Around Slovakia

Schöner Náci finally buried in Bratislava
Citizens applaud Queen Anna's coronation
Petržalka artificial beach drew 55,000 visitors
Battle of the beards a highlight of hunters' festival

The Schöner Náci statue has finally returned to the Old Town after repairs.
photo: SITA

Schöner Náci finally buried in Bratislava

THE LAST dream of Ignác Lamár, better known as the Schöner Náci, was finally fulfilled after 40 years. On September 2, the remains of the man known for strolling the city centre with a perpetual smile on his face were buried in his hometown, Bratislava.
Several hundred people, most of them elderly, came to the Ondrejský cemetery to bid him a final farewell, the SITA newswire wrote.
"We see him on many posters, we have his statute in the Old Town, but somehow it was forgotten that he was buried in Lehnice," Peter Kurhajec from the Society of Ferdinand Martineng told SITA. "Now we are giving him a last goodbye. . . We are fulfilling his last wish: he really wanted to be buried in Bratislava."
Earlier during the week, Lamár's remains were exhumed from his original grave and transported to Bratislava.
Imrich Sečanský, Lamár's long-time doctor, also attended the burial. He shared his memories of the famous citizen of what was then Pressburg.
"He was a very good-natured man who wanted to spread joy and love to others, and to imitate his grandfather, a clown in the Kludsky circus," Sečanský said. "He liked everybody, he loved people."
The new gravestone of the Schöner Náci is engraved with the greeting he gave to passers-by: "Ruky bozkávam" (an old phrase meaning, "I kiss your hands"). The words are engraved in the three languages spoken in Bratislava during his time: Slovak, German and Hungarian.
After the burial, people met in the Letná Čitáreň U Červeného Raka garden below the Michalský Bridge to remember the famous Pressburger and enjoy coffee and cakes, which he loved so much.
Lamár was born on August 11, 1897 in Bratislava's Petržalka area and spent almost his entire life in Bratislava. His mother fled to Vienna with a journeyman. Because of this, Lamár's father started drinking and died young.
People remember the Schöner Náci as always dressed in tailcoats with a top hat, bowing to everybody. He was an apprentice to a pastry cook, and later he worked as a scene-shifter at a theatre, carried coal and beat carpets. He died from tuberculosis in Lehnice on October 23, 1967.
A few days before the burial, on August 31, the famous Schöner Náci statue returned to its original place in the Old Town.
During a 10-day restoration, workers also re-welded the top hat to the statue's hand. The hat was broken off when the statue was pushed over last summer.
Bratislava Old Town Mayor Andrej Petrek considers the statue's current home on Rybná Brána Street to be an unfortunate location. During the last four years, the statue has been damaged three times.
Petrek called on everyone who remembers the Schöner Náci to propose a more suitable and secure place for his statue.

Citizens applaud Queen Anna's coronation

Otto von Habsburg (centre, accompanied by Martin Nikodým as King Matthias and Zuzana Fialová as Queen Anna of Tyrol) was a prominent guest at the Coronation Celebration.
photo: ČTK

HUNDREDS of people came to see the coronation of Hungarian Queen Anna of Tyrol re-enacted in Bratislava's Main Square on September 1.
Otto von Habsburg, the current head of the royal Habsburg family, was the most prominent guest at the re-enactment, which was the centrepiece of Bratislava's Coronation Festival.
Von Habsburg, 95, is the oldest son of Karl (Charles) I of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.
At a party, von Habsburg said Slovakia cares for its history and takes pride in it, and that it is young and healthy. He wished Slovakia success and praised the beauty and historical monuments of the city, the TASR newswire wrote.
Along with Bratislavans, the re-enactment drew many Austrians, who also have a direct connection with the history of the former monarchy. There were also plenty of British, German, Japanese and Polish tourists, the SITA newswire wrote.
Anna of Tyrol, performed by actress Zuzana Fialová, was crowned as the wife of the King Matthias, performed by Martin Nikodým, who was crowned last year. Thus the archbishop did not put the crown of Stephen I on her head but only on her shoulder for a while, the Pravda daily wrote. This symbolises the heavy burden of ruling.

Petržalka artificial beach drew 55,000 visitors

THE FIRST artificial beach in Bratislava attracted 55,000 visitors during its opening season.
The beach on the Tyršovo Embankment of the Danube was 3,200 square metres in area, and it was open from June 29 until September 2, the TASR newswire reported. It offered deck chairs, umbrellas, showers, a bar, and places to play beach volleyball and football.
During September, organisers from the City of Bratislava and the T-Com telecom company will return the site to its original state. They will remove the 20-centimetre thick layer of sand - a total of 1,300 tonnes - and fix the grass.
Organisers plan to turn the embankment into a beach again next year.

Svätý Anton
Battle of the beards a highlight of hunters' festival

DUŠAN Pavko of Revúca defended his title of the longest beard in Slovakia at the annual hunters' festival in Svätý Anton.
Hunters gather in this central Slovak village every year on the first weekend of September for the festival honouring the patron saint of hunters, St. Hubert, the TASR newswire wrote.
One of the most popular events was the contest to see who had the longest beard, a typical style for hunters. Sixteen men competed for the title, which was handed out by an all-woman jury.
Pavko took the top prize with his 76-centimetre beard, beating his length from last year by three centimetres. The 55-year-old did not have much competition, though - the men who placed second and third had beards one-third and one-half shorter than his, respectively.
There was also a competition for throwing a rifle into the rye (a Slovak term that means "throwing in the towel"). Róbert Hubinský was the most successful, throwing the 15-kilogram instrument made of wood and metal for a distance of 16.8 metres. This year, a record of more than 100 men competed in this event.
"About 5,000 people come to Svätý Anton during the hunters' festival," Monika Arvayová of the Svätý Anton museum told TASR. Thousands of other people visit the hunters' markets in front of the chateau.
Visitors also had the chance to shoot a historical crossbow or fish in the local pond. Many people also visited the museum in the chateau, featuring hunting exhibits and historical furniture.

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