Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Enthusiasts turn Neolog synagogue in Žilina into a hall of arts

While the cultural centre in Bratislava – called Kunsthalle, or Hall of Arts, per the German term – is still awaiting state approval and financing, Žilina could have its own Kunsthalle completed. The Truc Sphérique civic association which already runs the Stanica Žilina-Záriečie culture hub won the competition of local Jewish religious community.

While the cultural centre in Bratislava – called Kunsthalle, or Hall of Arts, per the German term – is still awaiting state approval and financing, Žilina could have its own Kunsthalle completed. The Truc Sphérique civic association which already runs the Stanica Žilina-Záriečie culture hub won the competition of local Jewish religious community.

Organisers of the project in Žilina stress that they envisioned a different kind of financing such as standard grants and private donors. Peter Blaščák of the civic association told the SITA newswire that after renovation, the synagogue should house exhibitions, informal education, research, publishing, a film club, conferences, occasional concerts, festivals and yoga courses. He added that they are also planning a café, bookshop and a children’s corner. The designer of the reconstruction (which is estimated to cost one million euro) is Martin Jančok, one of the laureates of the CE-ZA-AR 2011 architecture prize. It is hoped that the assistance of volunteers will minimize costs. Operation of the “Kunsthalle” on the other hand is expected to be funded privately.

The building of the Žilina Neolog synagogue is the work of world-renowned German architect Peter Behrens from 1931 and stands on the site of an older synagogue dating back to 1881. As the only Behrens’ building in Slovakia, it has been a national cultural monument since 1963. It was used as a place of worship for just ten years after which the building came under state ownership due to the Jewish community being unable to repay the construction loans. Only later could the community reclaim it in restitution. After World War II, it was a theatre hall, part of the local college, and a cinema until 2010; which completely changed its inner structure. Jančok said the civic association had not planned to return the building to its original state, but the removal of certain features for the cinema – i.e. facing, lowered ceilings and drywall screens closed the space, and even removed the windows, thus depriving the space of daylight. “We put in new elements necessary for its new function such as exhibition space; and thanks to these interventions, the monumental cupola will re-open at its original height of 17 meters,” Jančok concluded.

Top stories

EU roaming fees to end on June 15 – in theory

Slovak customers still waiting to find out how mobile operators will implement change.

Archaeologist pieces together early history of what is now western Slovakia Photo

For an archaeologist, the most important thing is his most recent rare discovery, says Július Vavák.

Students visited Svätý Jur as part of their European Wanderer project

How to sell Slovak books to English readers

Slovak literature makes it to the big bookstores of London, but it is unlikely to become a bestseller yet.

On Wednesday, Slovak literature will be presented in one of the biggest bookstores in London. Among the new books translated into English is also the anthology of current Slovak prose selected and translated by Magdalena Mullek and Júlia Sherwood.

General Prosecutor filed a motion for the dissolution of ĽSNS

The Slovak Supreme Court received a motion to dissolve the extreme right ĽSNS party founded and led by Marian Kotleba.

Jaromír Čižnár