by Michal Sliacky
Slovakia may be rightly proud of its rich cultural traditions and folklore, which is very expressive and interesting. Slovak folk culture represents the way of life of peasants, shepherds and craftsmen from the past and is linked to various life and calendar periods.
OPEN-AIR MUSEUMS AND FOLK ARCHITECTURE
Those interested in learning about Slovak material folk culture and folk architecture should not miss visiting one of the protected monument reserves of folk architecture and open-air museums, which offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the historical and cultural heritage of Slovak rural areas, preserved until today. The authenticity of this type of tourist attraction is enhanced by the fact that it is represented by villages which are still inhabited.
• Vlkolínec, Žilina Region,
• Open Air Mining Museum, Banská Štiavnica, Banská Bystrica Region,
• Čičmany, Žilina Region,
• Open-air Museum of Liptov Village in Pribylina, Žilina Region,
• Orava Village Museum , Zuberec, Žilina Region,
and many others.
One can also enjoy period events in open-air museums such as demonstrations of folk crafts and folk literature-folklore. The open-air museum allows visitor to ‘travel in time – into the past’ and get acquainted with the bygone lifestyles of the rural population in various regions of Slovakia.
Traditional Slovak crafts include: sheep rearing in mountain sheep farms, viticulture, pottery, woodcarving, tinkery, beekeeping and lace making.
SONGS, MUSIC, DANCE AND TRADITIONS …..
An important part of Slovak folk culture is its folk literature and folklore. Songs, music and dance, traditions and legends are handed down from generation to generation. They may be admired at regular events such as folk festivals, where performers perform in costumes, sing songs, dance and play musical instruments. Folk festivals are connected with fairs, where the traditional products of Slovak craftsmen are sold. In the past, each region in Slovakia had had its typical costume, dialect and folk customs.
Thematic routes offer visitors an extraordinary experience connected with a deeper knowledge of the region. They represent an ideal combination of a number of interesting tourist attractions of the region associated with traditional crafts, cultural or natural monuments.
Wine routes belong to the most popular thematic routes. Viticulture in Slovakia has a longstanding tradition, which is connected with certain regions of Slovakia. Wine routes are connected with these vineyard areas. Timing is best when the wine routes are coupled with traditional vintage celebrations.
THE MOST FAMOUS WINE ROUTES INCLUDE:
OTHER INTERESTING THEMATIC ROUTES IN SLOVAKIA INCLUDE:
• Gothic Route (Prešov Region) – a sightseeing route connecting regions of Spiš and Gemer (going beyond the borders of Poland and Hungary) which acquaints tourists with the most precious cultural and historical sights of the region dating from the Gothic period.
• Castle Route (Bratislava Region, Trnava Region, Trenčín Region, Žilina Region) – a 750 kilometre-long thematic route linking the regions from Bratislava to Žilina which enables visitors to visit castles, mansions, museums, sacral monuments and municipal monument reserves of these regions, which are unusually rich in monuments.
• Amber Route (Banská Bystrica Region) – a thematic route which traces an important trade arterial road linking the north (the Polish city of Krakow) with the south (Budapest in Hungary), offering many attractions including natural monuments (three national parks), municipal monument reserves and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Sacral Monuments in the Nitra Region (Nitra Region) – a thematic route focused on the most important sacral monuments of Nitra region dating from the Great Moravian era until the present.
• In the Footsteps of Miller’s Trade (Nitra Region) – a thematic route focused on the age-old traditional Slovak craft of milling; the mill, as a place where otherwise uncontrollable natural power of wind or water used for milling flour is contained, was a mysterious or even mystical place in medieval culture, and there are many mysterious legends about ghostly mills and stories associated with millers and mills.