We are in the Rusovce borough, part of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. Surrounded by crumbling walls and Rusovsky Park, a beautiful sprawling English park, the Rusovce Mansion, english for Rusovský kaštieľ, is a decaying example of neoclassical architecture.
There are records of a castle at this location dating back to 1266, but today visitors to the area will only see this once-glorious white building constructed between 1840 and 1906. The current mansion was built on the site of an older manor house from the 16th century, with a medieval structure incorporated into the following buildings.
Several royal families once called the mansion home prior to World War II. In the twentieth century, mansion and premises have been owned by Hungarian Prince Elemer Lonyay, husband to Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, widow of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary.
The couple has lived in the mansion till early in 1945. Lonyay, who died in Budapest in 1946, left the estate to the Benedictine Order, who had given refuge to him and his wife during the last weeks of the conflict at Pannonhalma Archabbey, when the mansion was used by Nazi SS officers.
In 1947, due to the Paris Peace Treaty, Hungary had to cede the area to Czechoslovakia, and the then communist government seized the premises in 1948.
The park around the mansion contains meandering paths dotted with sculptures and monuments, with at least one from the communist era. A decaying wall with entry gates borders the property, now managed by the Slovak Republic Government Office and closed to the public.
There is also a courtyard that has became a local haunt for street art artists.
There is a sign on the gate to enter the park that says “Enter at Your Own Risk.” However, many people enter every day and the park is a popular spot for joggers, walkers, and families.
There are also a coffee shop located in a former church next to the walls, a restaurant and ice cream shop accessible from inside the outer wall.