Folktales, Legends, and Stories
The Undiscovered Slovakia
An article written by
Richard C. Lewis for the Associated Press was recently featured in the June 18,
2006 issue of the Wilkes-Barre Sunday Citizens Voice newspaper.
Mr. Lewis returned to Slovakia after several years and told of the many
wonderful sites in the country. He says, “For most Americans, Slovakia and its
capital city, Bratislava, are still seen as secondary stops in the express train
between Prague and Budapest or other better-known eastern European
He goes on to say, that
Bratislava is charming, vibrant and will especially appeal to tourists, who
enjoy mixing with the locals. He describes the “Old Town district with its
cobblestone squares, narrow, labyrinthine streets and a castle offering sweeping
views of the city and the Danube River.” Hlavne Namestie, the city’s main
square is Bratislava’s renaissance. Hviezdoslavovo Namestie is a long,
mall-like boulevard that is a stroller’s dream passing the Slovak National
Theater building and a small square. People are rushing to and fro; others are
walking leisurely pass fountains, a gazebo and many restaurants featuring
bryndzove halusky and slivovica. A walk to St. Martin’s Cathedral reminds one
that the cathedral was used by the Hungarians for crowning many of their
royalty, including the Empress Maria Theresa.
(Did you know that the
Castle in Bratislava was her summer home?
She had a large stone staircase built in the castle so that she could
ride her horse up to the top floor. Oh to be rich and in charge.)
Mr. Lewis also talks about the Spiš castle in Eastern Slovakia, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is one of the largest castles in Central Europe and is open to visitors. The panoramic view of the countryside with the Tatra Mountains in the distance is worth the steep climb to the castle ruins. In the nearby village of Spišský štvrotok, the lords of the castle of the Zápoľský family built a gothic chapel in 1473, which is one of the finest gothic churches in Slovakia. He mentions Levoča, where the renowned woodcarver Majster Pavol carved intricate structures and the main altar in St. James Church.
I recommend reading his
article. It makes me long to visit Slovakia. I hope it encourages you to take a
trip to the country of our forefathers.