A Travellerspoint blog

Slovakia

Slovakia Part 2

Route: Stary Smokovec - Kosice - Banska Bystrica – Nitra – Bratislava – Vienna - London

semi-overcast 18 °C

APRIL/MAY 2019

We left the mountains as we had found them, with the sun reflecting off a diminishing snow cover, and headed southeast for our first of two stops, on route to our next destination of Kosice.
That first stop was the town of Levoca and its historical centre. Here 60 historic houses surround a striking main square containing a church and the 16th century Town Hall. Each house has it’s own unique character; as does the Town Hall, add to this the “Cage of Disgrace” (see “Interesting Facts” below for details) and you have an intriguing place to visit.

Levoča

Levoča

Town Hall in Levoča

Town Hall in Levoča

Historic house in Levoča

Historic house in Levoča

Historic house in Levoča

Historic house in Levoča

Next stop was one of Slovakia’s iconic sights, Spis Castle. Sitting high up on a rock outcrop, as they all seem to, this is one of Slovakia’s largest castle complexes. The oldest parts of the castle dates back to the 11th century but was enlarged to it current size in the 15th, although archaeological finds suggest the location was in use as far back as the 4th century BCE. A steep walk up from the car park got us to the main gate, then following the payment of a reasonable entrance fee (Malc is considered a senior in Slovakia, which helps keep the cost down), we were able to explore the whole site. We climbed the tower for the view, wandered around the ruins and looked in on the various reconstructions (15th Century, Bedroom, Kitchen, Bathroom, Armoury and Torture Chamber).

Spis Castle

Spis Castle

View from Spis Castle

View from Spis Castle

Torture chamber of Spis Castle

Torture chamber of Spis Castle

Approach to Spis Castle

Approach to Spis Castle

It was then on to our base for the next four nights, an apartment in the centre of Kosice, Slovakia’s second largest city (about the size of Brighton, England).

The following day dawned with a beautiful blue sky and sunshine, so it seemed like a good time to go for a hike. We had previously identified a hike in the Slovensky Kras National Park, so that’s where we went. The hike first followed a stream up through the Zadielska gorge, before turning steeply up into a forest that lead to the top of the gorge rock face. We now had a great view of the gorge beneath us together with surrounding countryside beyond (we could see into Hungary, which was only a few kilometres to the south). We were now on a plateau of woodland and alpine meadows, which we traversed before steeply descending back to our starting point. Now tired and with aching bodies we both agreed that was a very nice walk. It wasn’t just the amazing scenery that made it so good, it was the fact that for the majority of the time we had the trail to ourselves and the only sounds we could hear were the birds and the gushing stream that ran beside us.

In the Zádielska gorge

In the Zádielska gorge

Zádielska gorge

Zádielska gorge

Zádielska gorge

Zádielska gorge

View from the top of Zádielska gorge

View from the top of Zádielska gorge

Looking down into Zádielska gorge

Looking down into Zádielska gorge

From such a beautiful day the weather took a turn for the worse. The approach to the next two days was travel admin in the apartment whilst it rained and the exploration of Kosice during the dry spells. Fortunately we were only a stones throw from historic town centre, which made it easy to visit when it wasn’t raining. Kosice’s historic centre has its oldest buildings in the middle where the two main streets cross, and has some interesting structures to investigate, such as a singing fountain, a 7 ton bell that’s too heavy for the bell tower and a gothic cathedral with the narrowest stairs you could imagine leading up to a viewing platform. Enough to keep us amused when it was dry.

Plague memorial in Košice

Plague memorial in Košice

The Bell Tower in Košice

The Bell Tower in Košice

Singing fountain in Košice

Singing fountain in Košice

St Elizabeth Gothic Cathedral in Košice

St Elizabeth Gothic Cathedral in Košice

Roof of the St Elizabeth Cathedral in Košice

Roof of the St Elizabeth Cathedral in Košice

Aerial view of Košice

Aerial view of Košice

From Kosice our journey took us west, along the border with Hungary before turning north into the Lower Tatras Mountains and the town of Banska Bystrica. Banska Bystrica sits in the Hron River valley and is encircled by the mountains, providing a nice view from our apartment balcony.

View from our balcony in Banská Bystrica

View from our balcony in Banská Bystrica

We had two full days in Banska Bystrica, one to explore the town and the other the surrounding mountains. With the first day being overcast the exploration of the old town seemed the right choose. A compact and attractive centre, just ten minutes from our apartment, filled the morning. Then retreating back to the apartment as rain arrived in the afternoon.

