Park kultúry a oddychu
Park kultúry a oddychu abbreviated PKO (English: Park of Culture and Relaxation) and in the past commonly referred to as Pekáč is a complex of buildings in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia by the Danube riverbank, built from 1943 to 1948. Until 2010, the complex was used for cultural events in the capital and it has been the place of countless concerts, popular TV shows, balls, high school proms (Slovak: stužková) and dance class graduations (Slovak: venček). In 2010 Park kultúry a oddychu became the focus of a public scandal concerning the signing of some contracts in secret by the then-Mayor of Bratislava Andrej Ďurkovský resulting in the public learning about the building being demolished in the future.
The buildings contain many artworks both inside and from the outside. The entrance hall contains 28 stained glass windows by national artist Janko Alexy, the floor in the hall is made from unique colored marble from near Lučenec, the first floor above contains a monumental painting Dožinky by academic painter František Gajdoš. The outside of the main building is decorated with two statues by sculptor Tibor Bártfay, above them is a sgraffito decoration.
Park kultúry a oddychu also contains an astronomy section where regular astronomy lectures and nightsky observations are being held. This institution is a lone representative of its kind in the city, uniquely among European capitals, Bratislava lacks both an observatory and a planetarium.
Project for the buildings is by Pavol Andrik, Kamil A. Gross and Ján Štefanec. The buildings were originally built as administrative buildings for the Danube fair.
Because PKO was the main location in Bratislava for organizing dance class graduations ("venček") with social dance classes being widely attended during the first half of high school in Slovakia, as well quite popular for organizing school proms ("stužková") and high-school freshmen parties ("imatrikulácie"), many generations have an emotional bond with the PKO premises.
PKO was also the premier location for performing several types of music in Slovakia.
|“||For me, as a musician, PKO is a palace comparable to Lucerna in Prague, Royal Albert Hall in London or Madison Square Garden in New York. To perform there and sell it out has always been the heighest aspiration of local musicians.||”|
—well-known Slovak jazzman Peter Lipa
Future of the structure
For two months, there was a public discussion initiated by Mayor of Bratislava Milan Ftáčnik. On June 30, 2011 the Bratislava city parliament voted in favor of keeping the whole structure of Park kultúry a oddychu. The city considers the contract of cooperation with the investor to be void.
Stained-glass windows in the interior from the year 1957 by national artist Janko Alexy