Lekáreň u Salvátora
Pharmacy Salvator in Bratislava, Slovakia
|Type||Custom-built for a pharmacy operation|
|Location||Old Town of Bratislava, Slovakia|
|Address||Panská Street No. 35, Bratislava|
|Current tenants||private citizens|
|Owner||City of Bratislava (half) |
Spektrum SK (half)
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Kittler and Gratzl|
Pharmacy Salvator (Slovak: Lekáreň u Salvátora) is a neo-renaissance building and former pharmacy in the Old Town of Bratislava, Slovakia constructed by pharmacist Rudolf Adler in 1904. The pharmacy itself was founded by archbishop Georg Lippay in the 17th century and changed owners and locations several times before settling in this custom-built structure where it continued to operate for another 102 years before being shut down in 1996. The building used to contain culturally protected baroque pharmaceutical furniture from the year 1727 which is today in a private collection.
The building's facade features a stone statue of Christ the Saviour by sculptor Alojz Rigele. The ground floor is abandoned and the upper floors contain 10 flats, partially occupied by the Slovak National Theatre employees. Since 1963 the building is a culturally protected monument and it is one of the more striking examples of neo-renaissance architecture in Bratislava. Pharmacy Salvator is located across the street from the monumental St. Martin's Cathedral and it is part of most guided tours of the city.
History of the pharmacy
In the 17th century archbishop of Esztergom Georg Lippay founded a pharmacy for his own personal use. In 1658 he donated the pharmacy to the Jesuit Order, where it resided in the building of the Jesuit Collegium on Kapitulská Street No. 26. In 1735 it was auctioned and bought by pharmacist Karol Sessel, who renamed it to Pharmacy Salvator still keeping it in its location on Kapitulská Street. In 1833 the pharmacy was moved into the Csáky Palace at Panská Street No. 33. All of the pharmaceutical tools and furniture from the year 1727 were also moved. In 1904 the owner of Pharmacy Salvator, pharmacist Rudolf Adler constructed a purpose-built house for the pharmacy on the neighboring narrow parcel and the pharmacy together with its furniture moved for the last time.
History of the building
The building was constructed by the company Kittler a Gratzl (Kittler and Gratzl) in 1904. Compared to neighboring structures at that time the building was rather high, having five above ground floors.
Having survived both World Wars, Pharmacy Salvator was nationalized in 1950 becoming the property of the Medika state company, the communist government continued to operate the pharmacy. In the mid-1990s the building was privatized and the City of Bratislava acquired half of the building.
The state pharmacy operated according to a contract between the Bratislava City Magistrate and Faculty hospital of Bratislava (FN). In October 1995 FN cancelled the contract. At that time the rent was 250 SKK per meter squared per year and the pharmacy did not comply with the regulations of the Ministry of Health due to its size and humidity.
In 1998 the Mayor of Bratislava Peter Kresánek as the statutory representative of the city rented the building for 9 years and 11.5 months (until 31 July 2008) to the company Spectrum Reality of Slovak-Monacan businessman Dušan Kollár, without the consent of the City Parliament. The rent was set at 250 SKK per meter squared per year, altogether 38,000 SKK per year for the whole building. Spectrum Reality immediately rented the building for 300,000 SKK per year to Slovak footballer Štefan Maixner, who was the boyfriend of Eva Majská, the daughter of businessman Jozef Majský. Maixner in turn immediately rented the building for 400,000 SKK per year to an unknown company. There was a demand in the original contract between the city of Bratislava and Spectrum Reality which stipulated that only a pharmacy may be operated in the building.
In 2001 the Bratislava City Magistrate was planning to operate a tea house in the premises with the sale of homeopathics. In 2002 Spectrum Reality started reconstructing the interior of the pharmacy and turning it into a café. The unauthorized destruction of a culturally protected monument was stopped by the Monument Inspection (Slovak: Pamiatková inšpekcia) and the Construction Office of Old Town.
In 2002, Mayor of Bratislava Jozef Moravčík, publicly blamed his predecessor Peter Kresánek for the contract damaging the city. The contract could be voided only if the building was to be used for commercial activity other than a pharmacy operation. Since no pharmacy can operate in the building due to environmental reasons, Moravčík suggested that the city has a weak position in any possible lawsuit and that it would probably lose at court.
In 2006 a lawyer contacted the city of Bratislava and informed that the lawful heirs of Rudolf Adler (who died in Austria in 1954) are five citizens of Hungary who became owners of half of the building based on the decision of Regional Court Bratislava II.
In 2007 the heirs decided to sell the building and even though the City of Bratislava had the right to buy before any other buyers, the City Council at its meeting in August 2007 declined. The whole building was valued at this time at 823,209 euro and the heirs demanded 1,493,726 euro for their half of the building. The building was afterwards sold to the company Spectrum Reality for an undisclosed amount of money. It has to be noted that with the legislative framework valid in Slovakia at that time (as well as until present) if at any moment the city becomes the sole owner of the building, it is by law mandated to sell the building to the people renting the flats as soon as they would officially demand the sale.
History of the pharmaceutical furniture
For over a hundred years the building contained rare baroque pharmaceutical tools and furniture from the year 1727. These objects included a huge marble pharmaceutical desk supported by six lions, an antique cash register, gas chandelier, a set of pharmaceutical containers and various other furniture.
The price of the collection was determined by a court-appointed expert in 1995 to be 1,700,000 SKK. The furniture together with the entire interior of the pharmacy including all drugs was sold by the Faculty hospital of Bratislava to pharmacist Júlia Selecká for this expert-determined price, the contract was signed in September 1995. For half a year she continued to operate the pharmacy before closing, not able to pay rent. She first tried to sell the furniture to the city, which did not satisfy her undisclosed offer.
In 1996 Júlia Selecká sold the collection to the company Araver of Jaroslav Závodský, a businessman from Trenčín. He had to move the furniture out of the building because then Mayor of Bratislava Peter Kresánek increased rent to 20,000 SKK per meter squared per year, altogether to 3,000,000 SKK per year, forcing him to move out of Bratislava. This amount is 80 times higher than the price later to be accepted by the city in the contract with Spectrum Reality.
Jaroslav Závodský had the collection valued at 20,000,000 SKK and offered it to the Ministry of Culture for this amount, the Ministry however declined, citing lack of funds and other priorities. He then offered it to the City of Bratislava, which declined as well.
The Ministry of Culture of Slovakia obtained the promise of then Mayor of Bratislava Jozef Moravčík to buy back the collection on two separate occasions, in 1999 and in 2001. Both times Moravčík claimed that he could not come to an agreement with the other party. In 2002, Moravčík claimed he would do everything in his power to return the pharmaceutical furniture back into the historical building and that there was already a "certain agreement" with Jaroslav Závodský.
Currently the non-residential part of the building is abandoned. The upper-floor flats are rented out to citizens for an unspecified time (e.g. indefinitely) or the time of renting is connected to employment in the Slovak National Theatre. As of 2010 nine flats were inhabited, one flat was empty.
The collection of pharmaceutical tools and furniture remains in ownership of Jaroslav Závodský and the collection is inaccessible and locked in a deposit in Trenčianske Teplice. As a Slovak Cultural Monument, the collection cannot legally leave Slovakia.
- "Tridsaťmiliónová záhradka (30 million garden)". Plus 7 Dní. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "Kto je vlastne zodpovedný za nevýhodné prenájmy mestského majetku? (Who is actually responsible for damaging renting of city property?)". Bratislavské Noviny. 24 October 2002. Retrieved 1 August 2012.