine Abbey Monastery of St. Hippolytus from the 10th century which died out in the second half of the 15th century. It was the oldest monastery in Slovakia in general. Later it became the institute for education of the Nitra Bishopric priests. The existence of the monastery at Zobor is also mentioned in the Zobor Deeds from 1111 and 1113. Its extinction dates back to 1468. It is believed that between 1692 and 1697 a new monastery of the Camaldolese was built in the place of the original Benedictine monastery. It was built by bishop Blažej Jaklin and his cousin Baron Mikuláš Jaklin, lord of Lefantovce. They wrote a document binding them to the construction of a new monastery for twelve monks at the site of the former Benedictine monastery. The entire monastery complex was built according to the project of an unknown architect from Vienna. The construction was finished in 1695. During the construction works, the ruins of the original monastery were razed to the ground. A new one-storey monastery with two side wings was built, and a church with three entrances and a tower with two bells emerged on a slight elevation in the garden. Underneath the chapel, there was a tomb where the monks were buried on one side and members of Count Apponyi's family on the other. At present, the church is in ruins and the Curative Institute for Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases sits in the former Camaldolese Monastery.