The building of the former branch of the Austro-Hungarian bank was constructed in 1912 in a Neoclassicist style on the street then known as Barošova street (Baross utca). After 1919 it became Hurbanova street no. 27 and is now Legionárska street no. 1 (Švermova street until 1992). One of Hungary’s most important architects, a native of Bratislava working in Budapest, Jozef Hubert (1846-1916) designed the building. As well as many other important buildings, he also designed the castle in Bojnice and part of the castle in Smolenice. After the First World War, the building belonged to a branch of the Czechoslovak National Bank. From 1936 to 1937, the latter extended the building by adding an extra storey comprised of flats. The building had been renovated before, in 1936, and a second safe added in the basement. The original safe was located on the first floor, on the left-hand side looking from the street. From September 20th to October 6th 1938, the crown jewels of the kings of Bohemia were hidden in the bank’s safes from agents of the German Reich.
After the Second World War, the building housed a branch of the Czechoslovak State Bank, followed by a branch of the Trade Bank, úč. Spol and the Czechoslovak Trade Bank, a.s.
As a matter of interest, we should mention that in the course of the last six hundred years, the Bohemian crown jewels might have left Prague castle several times, but only once did they come to Slovakia; this was due to the threat of Prague being bombed during the Sudetenland conflict. President Beneš gave orders for the jewels to be taken away. It was apparently his last presidential order. Saint Wenceslas’ crown, sceptre, apple, cross, mantle and sword were taken from Prague on September 19th 1938 in two cars. The jewels arrived in Žilina the following day, where they were handed over to František Koupil, head of the branch of the Czechoslovak National Bank in Žilina. The jewels were then hidden in the safe of the Veľká Fatra hotel in Rajecké Teplice, where they were taken by Jozef Kyner of Žilina who owned a garage on Hollého street and also had a transport company. Only the president’s office and the bank’s top management knew about this strictly secret mission, and so most Czechs and Slovaks have no idea even today that the Czech national treasure ever left Prague castle.
After the renovation during the years 2015 - 2017, the building serves as a modern office and coworking center in the present.
Source: Mgr. Jozef Moravčík, Mgr. Peter Štanský
More information about the renovation of the Austro-Hungarian Bank you can find on archinfo.sk.
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: B4