“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” Winston Churchill, March 1946.
The Gate of Freedom Memorial sits below Devin Castle in Slovakia, at the confluence of the rivers Morava and Danube and right on the border with Austria. During the Cold War, this corner of land lay behind the Iron Curtain, and was part of Communist Czechoslovakia.
Between 1945 and 1989, more than 400 people lost their lives trying to escape from Czechoslovakia to the west; most were shot. Their names are inscribed on the larger of the two memorials here—an impressive white stone representation of a gate, peppered with artificial bullet holes.
Close by, there is a second memorial, a rusted iron sculpture inscribed with those prophetic words of Winston Churchill.
Know Before You Go
To get there from Bratislava, you have a few options: LOD operates cruises from the city center, or you can catch the 29 bus from Most SNP. You can also rent a bike in Bratislava and cycle to Devin in an hour.