Welcome to the picturesque ribbon-villages of the Small Carpathians, where viticulture and the cultivation of distinctive wines have been the preoccupation of the region's inhabitants for centuries.
Modra regards itself as pre-eminent in the art of winemaking, a tradition that began in the middle ages when its largely German inhabitants invested heavily in production. The climate and soil was found to be ideal for creating abundant vineyards, from which the citizens reaped their juicy profits. Soon winemaking became the bedrock of the local economy, and wines from the area sold throughout the Hapsburg empire.
As demand grew so did fierce competition between surrounding villages. Fighting frequently broke out for precious land rights following the death of a local winemaker. In the ensuing years things calmed, and a more relaxed relationship prevailed, suggested by this picture postcard taken in Modra in the 1920s.
Today the village hosts many visitors who come to sample the local tipple, especially during this month of vinobranie, when festivals hereabouts dispense copious quantities of burčiak, a young fermenting grape juice, and tuck into baked goose.
By Branislav Chovan, Special to the Spectator
27. Sep 2004 at 0:00