Malacky’s former synagogue, designed by Wilhelm Stiassny in the Moorish style.
Photos by James Thomson
The biggest town in southern Záhorie, and generally regarded as the area’s ‘capital’, is Malacky. It is not an obvious tourist destination, but has a few minor sights to attract passers-by.
Those interested in Slovak art should search out the Michal Tillner Museum, which is hidden away above a library on Záhorácka Street. Tillner was an important twentieth-century Slovak artist (he died in 1975), one of the earliest to use Cubism to portray Slovakia’s landscape and folk architecture, as well as a significant collector of national folk art and historical memorabilia. A selection of his artwork and his collection is on display in the museum.
Malacky also has a restored synagogue designed by the major Viennese architect Wilhelm Stiassny. Built in 1886, it is a fine example of the Moorish style for which he was famed, with domed towers, horseshoe windows and a red-and-yellow striped façade. It is now used as an art school and is particularly significant since much of Stiassny's other work, especially in Vienna, was destroyed during World War II. Quite how such a fine example came to be built in Malacky is unknown, though a prominent local Jewish family with strong business connections to Vienna may have played a part.
Further north is an intriguing vestige of another religious minority which made its home in Záhorie.