Weekend: Run-down synagogue near Bratislava

A film, book, and events and places to go to and enjoy on your days off.

Another synagogue will become a cultural hub

Following a number of failed renovation attempts, a run-down synagogue in Svätý Jur, a wine-making town outside Bratislava, is close to serving as another cultural centre in Slovakia.

The Bratislava Region has purchased the national cultural monument built in 1791 and plans to transform it into a place for events. One part of the building should recount the story of the well-known rabbi Chatam Sofer. He lived in the town. His memorial can be found in Bratislava.

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The Svätý Jur synagogue was founded in an older manor house known as “Edlhof”, and the Jewish community used it as a house of worship until 1942. The synagogue was surrounded with ritual baths, flats, and a prayer room.

The region also bought a synagogue in Senec, near Bratislava, in the past. The Senec synagogue will officially open in the autumn.


  • Try one of the trails around Morské Oko, one of the largest natural lakes in Slovakia.
  • A trailpark has opened near Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
  • A former forest narrow-gauge railway has been transformed into a cycle path in Prešov.
  • A reconstructed blue majolica plate, Venetian berettino, is on display at Strečno Castle, northern Slovakia.


Parent leaves their baby outside a café

By reading “Secrets of the Sprakkar”, a debut book by Canadian-Icelandic writer Eliza Reid, who also happens to be Iceland’s First Lady, readers will realise why Iceland is a trailblazing country when it comes to gender equality.

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“It’s not enough to say we want to have gender equality,” Reid pointed out during Authors’ Reading Month, a Bratislava event held in July.

She walks readers through history related to Iceland’s fight for gender equality, different laws, and communal parenting (parents often leave their babies in a pushchair outside a café or a block of flats and there is always someone who notifies them if their babies are crying). Reid uses interviews with 40 outstanding women of Iceland and her observations to deliver her message.

“Iceland doesn’t have a patent on outstanding women,” she told The Slovak Spectator in an interview.

The author also shares her story of being an immigrant and recommends many places that visitors to the island should see.


  • Liptov: Sheep shearers will meet at a dairy in Liptovská Lužná on Saturday, July 30, to try to break Marek Marko’s record. He sheared a sheep in 58 s.
  • Tatras: On Saturday, July 23, Venice Night will take place at Štrbské Pleso lake in the Tatras. Visitors can meet people in Baroque costumes, listen to music, try any of 22 boats, and taste Italian food. The event is free.
  • Bratislava: Another Rainbow Pride, an annual celebration of LGBT+ community, will take place on Saturday, July 23.
  • Banská Bystrica: The European Youth Olympic Festival will kick off on Sunday, July 24.
  • Bratislava: Bratislava Coronation Days, organised by the city, will take place next weekend, from July 29 to 31.


Hanák’s banned documentary was made 50 years ago

In 1972, Dušan Hanák created “Pictures of the Old World”, a documentary that he wrote and directed. The stories of old, lonely and poor people, who were not actors at all and lived in the countryside of northern Slovakia under communism, were recounted through Slovak photographer Martin Martinček’s black-and-white pictures, film shots and interviews.

“These are the stories of people who have been themselves,” the film claims right at the start about the people living on the edge of society.

The communist regime did not like the film and prohibited it.

HBO: The channel stopped the production of a TV show about former Slovak PM Mikuláš Dzurinda.

Thriller: US actor Adam Brody, who is known for his appearance on the O.C., is alleged to have recently shot a film in a Slovak national park.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend! - Peter

Do you have any tips? You can reach Peter at peter.dlhopolec@spectator.sk

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