Culture Shorts

Towns and villages unite at single web

TERRA GRATA, a non-profit organization based in Banská Bystrica, has launched a web page with information on Slovak municipalities. Visitors to can find basic data on all Slovak towns and villages. The organisation plans to offer the page in foreign languages in future.

"We have found that only about 470 municipalities out of roughly 2,930 Slovak towns and villages have their own web page," Terra grata director František Skaloš told the TASR news wire.

This means that just about every sixth municipality has its web page. Only a bit more than one half of all municipalities has an e-mail address. Hundreds of Slovak villages have no computer at all.

Skaloš believes that this joint-web page will provide the best overview of Slovak towns and villages.

"At a recent tourist fair in Bratislava, many travel agencies complained that they are often unable to find online information about regions interesting to tourists," he said.

In an effort to fill this information gap, Terra grata collected and processed basic information on the municipalities and sorted them by region. Eventually, it wants to create a complete information package for each village.

"There will be everything, from the past to the present," Skaloš said. They want to promote tourist attractions as well as list job offers.

Skaloš hopes that they will manage to provide a complete overview of Slovak towns and villages by the end of this year.

Banská Bystrica attracts tourists

THE REGIONAL govern-ment in Banská Bystrica (BBSK) has chosen to advertise its regional tourist attractions on two DVDs, which were offcially issued last December. The DVDs offer the information in four languages: Slovak, English, German and French.

The first DVD screens a 10-minute spot that locates the region within Europe, with a focus on spa and wellness treatments, hiking, water and winter sports and agro-tourism, including hunting. The second DVD contains five spots, five to six minutes long, on individual tourist sections.

"The DVDs are for local and foreign tour operators, groups of potential visitors, foreign counterpart regions, tourist and information offices in the region and Slovak embassies abroad," said Eva Berčíková from BBSK.

In 2006, BBSK plans to add three more languages - Russian, Hungarian and Polish - to the DVDs.

Lasica (right) formed the famous duo with Satinský.
photo: TASR

Bratislava ball awards "blueberries"

TWO BLUEBERRIES, prizes given in memory of the great Bratislava patriot and humorist Július Satinský, who died in 2002, were presented during the Bratislava Ball on February 18.

The prize, which is divided into two categories: personality and idea, recognizes the efforts that have most enriched the quality of life in Bratislava and contributed to its spiritual values. This year's čučoriedky (blueberries) went to architect Ján Miloslav Bahna and publisher, translator and author Albert Marenčin.

Bahma (left) and Marenčin - the čučoriedka recipients.
photo: TASR

Among the well-known personalities who attended the Bratislava Ball was the prize's chairman, and Satinský's long-time acting partner, Milan Lasica.

Bratislava mayor Andrej Ďurkovský danced in the opening waltz and at midnight came a surprise - carnival masks from Venice. For a while after midnight, the scene was surreal, reminiscent of the atmosphere present at the renowned Venice mask festival.


Fewer people attending Slovak cinemas

THE NUMBER of cinema patrons in the European Union decreases every year, the European Audiovisual Observatory and MEDIA Sales stated in their preliminary statistics presented at the Berlin Film Festival. Slovakia took part at the event for the first time this year.

A billion EU citizens went to the cinema in 2004, but that amount sank the following year. Among the 25 countries that comprised the statistics, Slovakia had the largest single decrease in the number of cinema patrons, 24.1 percent.

The average drop in Europe was 11 percent. The Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands were below it, while the Great Britain, Ireland and Italy marked the smallest decline.

The drop is generally not seen as significant in countries with a strong domestic film production industry. The Czech Republic, for instance, ranked fifth in the number of cinema patrons who see domestic productions (24.4 percent). This is in stark contrast to Slovakia, which has a lot of catching up to do with its neighbour, the experts say. Only two percent of its citizens visit original Slovak films.

According to film critic Miro Ulman, cinemas lack patrons because of the rising number and popularity of DVDs, which new movies are often released on sooner than in cinemas. New ways of spending free time, such as surfing the Internet and computer games, had an impact on the number of patrons as well, he said.

Next year's statistics might be more optimistic for Slovakia if certain films appeal to audiences. The next big premieres are Waiting, Pride and Prejudice, Inside Man, The New World and two Czech films: 4 Věci and Ještě žiju s věšákem, plácačkou a čepicí.

Compiled by Spectator staff
from press reports

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