ZAMAGURIE is one of the coldest regions in Slovakia, even though it might not look like it from the reproduction of this painting by the Czech artist Jára Sedláček from the early 1900s.
Right here, hidden under the canopies of deep forest, the northernmost situated spa in Slovakia - Smerdžonka - used to give comfort to those who made the trek to its healing waters.
It is as if the stern and severe conditions of the region predetermined the fate of the spa. Apart from a few exceptional years of good fortune, Smerdžonka always just managed to stay solvent. Somehow it pulled through season after season until 1948, when the communist state nationalised the spa.
Smerdžonka no longer exists, but the countryside under the majestic peak bordering with Poland, characteristically named Three Crowns, has not changed much.
Prepared by Branislav Chovan, Special to the Spectator