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Around Slovakia

Walking the snakes
Five bison set free
Flying to Croatia on a homemade plane
History in bags
Trenčín tower to be equipped with lift
Theatre in former oil boiler
Girl eats rat poison

Ústie nad Oravou
Walking the snakes

EXOTIC snakes can occasionally be seen swimming in the Oravská water dam, a popular swimming hole for many locals.
A four-meter python and two-meter boa like swimming along the shore of the dam, pet owner Jozef Horinek from the northern Slovak village of Ústie nad Oravou told the Pravda daily on June 18.
"The python especially likes to swim a lot. When it is hot she will spend the whole day in the water," Horinek said.
He said that vacationers regard the snakes with respect, and he assures that the snakes will not hurt them.
"The snakes like to stay near the shore where the water is the warmest," he said.
Horinek got the snakes five years ago from a pet owner who was unable to care for them. When the snakes were small, Horinek let them move freely around his house. Now he keeps them in terrariums and lets them out in the garden during the day. He watches the snakes constantly and is careful in handling them.
"They can be tempermental, particularly when they shed their old skin. Their eyes become turbid and then I know that it is better to keep them in the terrariums," Horinek said.



APART from Slovaks and Poles, one can also meet a bison at the Slovak-Polish border.
photo: TASR

Banská Bystrica
Five bison set free

FIVE BISON were set free in the Poloniny National Park, situated in northeastern Slovakia, the SME daily wrote.
The animals were released on June 19 in the area close to the Slovak-Polish border. On the Polish side of the border there exists a stable population of about 80 bison that often cross into Slovakia, he said.
It is hoped that the two small herds will merge into one bigger herd.
Released were two two-year-old male bison, two female bison of the same age, and one 12-year-old bison thought to be the leader of the herd.
Michal Adamec, head of the Poloniny park administration authority, said to SME that the safety of the bison in the wild would be closely monitored.
"Two packs of wolves habitat this area as well as around 18 bears. According to the experts from Poland, these predators do not pose a danger to the herd unless a weaker
animal or a calf leaves it. People are much more dangerous predators. However, we will watch our bison very closely," he said.


Nitra
Flying to Croatia on a homemade plane

MILAN Frišo from the western Slovak town of Nitra plans to fly to the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia in an ultra-light plane he put together himself.
"Building my own little plane was my life's dream. I started to fulfil it three years ago when I bought a fox flyer kit," Frišo, 67, told the state-run news agency TASR.
Making the plane took him 2,500 hours of work and about Skk750,000 (€18,800). He built it in his own garage. Once finished, Frišo took his test flights and is currently awaiting completion of the flying approval procedure.
Once he receives all the necessary permits, he would like to fly to the Croatian town of Pula, where he would like to have a swim in the Adriatic Sea.
"In this plane the flight to Pula should take three and half hours. I will fly at an average speed of 140 kilometres per hour," Frišo said.
Frišo started flying in motor planes more than half a century ago and in 1962 he became the holder of a height record, flying as high as 9,800 meters with an engineless flyer.



HISTORY attracts everyone, even thieves.
photo: SME - Jana Beňová

Nitra
History in bags

A 65-YEAR-OLD man was accused of theft after he stole 46 alloy tomb plates, which he took from graves of soldiers who died in World War I and were buried in the Nitra cemetery.
The man, not named, was caught in the act by a police patrol as he was heading to sell the bag in a local scrap metal centre.
According to the Slovak daily SME, the homeless man carried his booty in three bags. The alloy plates were broken into 260 pieces and weighed 42 kilograms.
"The plates have historical value. They carry the basic data of soldiers who fought in World War I. They were young people between 20 and 24 years old. Most of the plates have 1915 to 1919 engraved as the year of death," Monika Nitryová, the head of the Nitra cemeteries operation, told SME.
The administration has already ordered new plates made of stone.
In the cemetery there are a total of 438 graves of both known and anonymous soldiers who fought in the Austrian-Hungarian Army.
The cemetery is situated on the former location of an army hospital.


Trenčín
Trenčín tower to be equipped with lift

THE TRENČÍN city tower, which was built at the end of the 16th century and remains the only preserved artefact of the former extensive royal city wall, will be opened to public with an elevator to take visitors almost to its top.
The tower, also known as the Turkish gate, was built in the Gothic style and was then rebuilt in the renaissance style, the SME daily wrote on June 16.
The city tower has been reconstructed several times already, which has helped preserve the Latin inscription on its wall that reads, "If God does not guard a city, those who guard it guard in vain."
City officials hope that the plan to open the renovated city tower to visitors and making it easily accessible by elevator will make the city centre more attractive for tourists.


Kremnica
Theatre in former oil boiler

A DERELICT building in which an oil boiler was situated in the past is set to become a stage. "The boiler", as locals from the central Slovak city of Kremnica call it, will become the home stage of the Kusy cukru (Pieces of Sugar) theatre, and it should also serve as a gallery and an art café.
Theatre director Peter Luptovský told to the SME daily that the makeover would cost between Sk5 million and Sk10 million (€125,000 and €250,000).
Pieces of Sugar is a semi-professional experimental and alternative theatre that includes a mixed cast of mentally and physically disabled actors as well as actors without disabilities, making it a unique Slovak theatre.
The theatre was founded in 2001 when two smaller theatres, Ucho and Dúha (Ear and Rainbow) for deaf and hearing impaired actors merged. In 2002, it received the former oil boiler building from the town of Kremnica for a symbolic Sk1.


Žehra
Girl eats rat poison

MARTINA Girgáčová, a four-year-old from the settlement near the eastern Slovak village of Žehra ate a pink granule of rat poison, which looks something like candy, that she found near some pig stalls on June 14.
"After about 20 minutes she got sick. She felt sleepy, she was pale, and her stomach hurt. So we took her to the hospital in Krompachy," the girl's grandfather, Július Girgáč, told the Slovak daily Nový Čas on June 16. Tests confirmed that the girl had eaten the poison, but the doctors said that there was no direct link between her health condition and the fact taht she ate one granule of it.
"Accute poisoning with this type of chemical could only take place in the case where one consumes a large amount of the substance," a doctor, not named, said to the daily.
He thinks that Martina was dehydrated and that her condition could also have been caused by general neglect.

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