Nearest urban centre: Pezinok (29 km)
Malacky is a small town 30km north-west of Bratislava. In a chapel adjoining the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in Malacky there is a precise copy of the so-called Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) that Christ ascended to the Pretorium of Pilate in the gospel.
The original stairs sanctified by Jesus's footsteps were moved from Jerusalem to the Italian capital in the first century, and while their Slovak equivalent do not purport to be anything but a copy, dating from 1653, pilgrims obey the same custom of ascending only on their knees to an altar at the top, returning via a neighbouring staircase.
Even for the secular visitor, the twin staircases are an impressive and unique sight, and the church itself, darkened by rich wooden adornments, is also not without its charms. The main wooden altar, carved in the early 18th century by the Italian master Sagen, is the principal attraction, as well as a Baroque organ from 1741 and an epitaph to Mikuláš (Miklós) Pálffy, owner of the nearby Červený Kameň Castle.
Elsewhere in the town, an oriental-style former synagogue, dating from 1886, is also worth a quick glimpse. It served the town's Jewish population at the turn of the 19th and 20th century – although, typically, no longer retains its original purpose. These days, it houses an art and music school beneath its twin onion-domed towers.