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Gajary’s history: near and far

THIS POSTCARD from 1919 depicts the village of Gajary in the Záhorie region, situated close to a border crossing to Austria on the Morava River. This strategic geographic position once made the village a busy place, at least from time to time, as a commercial route from the nearby town of Malacky led through the town.

THIS POSTCARD from 1919 depicts the village of Gajary in the Záhorie region, situated close to a border crossing to Austria on the Morava River. This strategic geographic position once made the village a busy place, at least from time to time, as a commercial route from the nearby town of Malacky led through the town.

In the past, traders used to drive herds of swine through Gajary to sell in Austria. And many people from Záhorie used to sell vegetables in Vienna until as recently as the 1940s. When they wanted to offer their goods at Vienna’s morning markets they had to start their journey in the middle of the night.

During the period of what is now called the First Republic of Czechoslovakia (1918 - 1938), crossings on the Myjava were watched by 'financial guards' who came from the Czech part of the country because the state authorities didn't trust local policemen. As there were smugglers at the border, numerous clashes took place on the bridge near Gajary. But according to rumours, even these financial guards could sometimes be bribed.

And there is one more point of interest connected with the village. In the 15th century, the Bratríci, or Bohemian Brethren, a Christian denomination inspired by the doctrine of Czech clergyman Jan Hus, settled near Gajary. They built a fort that was called Posádka (Garrison) that stood long after they had left.

The Brethren lived in Záhorie for quite a long time, which was a tragedy for a number of local settlements. The Czechs plundered the region and terrorised its poor inhabitants, leading to the near-abandonment of several villages, including Gajary.

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