Town Centre of Banská Bystrica

Town Centre of Banská Bystrica

Banská Bystrica old town

Banská Bystrica old town

Tanks captured from German forces during WW2 in Banská Bystrica

Tanks captured from German forces during WW2 in Banská Bystrica

Museum of the Slovak Uprising in Banská Bystrica

Museum of the Slovak Uprising in Banská Bystrica

The weather on day two was much nicer so we headed up into the mountains. Just out of town the road started to climb up through a thick forest, until we emerged into the delightful little village of Spania Dolina. Spania Dolina in the start for several different hikes and cycle routes in the area, that and because today was a public holiday, the village was busy. Our plan was to explore the forest directly above the village, so it was uphill straight from the start, past the wooden roofed 13th century church and into thick tree cover.

Špania Dolina 13th Century Church accessed by covered stairway

Špania Dolina 13th Century Church accessed by covered stairway

13th Century church in Špania Dolina

13th Century church in Špania Dolina

As this was prime habitat for the Eurasian Brown Bear we noticed a number of cyclist had bear bells on their bikes, so as to avoid any unwanted encounters. Our route took us up to 920m through an enchanting forest, before we turned and descending back to the village.

Špania Dolina village

Špania Dolina village

Before finishing our day’s activities we decided to drive up to the highest village in the area, Donovaly. In the winter Donovaly would be buzzing with skiing activities, but today it was pretty quite. Most of the snow had melted and the summer hiking season was not yet into full flow.

Donovlay ski village

Donovlay ski village

It was now time to move on again, but Banska Bystrica has so much to offer us, we agreed it would be nice to return some day. For the next few days we were constantly on the move, one night stops in hotels but still enjoying the journey.

First of those stops was the town of Nitra, but not before we had called in at Bojnice Castle on route. Although dating back to the 12th century, the castle has been added to, altered and updated over the years, a now looks like a mix of castle and palace. To visit the inside of the castle, you need to join an organised tour, but unfortunately there were no English tour available on that day. So we joined the next available Slovak tour, armed with a booklet in English. This meant that although we couldn’t understand what was being said, except when Anne got told off in English for progressing too fast, we did get to see the castle innards and did have our booklet for a bit of guidance.

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle

Gilded ceiling in Bojnice Castle

Gilded ceiling in Bojnice Castle

One of the many rooms in Bojnice Castle

One of the many rooms in Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle

View from window in Bojnice Castle

View from window in Bojnice Castle

Stain glass window in Bojnice Castle

Stain glass window in Bojnice Castle

After our overnight stop in Nitra we continue north west back to Bratislava airport to drop off the car and then onwards into the city. We arrived mid-afternoon and boarded our accommodation. Boarded, I hear you say; yes we were staying overnight in a Botel. A Botel is a converted riverboat, now serving as a floating hotel moored in Bratislava on the Danube River. Our room was surprisingly spacious and comfortable; shame the view was the riverbank and no open water though.

View from our Botel in Bratislava

View from our Botel in Bratislava

Our Botel

Our Botel

That evening we did our usual and went for a traditional meal in a traditional restaurant. This time it was a small place built into the rock face just below the castle. The food was great, duck for me and rabbit for Anne, washed down with a very nice Slovakian Red and all consumed in a pleasant environment.

Last night meal in traditional Slovak Restaurant Bratislava

Last night meal in traditional Slovak Restaurant Bratislava

On the move again, the next destination was Vienna, Austria. We arrived from Vienna into Bratislava by train, so we thought we would have a change and return by boat. So we booked a seat on the Twin City Liner, a catamaran that travels along the Danube between the two capital cities. This gave us a chance to see the Danube River, together with the life on and around it. The weather wasn’t very good, cloudy with light rain, but the view through the big windows allowed us to see all that passed by.

