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Belanské Tatras

THIS postcard from the 1920s shows an untraditional view of the High Tatras from one of the lesser known peaks of Belanské Tatras, Mount New. Paradoxically, this peak looks more rocky and inaccessible than the mountain range behind it, even though the opposite is true.

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THIS postcard from the 1920s shows an untraditional view of the High Tatras from one of the lesser known peaks of Belanské Tatras, Mount New. Paradoxically, this peak looks more rocky and inaccessible than the mountain range behind it, even though the opposite is true. The Belanské Tatras are accessible enough to have been used for grazing sheep and cows. Records from as far back 1310 indicate that shepherds from Spišská Belá grazed sheep here. Because this part of the Tatras lies close to Poland, shepherds from the Slovak Spiš region and Polish shepherds sometimes quarrelled over the best slopes. Occasionally more serious conflicts broke out between smugglers moving herds of horses across the border via valleys of Belanské Tatras.

The easy accessibility turned out to be the area's own undoing. In the process of extending pastures, shepherds burned out large forests of mountain pine and then later, swarms of tourists, who did not respect marked trails, finished the destruction. Today, sadly the Belanské Tatras are closed to tourists.


Prepared by Branislav Chovan

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