Malacky: Where the Pálffy flair is unmistakable

The Holy Stairs and a Renaissance manor house await visitors of Malacky.

MalackyMalacky (Source: Nadia Barber)

This article was prepared for an edition of the Spectacular Slovakia travel guideand was published in the travel guide Slovakia.

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The Pálffy family, whose architectural legacy stretches from Slovakia to Austria, had a significant influence on the town of Malacky. A dynasty renowned for impressive castles and gothic restoration, hallmarks of the Pálffy flair can be found in the Franciscan church and monastery located on the town’s central square.

The current church is attached to a monastery now serving as an elementary school and library and being rebuilt from a fortified manor house by Pál Pálffy IV in the 17th century. Previously nicknamed the Black Monastery, the church conceals a marble-trimmed crypt with coffins of two Pálffy members. Legend has it that while the bodies of Pál Pálffy IV and his son, János III, are buried in Bratislava, their hearts are kept in the church complex and bleed whenever the country is under siege.

Above ground, the rich mahogany furnishings and large frescoes high on the church’s walls are characteristic of Pálffy grandeur, but the jewel of the building is the great baroque altar piece, which stretches from floor to ceiling.

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