Bratislava, 23rd January 2023: In the last year, the Bratislava City Museum started an extensive project of the Devín Castle renovation performed within the cross-border project Culture Across – Cultural Bridges through the Morava River. Most of the works relating to the renovation of the castle architectures and another phase of the archaeological research performed within the project were completed in the autumn. Due to the higher time demands of certain works, the finalization of the project aimed at improving the visitor comfort and persistence and the historical asset’s authenticity was postponed to July 31st 2023.
The following parts were successfully completed before the end of 2022:
1) reconstruction of the cover building of the Early Christian archaeological findings Cella Memoriae;
Reconstruction works started in July 2022 with the aim, after a decade, to make the covered archaeological site available for the public. The site was closed due to defected statics and hydro insulation of the covering structure. The roof structure was reconstructed completely, its statics were secured, and the hydro insulation layer and extensive composition of the green roof were renovated. During the planting, the level 4 cultural heritage protection was taken into account and the original species of plants and sempervivum were planted there only. All electrical wirings were replaced completely, and the works will continue in January 2023 with the phase of the installation of artificial scenic lighting to the site’s interior. In June of this year, Cella Memoriae will be made available on the occasion of the temporary panel exhibition which will be prepared once another phase of the archaeological research will be completed on the site. Since the site was slightly damaged during the degradation of the roof structure due to leaking impacts, BCM is preparing in the next phases to restore the site to reach the original conditions. Reconstruction of the building’s covering will thus be completed and then it will be getting ready to be opened for the public.
2) recovery and reconstruction of uncovered historical architectures in the Devín Castle site;
There were recovery and reconstruction works of uncovered historical architectures performed in the castle site since the end of July too. Maintaining castle masonry defects occurred due to degradation of the cement filling used as the basic binding at the castle reconstruction in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century and securing their statics were mainly concerned there. Based on their extent and importance, they represent one of the most important projects implemented in the castle site in decades. Most of the works were performed from a scaffolding and, in the area of visitor roads, with the use of climbing equipment. Thanks to the comprehensive planning and cooperation with qualified suppliers acquired by means of an open tender, the entire renovation was performed with the castle site open.
The works were performed under the active restoration and static supervision, surveillance of the Regional Monument Preservation Office Bratislava, and internal technical surveillance of BCM; the following things were subject to supervision in particular:
- using local construction stones from the local quarries,
- respecting the original rows in masonry,
- properly selected lime mortar with regard to keeping the original colours and structure,
- preserving the appearance of the original masonry and its ruin silhouette.
The aim was to preserve the existing valuable historical masonry applying well-balanced preservation and finishing approach. The recommended engineering-biological protection of the walls where the masonry coping is protected by a specially mixed substrate combined with planting of the stonecrops was implemented too. The protected masonry allows proper hardening of the lime mixture on the masonry coping and its surface protection. The bridge connecting the Lower and Middle Castles was reconstructed completely too. Reconstruction of bridge vaults was performed in the autumn of 2022 – the unoriginal brick vaults built during the large reconstruction of the castle in the 80s of the 20th century were removed and the stone vaults the material of which corresponded with the architecture of those time were built there. The bridge was reconstructed with the castle site fully open. The surface layer of the bridge body – stone floor – will be renovated in the spring of 2023 after thorough hardening of concrete.
3) archaeological research;
In 2022, the research performed by Dominika Ferenčíková Hulková and Peter Barta with Jaroslava Schmidtová as the leader was performed in the Lower Castle. They had thus continued the research performed here by Katarína Harmadyová between 2017 and 2021. Some other interesting findings were discovered in 2022:
- pile dwelling with foundation trays to be dated in relation to the grave of an adult person,
- pit filled with remains of the aboveground wood-clay structure destroyed by fire to be dated chronometrically (using radiocarbon),
- skeletal grave of an adult person with an iron knife to be dated chronometrically,
- skeletal grave of a child with two vessels,
- evidence of production of the chopped stone tools (small blades, remains of cores, splinters – in their secondary positions) in the castle site from a broad time interval of the early Bronze Age that were not specified in detail,
- plant macroremains extracted from sediments.
