Trade Union House

Antona Bernoláka No. 51

After 1955 construction began on the Hliny complex on undeveloped land between the hospital, town market and residential area known as Little Prague. Previously there had only been fields, marshes and clay pits which were mined for the brickworks. The plans for Žilina’s first housing estate, consisting of eight smaller separate sections, Hliny I – VIII, were developed by Žilina architect Ferdinand Čapek, who also produced the winning design for construction of the Regional Trade Union House. Work on that was carried out between 1958 and 1963. Stained glass by Fero Kráľ and artwork by Rudolf Uher’s were used in the interior.

Trade Union House, built on former Ľudovít Štúr Square, previously Lenin Square and before that Regional Trade Union Council Square, has become the centre of cultural and social life of Žilina. It contains a vaudeville hall and a large hall used as a cinema, a small stage, and several rooms for exhibitions, conferences, lectures and social activities. In addition, there is a snack bar and cafeteria. The District Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia was located in part of this building for many years until it moved to a new purpose-built building. The Municipal National Committee was based here until private ownership was abolished and the Committee moved to the building it still occupies. Trade Union House had seating for 1,350 and in the ten years of its remit, that is, from 1963 to 1973, there were 77,351 events and 4,179,454 visitors. More than 6.2 million people attended events over that time.

Over forty years the figures had increased at least fourfold. That is only an estimate, however, since they will never be counted. Trade Union House began operating in 1963 and theatre and operetta were also performed on the Great Stage, especially by actors from Martin and Bratislava. Famous singers gave concert performances in the vaudeville hall. A Cinema Club was founded screening films for the discerning viewer. The vaudeville was used for regular five o’clock Rendezvous for young people and Saturday evenings were reserved for the dance programme “We dance till two in the morning”. Proms, graduations, and performances by well-known Czech and Slovak singers were held there. The big stage was home to performances by popular actors and entertainers. Performances by Radošina Naive Theatre were frequent and always sold out. Cultural life of Žilina was a regular monthly publication, covering all the exciting events held at Trade Union House. Various meetings, workshops, children’s events, exhibitions took place there. It became well known far and wide and not only the residents of Žilina visited regularly, but people also came from the near-by countryside and small towns.

For kids there were musical instrument classes, language courses, dance courses and “Transport” exhibitions organised by the Gama Club as well as meetings with interesting people, discussions, retired teachers’ clubs and a club for apprentices and students. For many years, ODBORÁRIK, a children's choir was based here. It gave performances not only in Slovakia but also abroad and gained recognition everywhere, winning many international competitions. ODBORÁRIK and its conductor Zlatoň Babík made Žilina famous throughout Europe. At Trade Union House there were also international dance competitions and environmental films were screened. From 1987 onwards the Slovak jazz festival was held here regularly, with both local and foreign singers and musicians performing. There was so much going on at Trade Union House that it would more than fill a book. In 2012 extensive renovations were completed on the building designed by Ing. arch. Ľubomir Kružel.

Source: Mgr. Jozef Moravčík

It can be visited
during the open hours Trade Union House (Dom odborov Žilina).

Position of the monument on the map: B5

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