The true gems of Slovakian architecture are its decorative art nouveau buildings, characterised by intricate linear designs and flowing curves and built during an influx of wealth to the area in the early 20th century.
Nicknamed the ‘Hungarian Gaudi’, Ödön Lechner’s unique style graces some of Slovakia’s most beautiful buildings. Discover the work of the iconic Hungarian art nouveau architect, and others from various times, on this cultural tour of the intriguing country.
It’s just not the scenery that makes this spot spectacular. The High Tatras are home to to unique art nouveau hotels: the oldest being Grandhotel Starý Smokovec. This 4-star mountain jewel will take you back to the noble era of the First Czechoslovak Republic and the many political, cultural and sports personalities that have rested within its walls.
Another award-winning art nouveau gem is the Grandhotel Praha. Based in Tatranská Lomnica, its beautiful art nouveau style transports visitors to the heyday of the high Tatras. Rejuvenate after a day of hiking in the whirlpools and saunas of the new wellness centre or treat yourself to a massage with the hotel’s own cosmetic products using local natural treasures.
Inside the original 14th-15th century fortified walls sits the Church of St. Jacob’s, with a magnificently carved winged altar (the highest wooden altar in the world). Don’t miss the wrought iron ‘Cage of Shame’, used for public punishment in the 17th century.
Be sure to stop at Holy Mary Church for stunning photo opportunities; as well as The Matthias House – a late-Gothic building that served as a residence for King Matthias Corvinus and his Queen Consort Beatrix.
It’s worth making a drive to Hotel Most Slávy in the spa town of Trenčianske Teplice. The four villas are teeming with Art Nouveau interiors, from the paintings to the lamps.
As the location for film festival ARTFILM, the hotel has seen plenty of famous personalities within its walls: Gina Lolobrigida, Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Ornella Muti, and Jean-Paul Belmondo to name but a few.
As early as in the Middle Ages, Trnava was an important centre of Gothic religious and lay architecture: be sure to check out St. Nicolas’s Church and St. Helen’s Church – both built in this period.
About 70 kilometres from Trnava, near the village of Kopčany, is a church dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch from the 9th century; making it the oldest sacral building in central Europe.
An unmissable landmark is a masterpiece of the architect Ödön Lechner – the Church of St. Elizabeth tucked away in the eastern part of the Old Town. Fondly known as the Blue Church, the many shades of blue are adorned with mosaics and majolicas.
For your final night of architectural-bliss, stay at Castel Pension and Restaurant, just over 30km from the capital centre. The beautiful building, which previously belonged to Jeszenák family, was renovated in a Baroque style with a boutique-style gastronomic restaurant.