Námestie Slobody, Freedom Square, Gottko, Bratislava, Slovakia, Slovensko

Námestie Slobody – Sights in Bratislava

Imagine yourself in a futuristic – almost absurdly so – Communist park. Maybe you want to go for some time travel? Add to that scene some steel, concrete, functional buildings, silence, and quite a bit of nostalgia. Námestie Slobody is precisely this park or square. Even its name -Freedom Square – hints of a time when everything was more grandiose and the hope for a better tomorrow was lurking around the corner. This is one of the largest squares in Bratislava and you find it just in front of the Episcopal Summer Palace. Actually this is probably one of the major communist leftovers in the city.

The square is today surrounded on all sides by important buildings. There are the Slovak Technical University, the Ministry of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications of the Slovak Republic, as well  as the Episcopal Summer Palace. The latter houses the government of Slovakia.

The square itself looks abandoned nowadays as graffiti has filled most of the structures built in the square. There is also a lack of water in the Fountain of Union that is the centerpiece of the square. The fountain, made of stainless steel, is the largest fountain in Bratislava and its core depicts a linden flower, a symbol of Slavs.

Námestie Slobody: A Bit of History

During the Socialist era, Námestie Slobody went by the name Gottwaldovo, in honor of the Czechoslovak president Klement Gottwald. There used to be a huge statue of Gottwald on the square but it was later demolished.

The Fountain of Union, at the very center of the square, dates back to 1980. In other words to a time when life in Bratislava was very different. The square was renamed in 1989 to Námestie Slobody. One piece of history worth remembering and mentioning is the world’s first helicopter. In 1897 Ján Bahýľ’ took off on his invention in this very park.

Námestie Slobody: How to Get There?

Námestie Slobody is a short walk up north from the old town of Bratislava. The closest tram stop is Slovenská technická univerzita (STU). Trams connect you with most of Bratislava.

Do you want to know more about Bratislava? Check out our Bratislava Guide here!

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Swati & Sam

    This place looks deserted. We can imagine what it would have been during its heydays. The steel and concrete looks beautiful. We didn’t know that the first helicopter ride took off from here, good thing to know. Great pictures and a great write-up. Cheers.

  2. Joe

    Hmm…a communist square? Reminds me a little of Memento Park in Budapest, which came across as a surreal socialist theme park. Sounds interesting, and well worth a visit.

  3. Indrani

    I couldn’t spot this during my short trip to Bratislava. It is such an interesting off beat destination with interesting statistics to its credit. The pictures do give a fair idea of the place.

  4. Dane

    I was so close to Bratislava last year and I did not go…. When I see things like this it really makes me kick myself and question why. I love these strange old communist buildings. So distinctive and so cool!

  5. I laughed out loud at the “futuristic communist” part. He he
    Interesting place nonetheless. The old communst regimes surely saw themselves as progressive and futuristic. This iis not to say that the typical capitalist regimes are any better. I think the human race is yet to fnd the right formula.

  6. Soumya Nambiar

    It looks completely deserted. Was it frequented by locals during the Communist era? A lot of the place looks damaged too. Interesting thing about the helicopter.

    1. Jesper

      We don’t know how well visited the square was previously, but as you say – it looks mostly deserted today.

  7. It is always great to visit places of historical importance which have so much to tell about the past and which transport you back in time. The fountain looks interesting. I wonder why it isn’t much frequented by public.

  8. That is a bizarre looking sculpture in the park. I am fascinated by former communist countries and learning about how they lived. I would very much like to visit Bratislava in the future.

  9. neha

    This looks like quiet an offbeat destination. With hardly anyone to be seen in the vicinity. I would love to visit here when I happen to be in the area.

  10. Siddhartha Joshi

    My first ever couchsurfing host was from Bratislava and she told me so many stories of her city that I was completely fascinated by it. Your post is fascinating too, but in a different way…

    Btw hat fountain looks very interesting, I wonder what would it look like with water flowing. Does it ever work?

    1. Jesper

      We actually never saw the fountain in use during the one and a half year that we lived in Bratislava. Which was a bit sad.

  11. Celma Costa

    I like how you describe it a lot, especially when you mention the ‘silence’.
    I myself love visiting places that hold a heavy historical tradition, and much of Eastern Europe fascinates me because of this.. though modernity has taken shape, you can still sometimes stumble upon its past.

    Thank you for sharing!

  12. Interesting off beaten destination and something I have to write down when I will get there! I like your pictures and the place looks full of charm! thanks for sharing it 😀


    This is quite offbeat. Are there more suggestions of things to do in Bratislava?

  14. Travelpeppy

    We are confused whether we should include this on our itinerary or not. Can you suggest ?

    1. Jesper

      It depends on how long you will be staying in Bratislava. If you are staying more than one day, then I would recommend a walk up to this square. There are some more interesting buildings close by, such as the Slovak Radio Building. It is also quite close to the presidential palace. 🙂

  15. Christina

    Historical places are always fascinating to see. You can learn so much about the place that you never knew. Even if you lived in that place all of your life you could learn something new about it. Great photos! I would love to visit one day.

  16. Swayam Tiwari

    Bratislava used to be in news during the Soviet Union days. I remember this name vividly. I don’t know whether the people of the erstwhile Czechoslovakia still connect with the history and legacy of this town. The cobbled roads are a trademark of much of Central Europe, perhaps. No?

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