Modra’s Upper Gate, which houses a display of historical ceramics.
Photos by James Thomson
Modra, another wine-making town, is perhaps best-known for its distinctive yellow-and-blue pottery, known as Modra majolika. Despite being an old local tradition - the designs borrow heavily from those of the Habans (see Záhorie) – modern-day production takes place in a utilitarian, socialist-era factory on the edge of town. But the skills have been preserved: visitors can see each item being hand-thrown and painted.
The centre of Modra is slightly marred by its constant traffic, roaring past a statue of Ľudovít Štúr, perhaps the most influential Slovak of the nineteenth century. Modra was where Štúr spent his last years, and his house is now a museum devoted to his life. The museum is also the place to ask about access to the Upper Gate (the only one of Modra's mediaeval defences still standing), which now houses an exhibition of local ceramics and folk art.
Just north of the town, in the hills near the small village of Píla, is a well-preserved sixteenth-century castle, Červený Kameň, once owned by the ubiquitous Pálffy family and now housing an exhibition of antique furniture.
February: Fašiangy v Modre
(Carneval in Modra)
Carneval of folk traditions and customs, typical carneval specialties
September: Malokarpatské vinobranie
(Little Carpathian grape harvest in Modra)
November: Tekvicová slávnosť
(Pumpkin celebrations in Modra)
December: Vianočné trhy (Christmas market)
Typical Christmas market in Pezinok and Modra with wide variety of products such as wooden toys, gingerbread, hot toddy, embroideries