The artefacts found during the research such as silicide blades, fragments of ceramic vessels, fragment of a Roman bronze clasp and small fragments of glass vessels, iron knives and nails confirm that the site was settled from the early Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman era up to the Late Middle Ages and modern times. On the occasion of completing this phase of the archaeological research in the Devín Castle, there was a meeting of the expert archaeological committee with participation of Slovak and Czech archaeologists from institutions such as the Slovak National Museum – Archaeological Museum, Monument Preservation Institute of the SR, and Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences held in Brno on 7 November 2022.
4) development of a new multilingual information and guidance system in the Devín Castle site, constructing buildings of the additional visitor infrastructure within the financial limits.
A part of the project performed in cooperation with the MAPA architekt architectonic studio includes the proposal of a new information-guidance system (IGS) and two small pavilions to be used for improving stay comfort of visitors in the castle site. At the end of 2022, the audit of wheelchair accessibility of the Devín Castle site was performed and the proposal of the information-guidance system from the aspect of the needs of the audience with sight or movement disabilities was evaluated. Results of the audit have already been incorporated in the design documentation and the final version of IGS will respect them to the fullest extent. This part of the project also includes preparation for a new website about the Devín Castle. The new website will also offer extension of the physical IGS in the castle to provide visitors more extensive information of particular parts of the castle site and aspects of its administration and development.
About the project Culture Across – Cultural Bridges through the Morava River.
Within the cross-border project titled Culture Across – Cultural Bridges through the Morava River co-financed from the Interreg Slovakia – Austria Cooperation Programme, the Bratislava City Museum and the municipality of Marchegg all cooperate to preserve their cultural heritages and to increase awareness of the general public regarding important cultural monuments on both sides of the border. This fact will contribute to the increase of the visitors’ potential and attractiveness of the border region Marchfeld – Transmountain region – Bratislava. During 2022, visitors to the Marchegg Palace could thus see in its reconstructed premises for example the Lower Austria Country Exhibition or subscribe to the cross-border conference Palaces in the Field of Moravia. Border Guard Castles – Hunting Lodges – Cultural Tourism held on 15 and 16 September 2022 in the barn of the palace park in Marchegg. It was a hybrid conference which was also transmitted on-line, and the history fans can see its papers in the form of records on the internet.
The total project budged for both partners is EUR 4,170,681.30, out of which EUR 1.3 million is the BCM’s budget and up to EUR 1.1 million of this sum represents a contribution of the EU and Slovak state budget.
More information can be found at www.mmb.sk and on the social networks of the Bratislava City Museum.
Contact person for media:
Mgr. Katarína Selecká
PR and Marketing Manager
+421 2 5910 08 38 or 0904 283 825
The Bratislava City Museum with its tradition longer than 150 years (1868) is the oldest permanently operated museum in Slovakia. In relation to its field of action, it administers an extraordinarily differentiated and broadly structured collection fund (containing more than 120 thousand items). It consists of historical, archaeological, art historical, and ethnographic artefacts documenting the history of the city of Bratislava, the way of performing and development of crafts, industry, viniculture, town management, and forms of its cultural and social life.
Except for permanent expositions, the Museum also administers the national cultural heritage Devín Castle which belongs to the Slovak castle sites with the highest number of visitors, and the Ancient Gerulata site in Rusovce which, thanks to its importance, has been added to the UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list. The collection fund also includes a valuable set of literature collections being a part of the legacy of Janko Jesenský.
The Bratislava City Museum has been developing as a modern cultural and memory institution which is a source of knowledge about Bratislava history and the place of dialogue between the past and present times, but also between the citizens of the city. It sensitively perceives its role at the definition and reflection of the city identity and development of the room for social inclusion and spending leisure time which would have been permanently interesting even for the domestic audience. BCM wants to be an active part of the city activities and to intermediate its themes and contents through the current forms of communication and programmes.