Protecting Monument Areas in Bratislava: Workshop Examines Hazards to Monuments and Buildings

10 May 2021

Protecting Monument Areas in Bratislava: Workshop Examines Hazards to Monuments and Buildings

Image by "Monika Steflovicova"

In April, experts and ARCH project partners gathered for an online workshop to assess the vulnerability of several protected monument areas in Bratislava. Discussions centered the protection of several sites in Bratislava, including: Celtic monuments from the La Tène period; Fisherman's Gate; St. James Chapel; as well as medieval and modern architecture in the Devín district. Conversations even went beyond the built environment, including considerations for natural areas around Devín Castle Rock, and the climate-sensitive protected plant species (including Dianthi Lumniceri) that live on and around it.

Participants aimed to get a better view of local hazards, in addition to the causes and impacts of threats to monuments and buildings. Participants collaborated on ‘impact chain’ exercises mostly focused on hazards posed by precipitation and moisture. For example, unearthed Celtic-Roman structures at Bratislava Castle face the structural impacts of exposure or humidity, while other buildings in the city center often form cracks in their walls when heavy rains cause subsoil layers to settle. At the same time, Devín Castle Rock exhibits increasing risk of rock fall, and is impacted by water and wind erosion.

Experts from various fields weighed in to determine which factors most affect Bratislava’s buildings and protected monument areas, and to identify particular links between these factors and their triggers. Some common threads that resulted from the conversation were that risks were magnified by unsatisfactory conditions of the water supply and sewerage network; lack of funding for maintenance, lack of legislation around protection of monuments; the use of construction methods and materials that do not allow buildings to be sufficiently ventilated; and weak knowledge of groundwater flow and groundwater levels in the areas housing Bratislava’s monuments. Going forward, participants will convene again to repeat the exercise, creating impact chains for heat-related impacts on historic areas of Bratislava.