STUPAVA and Mást are two pleasant communities joined since 1956 along Route 2 past Záhorská Bystrica and Marianka on the way to Malacky and Brno, just 12 miles northwest of Bratislava. Late Baroque churches, traditional restaurants, cafés, shops of all sorts and the huge Pálffy–Károly manor house with its romantic park of giant plane trees line the main thoroughfare stretching about a mile between two votive sculptures of Saint John of Nepomuk. Passers-by will note along the road a white ‘pillar of shame’ dated 1766 to which offenders (even women, alas) were chained for their hoped-for redemption.
Stupava is moreover the hub of fabulous cabbage and ‘kyslá kapusta’ whose festival occurs yearly in October, and incredibly-sized pumpkins of all shapes and colours, excellent for such tasty dishes as ‘tekvicová omáčka‘ and other Slovak specialties. No wonder its blazon boasts a sunflower oil-press (stupa), from which the town’s name derives. A ‘Week of Regional Cuisine’ also takes place in autumn for gourmandisers. And that’s not all yet.
A surprise still awaits you at the end of the central highway: the small Kostka Museum has been opened to the public here since 1968 in 18th century premises. It is a tribute by the nine thousand locals to the artist Ferdinand (Ferdiš) Kostka, a native master ceramist, 1878 – 1951, active all his life in the family house at No 25 of the street now dedicated to him. A self-taught potter from the age of eight, Kostka turned gradually into a skilled professional modeller receiving the State Prize and the honour of National Artist in 1946 primarily for his glazed and colourful faience figurines depicting, often humorously in several versions, various regional characters, folk costumes, and even Count Károly himself who was among Kostka’s fans, as were architect Dušan Jurkovič and wartime president Jozef Tiso.
The peasant types and groups are especially moving; though scattered around in museums and collections, some in the national museums of Bratislava and Martin, a good number of them are well presented in this charming workshop together with earthenware, decorative and religious items.
Besides their historical value, they show the simpler life, social conditions and rural traditions of times long bygone, rendered by Kostka with deep affection toward his country and people in cycles of farmers, vine-growers, wood-cutters, harvesters, potters, and musicians whose labour he sympathetically shared.
The perfect visit to top off a day. (Call first, on 02/ 65 93 48 82 or 0907 161 461).
6. Apr 2009 at 0:00 | BY JOHN S. GRIONI