Bratislava Castle from the Danube River

Bratislava Castle from the Danube River

Devin Castle, boundary between Slovakia and Austria

Devin Castle, boundary between Slovakia and Austria

Passing between Slovakia and Austria on the Danube river

Passing between Slovakia and Austria on the Danube river

Fishing cabin on the river Danube

Fishing cabin on the river Danube

Shipping barge

Shipping barge

Arriving in Vienna by boat from Bratislava

Arriving in Vienna by boat from Bratislava

An hour and a half after leaving Bratislava we were in Vienna and only a short walk to our hotel in the heart of the old town. From an enjoyable boat trip, the day got even better as our hotel upgraded us from a standard room to a suite. And that wasn’t the end of it, on our short city tour in the afternoon we discovered “Merkur”. “Merkur” is an upmarket food store, somewhere between M&S and Harrods, and had some fantastic food on offer. So instead of the planned meal out, we bought meats, cheeses, bread, desserts and chocolate, and dined in our suite instead (which had cutlery and crockery in the room).

Anker Clock in Vienna

Anker Clock in Vienna

Vienna

Vienna

Horse & Carriage waiting at St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna

Horse & Carriage waiting at St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna

Then finally, the following day, in the teeming rain, we made our way to Vienna airport for our return flight to the UK and the start of another adventure.

Personal Observations & Interesting Facts

“Cage of Disgrace”
In Levoca’s historic main square there is a 16th century wrought iron contraptions known as the “Cage of Disgrace”. During that time, women who had committed a minor crime were locked in it and put on public display. Anne went in it for a photograph and was fortunate to be allowed out again.

Cage of Disgrace in Levoča

Cage of Disgrace in Levoča

Danube River
Because the importance of the Danube River to this trip, both capitals visited (Vienna & Bratislava) are on it, we spent a night in a floating hotel on it and our transport between capitals has been on it, we thought a few facts would be useful.
The Danube is Europe’s second longest river (Worlds 30th) after the Volga. Its source is in the German Black Forest town of Donaueschingen. It then travels 2,415km through 10 European countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine) before emptying into the Black Sea. It was also once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire.

On the Danube river

On the Danube river

Shipping on the Danube

Shipping on the Danube

Posted by MAd4travel 03:21 Archived in Slovakia Comments (0)

Slovakia Part 1 (Inc. Vienna)

Route: London – Vienna – Bratislava – Trencianske Teplica – Stary Smokovec

semi-overcast 18 °C

APRIL 2019

Now well on the road to a full recovery, our travels resumed once again. This time we had decided to explore the small eastern European country of Slovakia. However, our most convenient route there required us to travel via Vienna in Austria. This also provided us with an ideal opportunity to check out Austria’s capital city.

Therefore, it was on a wet and cold evening in early April that we arrived in Vienna. Efficient airport administration sped us through arrivals to a taxi that seemed to be waiting for us. In no time we were at our apartment just outside the city centre. Its warmth and comfort were very welcome, which couldn’t be said for the cost of the airport taxi, €55.00.

We had four nights and three days in Vienna, which gave us a reasonable amount of time to see what the city had to offer. Our leisurely first day was spent food shopping and organising our city and onwards travel arrangements, but also allowed us to orientate ourselves with the city.
On day two and three we became real tourists and got out to see the sights. The forecast rain never arrived on either day and we even had a bit of sun at times, but it was still cold. Our transport around the city was either by tram, underground train or on foot, each allowing us to get a different prospective of its people and structures. We find using public transport in a city adds to the enjoyment and affords you a different experience. The heated wooden seat in an old tram was a good example. Anne’s seat was so hot she had to move to a cooler one before the journey was complete. We concentrated our exploration to the old city centre and its immediate surroundings. This area is full of grand buildings, gardens and parks, and we managed to see most of the iconic ones. It is also the liveliest part of the city, which allowed us to observe the people and events all around us.

Entrance to the Underground/Subway/Metro

Entrance to the Underground/Subway/Metro

Hofburg building with horse and carriage outside

Hofburg building with horse and carriage outside

Cupola of the Hofburg Building

Cupola of the Hofburg Building

Old fashion tram in Vienna

Old fashion tram in Vienna

Opera House in Vienna

Opera House in Vienna

Belvedere Palace

Belvedere Palace

Folk dancing in Vienna

Folk dancing in Vienna

Fresh eggs on sale painted for Easter

Fresh eggs on sale painted for Easter

St Stephen's Cathedral

St Stephen's Cathedral

Austrian Band in Vienna

Austrian Band in Vienna

Inside St Stephen's Cathedral

Inside St Stephen's Cathedral

Austrian traditional dress

Austrian traditional dress



The following day a one hour train journey, across flat farm land and past a sea of wind turbines, took us across the border and into a new country, that of Slovakia. For the first few nights we based ourselves in its capital, Bratislava. Our apartment was right on the edge of the old town, which allowed us to do most of our exploring on foot.

