Exploring Bratislava #1: bunkers from WWI and WWII

Erasmus and EVS are not only about parties. Bratislavian ESN gave a great opportunity to explore the city also from less known side.
Near the upper station of a Kamzík chairlift we can find a World War I artillery cavern (bunker). It was excavated by using mining equipment and placed right into the mountain. Entrances are out of sight, chimneys are lost between trees. Many local people are not even aware about its existence, as it was built more than 100 years ago (1914). While WWI didn't make its way to the Bratislava border, many residents were still called into battle to fight in other regions. This is the reason why the construction of this cavern is in a perfect state. Unfortunately most of the equipment, weapons or other original objects, were removed during the last century.
Cavern is under the care of BUNKRE.info organisation. They renovate it thanks to donations, also prepared small exposition, which is available during tours with a friendly guide. It’s not their only project. They also try to renovate two caverns in Dúbravka, and one by Klepáč. Unfortunately their website is only in Slovak language, but the tour guide spoke English!
Big advantage of this place lies in its natural values. After exploring underground, we could enjoy the weather and the view from Kamzík peak (439 m). There are some buffets available, so you can order hot wine, toast and relax on the hillside.


Our next stop was a bunker from World War II on the other side of Danube in Petržalka. ESN organised second edition of so-called “Urbex” event and we joined them to see fortification called B-S 4. Museum inside it is focused on the interwar period of Czechoslovakia, especially its military technology and unique defence architecture built just before Third Reich initiated WWII.
It was a pure pleasure to see the place about which someone takes a real care. Our guide was really passionate about this period of time, particularly about weapons and military objects. We could see a great historical exposition full of original objects, touch real machine gun, look through loopholes, but also compare pictures of a state of the bunker in 2011 and present. Personally it made the biggest impression on me. Group of young people, who knew the bunker from their own childhood, was able to completely change it. From forgotten place, usually visited by vandals and homeless, to a good museum, which should be your must-be while sightseeing Bratislava.
Unfortunately it was forbidden to take more pictures inside, which I completely understand. Keepers of the bunker don’t want to show everything on internet, as they say – it’s better to keep details in secret, to keep it more personal, to interest more people. For more information visit their website (also in English version!).


In this area are much more bunkers, which were built in 1936-1938 period. Complete fortress included around 25 objects, therein 8 bigger constructions situated along the Austrian border. Few of them were destroyed while building Petržalka district, few got developed by civil people (by homeless or owners of the land), but most of them are still hidden somewhere in a city landscape.

That's an interesting side of Bratislava, especially for people interested in history and its multicultural character. In the region I come from (Warmian-Masurian voivodeship, Poland), I saw multiple times Hitler’s bunkers – Wolf’s Lair (Wolfsschanze). Bratislavian bunkers from WWI were built during the period of Austro-Hungarian Empire, the ones from WWII by Czechoslovakia, and those familiar for me by Third Reich. Maybe I’m being a freak here, because my diploma connected a bit to this topic, but I find it pretty satisfying to find differences and similarities between those 3 examples of military defensive fortification.

Photos by: Dorota Szafranko 15/10/2017 and 28/10/2017