Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Slovakian Parliament

National Council of the Slovak Republic
On my last trips to Bratislava unfortunately I didn't get to visit the Slovakian Parliament's building. It is located in the best possible place of the town, next to the castle. Unfortunately, it is quite an uninteresting (from outside), gray, concrete building next to the imposing castle so most tourists probably don't even realize its significance and head directly through the gate on the opposite side of the street to the castle grounds.

Bratislava Castle, 2010
The 150 members of parliament who are working on the other side of the castle's fences can admire the splendid view towards the Austrian mountains.
The lucky ones, those without flats in the capital, are actually admitted to the castle grounds with its nice parks and panoramic view of Slovakia, most prominently the old town of Bratislava:  as an easy solution to avoid expenses scandals and make sure that everyone has a place to stay, the MPs are invited to stay the night - two to a room - in a nice building on the castle grounds.
The National Council on the left with the castle towering over Bratislava; photo: 2006 by Chris, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Bratislava is unique in a sense that it not only houses the current Slovakian Parliament but also gave home to the Hungarian National Assembly (and some other non-parliament related Hungarian institutions) at a time when most of Hungary was under occupation.

The former upper house of the Hungarian National Assembly, currently a university library
It is always a nice feeling to stumble upon the building of the former upper chamber in the middle of the old town - I haven't found the lower chamber's building, yet, but it's one more reason to revisit the town. I hope that these, along with the Slovakian Parliament buildings are open for tourists so that I can put a couple of more parliaments on my list of visited places the next time I am there.

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