It’s again time for new adventures. This morning I left Susann at home and headed to the airport. The destination? To visit my brother in Bratislava for the weekend. A short flight later I landed at the airport in Vienna, ran out to catch the bus to Bratislava and eventually I got off at the Einsteinova street in the suburb of Petržalka. It was time to meet up my brother and start the weekend with a walk along the Austrian-Slovak border, along with the old WWII Frontier.
Our Plan – The WWII Frontier
The plan for the day was to discover more sights in Bratislava. Before the outbreak of World War II, Czechoslovakia decided to build fortifications along its borders. In Bratislava, several fortifications were built along the border with Austria.
It was some of these fortifications and bunkers that we wanted to see today. Our plan was to start with Bunker BS-10 and then continue all the way to BS-1. This was a walk that we had estimated to be around 20 kilometers. We walked along what was once the WWII frontier.
Heading to the Border
The fog covered the whole city of Bratislava when I arrived. But that did not stop us. We started walking south towards the Austrian border. Three of the bunkers are close to the border crossing between Petržalka and Kittsee.
When arriving at the border, the first thing you meet is Bunker BS-9. This is one of the smaller of the fortifications, but it is still quite impressive. BS-9 is a place I have visited several times before, so it was Bunker BS-10 that we decided to find this time. Heading along the border Google Maps eventually made us aware of the fact that we should have arrived. Looking around we couldn’t find the bunker in question and we started to wonder what was wrong. We did eventually find out where it was, on the opposite side of a muddy field. So, there was no chance for us to be able to even get close to it.
Susann and I visited Bunker BS-8 a few years ago. That time we were lucky enough to get a guided tour inside the bunker. This is one of a few such constructions that is a museum. There is also a World War I cemetery nearby. Of the bunkers we saw during the day this is one of the most impressive ones. Walking around the bunker, we looked at all the barbed wire and other obstacles. There are still border warnings from the time the Iron Curtain went through this area. It is hard to imagine what the WWII frontier was like, as it is so easy to cross it today. Walking along it, the past will remind you of its existence.
Leaving Bunker BS-8 we hoped to spot BS-7. It is nearby, but again in the middle of a mud field. So it will have to wait until the next time we take a walk along the WWII frontier.
Another one of the larger fortifications was the Bunker BS-6. It is on the other side of the highway and we had to find a way across. Once more the maps on our phones came to our help. We would probably have missed several of the bunkers without the maps and location data.
Bunker BS-6 looked like it had seen better days and so did the fields around it. Hopefully, this place will be taken better care of during the summer months. What did leave an impression on us was the memorial to all the people who were executed in the Petržalka Amassing Camp. We hadn’t heard of any camp in Bratislava and we are still wondering whether it is related to WWII or the Cold War. Anyone who knows?
I had not been to Bunker BS-4 before but my brother had visited it once before. At that time he had arrived from the opposite direction. What we did now was to continue along the road towards where the maps told us we would find Bunker BS-4. What we didn’t know was that the walking path would disappear into nowhere and that the road would continue as an exit ramp right onto the highway. That was not exactly where we wanted to go. It did take us quite some time to find a safer way.
Eventually, we did arrive at Bunker BS-4. The whole site around the bunker has been prepared for visitors. There were trenches and other fortification obstacles, making it possible to imagine how well defended the site must have been back in the day.
Bunker BS-2 and BS-3
Not knowing the exact location of Bunker BS-2 and BS-3 we headed back out on the old border roads. The road continued out into a forest and we followed it until our phones told us that Bunker BS-3 was a bit further in from the road. We headed out in the bushes hunting for the site. We found some animal tracks, but it was really hard to find the bunker. The tracks disappeared time after another and we needed to go back and find a new option.
Once our phones told us that we were at the site of Bunker BS-3, we couldn’t understand where to look for it. We were standing with bushes all around us, with no sight of the bunker. It was when we almost had given up that we looked around a few tree branches and saw a gun turret 2-3 meters away. Talk about well hidden. Once we had finally spotted it, we noticed that the bunker was a lot larger than we had expected. We had been standing on top of it for quite some time before finding it.
Bunker BS-2 turned out to be another fight with the bushes, but we did eventually find also this bunker. BS-2 was a lot easier to spot from the distance and we were happy to see the gun turret between the trees.
This was when we started to get quite tired. So far we had walked around 16 kilometers and had a few more left to get back to the civilization. We opted not to continue to Bunker BS-1, as we didn’t know how far we would need to walk to reach it. So instead we headed back towards the highway and the cycle road that follows it. After crossing the Danube we were soon on a tram heading home to my brother. Around 20 kilometers of walking was enough for one day.
In case you want to know more about the history of the region and the old WWII frontier – or just fancy a hike -, I do recommend you to do this walk.