In Central Europe, there are few places like the village of Rusovce. We can rightly consider it an important heritage of the past, part of the cultural heritage of Europe. A wide spectrum of historical events connected with this territory have brought together a variety of ethnic groups, nationalities, cultures and art. This is one of the reasons why Rusovce is prepared to further develop its rich cultural traditions, offered by its strategic geographical location as well as its attractive past. Due to its multiculture, four languages are spoken here – Slovak, German, Croatian and Hungarian. At present, Rusovce is a place of relaxation and leisure. For this reason, it is important to restore its historical and cultural heritage and to develop its tourism potential in a sophisticated manner.
Traces left by the oldest people in the area of present-day Rusovce go as far back as the older Bronze Age (approximately 2200-1600 B.C.). Then, representatives of so-called Wieselburg Culture, one of the oldest in Slovakia in the Bronze Age, appeared here. Findings from that period include several graves, ceramics, period vessels and jewels as well as various tools. Graves from the Halstadt Culture, dating from the 7th century B. C., have also been dicovered in the area. Settlement from the younger Iron Age was documented with the discovery of one grave of Latenian Culture (Celts) from the period 250-125 B.C..
Around 12-9 B.C., Romans arrived in the territoty of present-day Rusovce. The most important monument from this period is the military camp Gerulata, which was once part of border fortifications of Limes Romanus. Roman Gerulata flourished in the period from the 2nd to the 4th century, but perished in the 5th century under the pressure of Germanic tribes. Situated on the ruins of ancient Gerulata is a Slavonic settlement, which was founded in the 9th century. Archeological findings from the settlement were also found in Rusovce.
The first written reference to present-day Rusovce dates back to the year 1208, during the reign of King Ondrej II, in his deed of donation of the area of “Terra Uruzwar” to the monastery in Lébényi (present-day Hungary). In the first centuries of the Hungarian Kingdom, Rusovce was an important border stronghold – “Castellum”. In the second half of the 14th century, Rusovce gained importance as a trading centre as well.
The beneficial location of Rusovce on the road leading from from Hungary to Austria, via Magyaróvár and Hainburg to Vienna, helped in the development of the community during the Middle Ages. Situated on the trade route, Rusovce reaped continuous economic profit throughout the 15th century. In 1439, Rusovce was mentioned as “Oppidum Orozvar” (“small rural town”). It preserved this status till 1908.
The first written record of a Jewish community in Rusovce dates back to the year 1453 (documented by synagogue and Jewish cemetery, which, however, were destroyed in the 20th century).
In the 15th century, Rusovce was owned by the noble family of Tompek, and later became the property of Stefan Josa. During the period of 1515 to 1575, Rusovce experienced a total of four immigration waves by Croats. In 1613, the church of St.Vitus was rebuilt. The first written record of a local school is from 1659. The church of St. Magdalena was built in 1668-1669 .
In 1646, Rusovce became the property of Count Stefan Zichy, the head of the Hungarian House of Nobles. The family became the exclusive owners of Rusovce for the next 200 years, well into the middle of the 18th century. Rusovce became the official country residence of the Zichy family. During that period, Rusovce Castle was considered the nicest one in the whole of the Moson province.
In years 1841 – 1846, the Count Emanuel Zichy Ferrari rebuilt the castle in the style of the English Tudor Estate as a gesture of respect and compliment to his wife, who was of English origin.
Further development of the castle and park in Rusovce started in 1872, when the castle and adjacent land was acquired by Count Henckel, who built a stud farm there. In his time, Rusovce became a famous place for horse riding and breeding.
Due to the generous support of Count Henckel, the HUGO stud farm became one of the most successful in Central Europe. In 1890, the stud-farm was sold to Baron Rotschild.
In 1906, the land, castle and stud-farm were acquired by the Crown Princess Stephania and her husband, a Hungarian nobleman, Elemir Lonay. The garden of the castle was then considered to be one of the finest and best looking in the whole country. Part of the park was a large garden center called Stephanium, well-known even outside the Moson province. It had 36 greenhouses and was involved in business throughout the whole of Europe, including deliveries by train .
In the year 1920, based on the Treaty of Tianon, Rusovce became part of Hungary and after WWII, part of Czechoslovakia, according to the Paris Treaty of Oct. 17, 1947.
On January 1st 1972, Rusovce was made a part of the city of Bratislava, the capital of present-day Slovak Republic.