‘UNESCO village has incredible views of The Tatras’

November 8, 2019

CAPTIVATING SCENE: I am walking through the village of Vlkolinec and in the background is the protected landscape area referred to as Great Fatra. This village was given UNESCO status in 1993. Picture by Lenka Daisy.

MAKING FRIENDS: Although bears live in the wild up hear in this part of Slovakia, I only get to meet this wooden cousin of theirs. I did hear stories of some locals getting chased by bears. Picture by Lenka Daisy.

 

ON MY DOORSTEP: “The village has the population of 20 people. The oldest one is 93 years old and the youngest one is only 8 months. The village is very peaceful, with an incredible view of surrounding mountains of Low Tatras, Great Fatra and West Tatras. This secluded place is near the town of Ruzomberok, about 50km from my hometown Nizna, in Orava” – Lenka Daisy.

HOLY GROUND: On the eastern edge of Vlkolinec is the baroque classical Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, which was built in 1875.

 

 

WORLD heritage sites came in all shapes, sizes and cultural diversity when visiting them in different places across Europe.

In our last joint article, Lenka Daisy and myself were showing what Krakow has to offer but now our attention is focused to her home country of Slovakia and the UNESCO village of Vlkolinec which involves a drive up into the hills with some fantastic views.

Many reading this won’t know what the acronym of UNESCO stands for, but I briefly extrapolated it in the last post we did. It is the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization and it seeks to build co-operation between education, the sciences and culture. UNESCO’s programmes contribute to the achievement of sustainable agenda goals defined in Agenda 2030, as adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

Vlkolinec is situated below Sirdorov Mountain and is part of the West Carpathians (Mountains). It is in a protected landscape area called Greater Fatra stretching over an area of 797 hectares. This village attained its UNESCO status in 1993.

‘Village thrived for two centuries’

In its day it was – and still is through its status – an example of an settlement of wooden architecture that is found in the foothills of the northern part of central Slovakia. Local historians say there is no precise data to its origin.

However the earliest recorded reference is in 1461 and in the early part of the 16th Century there were four farmers’ homesteads. The village enjoyed a renaissance period between from the second part of the 18th Century to the second part of the 20th Century.

It has the traditional features of a central European village and consists of 45 log houses made up of two or three rooms. A wooden belfry from the 18th Century and a baroque chapel have also been preserved. Houses 16 and 17 were turned into a folk museum with all the instruments of daily life and work.

The houses appear to be arranged in a line. According to a local translation for the village, the entrance is formed by a porch situated in the centre of the house and the rear part serves as a kitchen.

‘Village has great views of the mountains’

Lenka made her own observations on our visit at the end of October: “lkolinec: a UNESCO village in Slovakia where you can see traditional old houses like the one behind me.

“The village has the population of 20 people. The oldest one is 93 years old and the youngest one is only 8 months. The village is very peaceful, with an incredible view of surrounding mountains of Low Tatras, Great Fatra and West Tatras. This secluded place is near the town of Ruzomberok, about 50km from my hometown Nizna, in Orava.

‘Natural resources have shaped the village’

The village was designed for a farming community. It is surrounded by forests, meadows and small fields and literally is a sustainable model for both wildlife conservation and food production, and uses natural resources such as the wood for residential homes and business premises. Stone was used for building granaries and pantries.

The land was and is still suitable for both grazing and arable production, and in this part of Slovakia sheep’s cheese is very popular. The local wood supplied the building industry with their raw materials and probably still does to this day.

Although it is not a carbon copy of Vlkolinec, it reminds of the Dorset village of Milton Abbas that is known for its houses having thatched roofs on both sides of the road. It is also the home to a well known public school and annual street fair.

‘Memories of Holašovice, come flooding back’

On a previous visit to South Bohemia, which one of the readers of this post will recall me visiting with her was Holašovice, which has 18 and 19th Century vernacular buildings in a style known as “South Bohemian folk baroque” and it preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages. Later that day we were watching a comedy movie at my host’s home and the set used was at Holašovice.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason November 9, 2019 at 6:17 am

Very well written piece and I hope someday to visit slovakia

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Gardener1Year November 9, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Anything linked to the UN are dodgy.

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