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St Martin’s Cathedral - A view from our expert author
This spectacular cathedral has seen many coronations throughout its busy history and retains a quiet dignity.
Bratislava’s mini cathedral is the most important church in the country. Constructed between the 13th and 15th century, it witnessed the coronation of 11 Hungarian kings and eight royal spouses over a period of 300 years. The tower is 85m tall, topped with a 300kg gilded model of the crown of Szent István király (St Stephen), the fi rst king of Hungary (in AD1000). The late Gothic vaulting is by Hans Puchspaum under direct influence of master masons from Vienna. In 1728, when in residence, the Archbishop of Esztergom invited a famous Austrian court sculptor, Georg Raphael Donner, to Bratislava to establish a workshop and he stayed 11 years creating many masterpieces. In 1734, he created a new high altar featuring an equestrian statue of St Martin and the Beggar which now stands in the southeast corner of the nave and, from 1732 to 1734, built the chapel of St John the Almsgiver in the north aisle with the kneeling fi gure of the donor, the Archbishop Esterházy. In 1884, Franz Liszt conducted his Coronation Mass here.