Slovakia – a surprising country
Slovakia is not your usual tourist destination. It is a small mountainous central European country with the population of Wales (about 5m.) It used to be part of Czechoslovakia but has been independent since 1993.
This is an entirely landlocked country. Slovakia is bordered by Poland to the north and Ukraine to the east. Hungary is to the south, Austria to the west, and the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia uses the Euro. The national language is Slovak.
This land covered in fairy-tale forests, has plenty for the intrepid traveler to explore. With more castles per head of population here than anywhere else in the world, Slovakia also has stunning countryside. There are mountains and vineyards and hundreds of caves. Slovakia has hot springs and fascinating folk art, crafts and culture.
Slovakia and the Lišov Museum
I joined a sustainable tourism project in the Hont region of Slovakia. The project is hosted by Jakub and Adriana at the Lišov múzeum. The project is explores opportunities for development in rural areas.
Originally Slovakia was a rich source of both gold and silver. Even the word ‘Hont’ itself means gold. Gold made Slovakia an area to be fought over. The Austria Hungarian Empire fought with the Ottoman Empire over Slovakia’s natural resources. In more recent times, a Russian invasion imposed the communist regime on the Slovakian people.
Things are more peaceful now. Slovakia is slowly rebuilding itself. It is rediscovering its own natural history and cultural heritage along the way.
Slovakia and green tourism
The Lišov Museum is an innovative community organisation. The work of the museum is based around the 4 pillars of sustainability. They are environmental, cultural, social and economic.
Developing rural business opportunities is a priority for the project. Product development areas include food and wine and local crafts. There is a limited supply of accommodation available for visitors at the moment, so this is also an important focus
The small museum site has a village stone house from 1916. Fascinating items used in past times in domestic and agricultural village life fill the little house.
A whole range of farm and domestic equipment are on display. The museum displays two very old working weaving looms. An extremely large wooden implement caught my eye. It was a giant marmalade stirrer!
Getting plastered in Slovakia
A Celtic roundhouse is under construction at the museum. This building shows the links with the area’s prehistoric heritage.
We spent a day clay plastering and helping to reconstruct the walls of the new coffee shop. Jakub is restoring this original building from 1887 with help from visitors. We filled gaps in the walls with stones and slapped on the plaster to create a weather proof breathable wall for the building.
Clay plastering is hard work! A lot of lifting and throwing and mixing is involved. It is good fun. We mixed our own home made plaster by mixing fresh clay, gravel, cut straw, sand and water . Some people actually mixed the plaster the old fashioned way, with their feet!
A large collection of international masks are on display in a mask gallery. There is a small green village shop and local handmade products are for sale here.
Other adventures in rural Romania – Transylvania – Dracula Country
Our Slovakian adventure was just beginning..