Museum of the Slovak Village - a must!

Martin Travel Blog

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Wow, the sun is up early here! I am very close to some loud church bells. I finally got up and looked at the early morning light at about 04:50 and then put on my eye mask and went back to bed. It had finally cooled off so, I was able to pull the covers over my head….always helps me sleep.

A couple of hours later, I readied myself and went down to see what I might have for breakfast. This is always a stressful thing for me, being a vegetarian. I had warned the girl checking me in but, she assured me that there would be options.

I ordered some scrambled eggs and a glass of milk. There was bread with butter and jelly on the table. There were other choices such as a cheese plate, and omlette, or even corn flakes. The eggs were a bit runny for me and I’m not a big fan of onion but, it was breakfast and I ate it!

I headed north to Martin, about an hour away.

It is home to the Museum of the Slovak Village. It’s the largest ethnographic open air museum in Slovakia. It has houses from many regions laid out over 15.5 hectares of land. It has 129 housing, farming, religious, social, and technical structures from the regions of Orava, Turiec, Kysuce - Podjavorniky, and Liptov. They represent the variety of form in the traditional building culture and in the economic-social stratification of society in the Slovak Northwest.

Some of the structures have furnished interiors and are open to visitors.

You park at an unsigned lot (you guess as the road has ended) and then walk on a path though a forest for about 750 meters. If there hadn’t been other people, I would have thought that I was in the wrong place. The guide at the visitor’s center gave me a book with English translations for all of the information on the park and it’s buildings.

It was very helpful. I photographed every page as they didn’t offer a brochure with the information in English. She did also mention that in an hour there would be a guided tour through some of the buildings that are only viewable with a guide, like the church.

Some of the “not to be missed”:

- Land owner’s homestead from Vysnj Kubin from 1748 (Orava).

- The wooden Roman Catholic church from Rudno from 1792 (Tuniec). It was built on the site of an earlier Gothic church form 1422. It even had a spectacular sculpture and painted interior. The Baroque altar dates from 1707.

- The wooden house with board paintings from Slovenske Pravno from 1792.

- The Roma museum - a newer addition which is housed in the squire’s manor from Blazovce.

The museum chronicles their journey to Europe and historical events in the Roma community. I learned that it is thought that the Roma originated in India and set off for Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries.

- The bell tower with a tent and onion domed roof. It was built for a town that had no church of it’s own. The lower section was used for storage of tools used during funerals.

- Bell tower from Trstene (Liptov) early 17th century. It’s construction is of a complex pyramid shape. The spread of bell towers into villages was at the issuance of the fire protection patent of Maria Teresia in 1751. Life was lived by the bell tower. It was used to mark; the work day, the hours of the day, church service, opening of marketplace, and alarms. The bells were used for announcing birth, weddings, and death.

The museum was very interesting in that it offers a glimpse into the life of Slovaks of hundreds of years ago, how they lived, worked, and socialized.

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photo by: AleksandraEa