The Heydukova Street Synagogue is the only remaining synagogue in Bratislava. Located close to the historic town center, it was constructed at a time when Bratislava Jews no longer had to reside exclusively in the area of former Judengasse but lived spread out in other parts of the city. The number of Jewish residents in Bratislava reached 10,973 in 1921, and it was at this time that the Orthodox community decided to build a new synagogue. They commissioned the Bratislava-based Jewish architect Artur Szalatnai to design it in 1923, and the building was completed in 1926.
From the street, the synagogue exterior appears as a seven-pillared colonnade, hiding the actual building behind it. Entrance is from a narrow courtyard, accessed from the street via a passage in the westernmost bay of the façade. The central hall of the interior is a large sanctuary with a modern steel-concrete construction combined with historicist elements, such as the arcade of the women’s gallery, a metallic bimah, and the ark. These were supplemented with contemporary Cubist details – typical for the Bratislava architecture in the 1920s.
The synagogue complex combines traditional religious requirements, such as separation of genders and placement of the bimah in the center, with the needs of an urban congregational life. Modern facilities, cloak-rooms, toilets, and an array of additional rooms for study and social gatherings cluster along the western side of the building. The synagogue is owned by the Bratislava Jewish Community and still serves its original purpose.
Artur Szalatnai-Slatinsky (1891-1961) was one of the most important interwar Slovak architects. A graduate of the Technical University in Budapest, he settled in Bratislava in 1919. Szalatnai’s work was closely connected with Bratislava for more than 40 years. His first buildings were designed in the spirit of historicism, but he also experimented with the cubism of the early 1920s.
His most important design from this period is this synagogue, the synagogue on Heydukova Street, which he built in 1923-1926 for the Bratislava Orthodox Jewish community. Szalatnai was a pioneer of modern architecture in Slovakia, carrying out extensive work in Bratislava, Piestany, Trencianske Teplice, Komarno and elsewhere. He was popular among the Jewish middle class, becoming a sought-after specialist for villas and residential houses, sanatoria and spa complexes. Szatalnai contributed to the Bratislava architectural journals Forum and Slovensky stavitel as well as to foreign publications. He was particularly interested in the urbanism of Slovak towns and also collected material on folk architecture.
Szalatnai survived the Holocaust. As an architect he was exempted from the 1942 deportations; he spent the last months of the war in hiding in Bratislava. He changed his family name to Slatinsky after the liberation. One of his post-war works was a Holocaust memorial erected in front of a synagogue in Trnava. The architect is buried in the Neolog Jewish cemetery in Bratislava.
Heydukova 11-13, Bratislava
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Sunday 10:00 - 16:00
May 21 - October 8
except Jewish holidays
Jewish Community Museum
Kozia 18, 814 47 Bratislava