THIS POSTCARD shows the main crest of the Low Tatras as it was just a few decades ago, with herds of sheep grazing on the mountainside. After declaring the area a National Park, the sheep were forced to retreat to the lower slopes. Today, many tourists hike in these mountains that spread across Central Slovakia. The magnificent views offered by the crest trail, or "hrebeňovka", are unparalleled.
This picture, taken shortly after World War II, is also a sorrowful reminder of man's effect upon nature. These once largely wooded slopes of Slovakia's second largest mountain range, are now bare and eroded, due to centuries of deforestation and the overgrazing of the once lush alpine meadows.
By Branislav Chovan, Special to the Spectator
13. Dec 2004 at 0:00