Train from Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia

Train from Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia

We had now lost the clouds and the cold, and our first full day in Bratislava was met with bright sunshine and much warmer temperatures. The activity for our first day was to investigate the old town. Compact and attractive, we spent several hours wandering around its narrow streets, cobbled alleyways and spacious plazas.

Mural on the side of our apartment building

Mural on the side of our apartment building

Ornate street lamp

Ornate street lamp

Bratislava Town Hall

Bratislava Town Hall

Cannon ball from the Napoleonic War embedded in the Town Hall wall (left side of the window)

Cannon ball from the Napoleonic War embedded in the Town Hall wall (left side of the window)

Roof of the Town Hall in Bratislava

Roof of the Town Hall in Bratislava

Life size bronze statue in the centre of Bratislava

Life size bronze statue in the centre of Bratislava

Painted shutters in Bratislava

Painted shutters in Bratislava

Michael's Gate

Michael's Gate

One of many ornate doors

One of many ornate doors

Old town backstreet with castle in the background

Old town backstreet with castle in the background

Building with brightly coloured roof

Building with brightly coloured roof


Blue Church in Bratislava

Blue Church in Bratislava

Day two was a visit to Bratislava Castle. Perched forbiddingly on a large rocky hill above the Danube and to the west of the old town, it provides a great view of the city and neighbouring countries. From here, on a clear day, you can see Austria (only 2km away) and Hungary (only 10km away). Unfortunately our day was a bit hazy, so the city was clear enough as was Austria, but we can’t guarantee we saw Hungary. After exploring the grounds and taking in the views, we decided not to go in side and save ourselves €20.00 instead. From there we made our way back to the apartment, pausing momentarily to have a look at Grassalkovich Palace as we passed by.
[Photo’s – Views from the castle (Castle shots below)]
However, the day did provide an unexpected spectacle. Just outside the castle entrance is the building of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (otherwise known as Slovakia’s Parliament), and as luck would have it a session had just ended when we arrived. The action was frantic, diplomats and military personal being quickly ushered into waiting cars while bodyguards scanned the immediate environment for any threats and the media photographed, filmed and broadcasted the whole event. Within seconds the cars were full and the cavalcade sped off with lights flashing and sirens sounding.

Parliament building

Parliament building



So that was Bratislava and it was now time to explore the rest of Slovakia. First stop was the airport to pick up our hire car and then northeast to our next location, the village of Trencianske Teplica. However, our route was not direct as we took a short detour on the way to visit Cachtice Castle, an interesting place and a bit of a pilgrimage for me (Malc) [see below].
Trencianske Teplica would be our base for the next three nights and two full days. On our first day, we took a drive up into the local mountains and to the village of Cicmany. Nestled in an alpine valley with green slopes giving way to thick forest all around, it was a particularly attractive setting. However, the setting wasn’t what made it special that was the buildings. Most of the buildings were made of wood; some constructed without the use of nails, and for 200 years have been decorated with white geometric patterns painted with lime. This was fascinating to behold and quite unique.

Čičmany house

Čičmany house

Detail on a house in Čičmany

Detail on a house in Čičmany

Traditional wooden house in Čičmany

Traditional wooden house in Čičmany

From Cicmany we headed out of the mountains and down into the Vah River valley, our destination was the castle at Beckov. What makes this castle worth a visit was not necessarily it history, but its location. This ruined 12th century castle sits on top of a 70-metre high rock outcrop, with magnificent views across the river valley. It provided quite a spectacle from both below and atop of its rampart.

Beckov Castle

Beckov Castle

Beckov Castle

Beckov Castle

Our second day was spent exploring the town of Trencianske Teplica and its surrounding area. We started with a lung busting steep climb up into the northern mountain forest, which only seemed worth it when we arrived at a clearing with magnificent views down into the valley below.

Forest above Trenčianske Teplice

Forest above Trenčianske Teplice

View of Trenčianske Teplice

View of Trenčianske Teplice

Our route continued up through the forest, now not so steep, until we arrived at a 520m plateau. This would be our highest point as our route now started to descend back towards the valley, gentle at first then as steep as the start. Finally we reached the valley floor and it was flat all the way back to Trencianske Teplica, where a refreshing ice cream was waiting for us.

