Žilina limited a Jewish presence for centuries. Although the Jews could sell their goods at local market, they were prohibited from staying overnight within the city walls. Only during the 19th century began permanent Jewish settlement. The community constructed the synagogue, which was replaced in 1880 by another synagogue building serving its purpose until the late 1920s, when the modern synagogue was commissioned. The community conducted an international competition which attracted important architects of the time, including Josef Hoffmann from Vienna and Lipót Baumhorn from Budapest. Ultimately, the winner was Peter Behrens and thus this synagogue became an important work of European modern architecture in Slovakia. The synagogue is a domed structure, reflecting conventional notions of exotic monumentality reserved for Jewish ritual buildings. Nevertheless, the overall appearance of the synagogue is modern. The artistic concept horizontally divides the mass of the building into two contrasting materials. The base is made of rough square stone, while the upper plastered part is pierced by an array of narrow windows making the otherwise massive block lighter. The sanctuary was formerly a large and spacious hall, with the women’s galleries running along its sides. Today is this space fully altered and serves as a cinema hall.