From Trencianske Teplica our journey took us some 250km northeast and up into the High Tatra Mountains, our location and base for five nights was the town of Stary Smokovec. As usual, and to make the most of our time in Slovakia, we stopped on route. This time it was the tiny mountain village of Vlkolinec. At an altitude of just over 700meters and surrounded by alpine meadows, the setting was beautiful. But this isn’t the main attraction of Vlkolinec that is its preservation (see below for more details).

Vlkolínec

Vlkolínec

A beautiful blue sky and sunshine greeted us on our first day in the mountains, so it was a good opportunity to venture higher up. From the town of Tatranska Lomnica, just down the road from our apartment, we took a couple of cable cars up into the higher reaches of the mountains, a place called Skalnate Pleso at 1,751m. Up here it was much cooler, but the air was fresh and the views amazing. At this time of the year and even at this altitude there wasn’t much snow left on the ground, so restricting the area to only one operating ski run. From the cable station we managed to find a snow free route and hiked up a further couple of hundred meters to a nice viewpoint. Anne also found another hiking route along a snow ledge, but I didn’t fancy it, so we gave that one a miss.

View of the High Tatras from Tatranská Lomnica (850m)

View of the High Tatras from Tatranská Lomnica (850m)

Observatory at Skalnaté Pleso and view over the valley

Observatory at Skalnaté Pleso and view over the valley

Glacier lake at Skalnaté Pleso (1751m)

Glacier lake at Skalnaté Pleso (1751m)

Snow train from Skalnaté Pleso

Snow train from Skalnaté Pleso


View of Lomnický štít (2634m)

View of Lomnický štít (2634m)

Red cable car on its way to Lomnický štít

Red cable car on its way to Lomnický štít

The following day couldn’t have been more different. Dark clouds turned into rain, then sleet with a bit of snow thrown in for good measure, and it was much colder. That meant it was a day of travel admin for us, at least until mid-afternoon when there was a marked improvement in the weather. As we had lost most of the day we decided to keep our activities local. So we took a short walk from our apartment to the funicular, which in turn transported us up to a hill station, where a number of hiking trail begin. We felt in good company on our funicular ride, as Queen Elizabeth II had ridden that same carriage in 2008.
Once at the top we found that most of the trails had received a light covering of snow from this morning, so we chose the one that looked least slippery. The trail wound around the mountain and took us into a canyon, which had been made even more beautiful by the fresh covering of snow.

Funicular at Stary Smokovec

Funicular at Stary Smokovec

High Tatras

High Tatras

Snow trail

Snow trail

transporting beddings from Refuge in the High Tatras Mountain

transporting beddings from Refuge in the High Tatras Mountain

Mountain Peaks shrouded in clouds

Mountain Peaks shrouded in clouds

Day three dawned with such thick fog; we couldn’t see the mountains above us or the valley below. However, after a leisurely start to the day the fog began to clear and we headed out to explore the far north of the country. Our destination was the Dunajec Gorge, on the Dunajec River, which acts as the border between Slovakia and Poland. A scenic drive through the Pieniny National Park was then followed by a hike along the river and into the gorge. Fortunately the sun was now shining and it was much warmer, making a very pleasant day. At this point the river wasn’t very wide so you were constantly looking over into Poland, which seemed surreal somehow.

Rafting down the Dunajec River, border between Slovakia and Poland

Rafting down the Dunajec River, border between Slovakia and Poland

Dunajec River Gorge

Dunajec River Gorge

Dunajec River Gorge

Dunajec River Gorge

Polish farm house on the opposite side of the river viewed from Slovakia

Polish farm house on the opposite side of the river viewed from Slovakia

For our last day in the mountains we had planned to give our legs a rest and just do some travel admin in the apartment. This turned out to be a good idea, as it rained for most of the day.

Personal Observations & Interesting Facts

Slovakia
Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic border it. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mostly mountainous. Its capital is Bratislava and the country has a population of 5.5 million.
Present day Slovakia had many occupiers and rulers between the 5th and 9th century, but then spent the next 1000 years as part of the Kingdom of Hungary. This remained the case until after WW1 when the Austro-Hungarian empire was dissolved and the Slovak republic joined its Czech neighbours to the northwest to form Czechoslovakia. This lasted until 1948, when a coup incorporated the country into the communist Soviet Union. This situation continued until 1989, when the “Velvet Revolution” removed Czechoslovakia from communist rule. Then on the 1st January 1993, in the ”Velvet Divorce”, a peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia created the two independent countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia (official name being the Slovak Republic). Today, Slovakia is a seasoned member of both the EU and NATO.
Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy high with a very high Human Development Index a high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, Internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. The country maintains a combination of a market economy with a comprehensive social security system. Citizens of Slovakia are provided with universal heath care, free education and one of the longest paid parental leaves in the OECD.
Slovakia is ranked as the 38th richest country in the world and its service sector, car manufacturing and electrical engineering industries mainly generate its GDP.

Language
The official language of Slovakia is Slovak, but fortunately for us English is also spoken in the larger towns and tourist areas, but then still only by the younger generation. Therefore when we were in the smaller towns and rural areas it all got a bit more difficult. The written script was also a bit of a challenge for us, full of consonants and accents, it made it hard for to guess the meaning.

Information board in Čičmany as an example of the Slovak language

Information board in Čičmany as an example of the Slovak language

Bratislava Castle
The site of Bratislava Castle first became a stronghold to monitor trade in the 9th century. It was here that the ancient “Amber Trade Route” crossed the Danube. It was fortified in the 11th and 12th centuries, before being rebuilt in a gothic style during the 15th century. The following centuries saw much remodelling before it burnt down in 1811 and only restored in the 1950’s. Today it houses exhibitions of Slovak and Bratislava history and culture.

Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle

View of old Bratislava from Castle gardens

View of old Bratislava from Castle gardens


View of old Bratislava and the Danube River

View of old Bratislava and the Danube River

Cachtice Castle
Cachtice Castle stands 375m high up on a rocky hill, offering a striking view of the surrounding landscape. The Small Carpathian Mountains and the Myjava Plateau can both be seen from here. The castle was constructed in the 13th century as part of a defence system for the western border of the Hungarian Kingdom. Over the following centuries the most famous person associated with Cachtice was the “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, wife of the district chief and Hungarian army captain, Ferenc Nadasdy. Between 1585 and 1610, Bathory was responsible for the murder of over 600 young girls from the local area. It was said that she lured them to the castle, and other properties in the area, with the promise of work, and then killed them for their blood. She would then bathe in the collected blood to try and maintain her youth. Her punishment for this crime was to be imprisoned in the castle for the rest of her life. By the early 18th century the castle no longer served a purpose and fell into ruin, and was only rescued in the 20th century. So what about this pilgrimage mentioned above, I hear you ask. Well, for those familiar with heavy metal music, and I expect that is most of you, the infamous acts of Elizabeth Bathory are the theme for a Cradle of Filth album “Cruelty and the Beast” (check out the album cover). So as I am a big metal fan and consider Cradle of Filth one of my favourite bands, a visit here was a must.

Čachtice Castle entrance

Čachtice Castle entrance

Inside Čachtice Castle

Inside Čachtice Castle

View from Čachtice Castle

View from Čachtice Castle

Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory

Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory

Coat of Arms of the Blood Countess E. Bathory

Coat of Arms of the Blood Countess E. Bathory

Vlkolínec
The village is the best-preserved example of folk architecture in Slovakia. Thanks to its unique original wooden buildings, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.
Legend says that the name Vlkolínec is taken from the presence of wolves in this area, as the Slovak word ‘vlk’ means wolf. Other sources cite the village being named after the ditches that were discovered here, called ‘vlčia jama.’ These were camouflaged holes dug into the ground with stakes at the bottom and used in the past mostly to catch wild game, or as a form of defense against unwanted visitors. The residents of this exceptionally scenic village lived off the land through agriculture, sheep farming, and woodcutting. They also applied their woodcutting skills in the construction of their homes, many of which have been preserved in their original state to the present day. This small village appears to have resisted the passage of time and change, as more than 40 preserved idyllic wooden homes can be seen. These charming log houses are set on stone foundations with clay- covered walls and shingled roofs. It also has several distinctive monuments, like the two-story wooden belfry built in 1770 on rock foundations, the rare wooden log well from the 1860’s and the small brook running over wooden gutters down through the village center. At present, around twenty people live in this unique village, respecting and reviving the traditions of their ancestors.

Vlkolínec

Vlkolínec

Traditional sledge at Vlkolínec

Traditional sledge at Vlkolínec

Vlkolínec church tower

Vlkolínec church tower

Posted by MAd4travel 02:49 Archived in Slovakia Comments (0)

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