Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Smiths come to Kežmarok

SWORDSMEN storming the gates of the historical town of Kežmarok annually signal the opening of the large European Folk Craft festival. The festival offers displays of almost forgotten traditional crafts, each year giving attention to a particular type of skill. From July 8 to 10 this year, the focus is on iron-processing crafts.

THE HORSESHOE-making craft gets more artistic these days.
photo: Zuzana Habšudová

SWORDSMEN storming the gates of the historical town of Kežmarok annually signal the opening of the large European Folk Craft festival. The festival offers displays of almost forgotten traditional crafts, each year giving attention to a particular type of skill. From July 8 to 10 this year, the focus is on iron-processing crafts.

"Shoeing a horse used to be the most typical work that smiths did," said Agáta Perignáthová from the festival's organizational team. "And jewel-makers, often working with metals, were active within the locksmith's craft. Tinkers, however, created their own, special craft," she added.

Smiths, mainly from Eastern Slovakia, will be at the festival to demonstrate their craft in the original, traditional way. Other smiths will show how the craft has progressed over the years - offering for sale and producing decorative, artistic iron-made works right in front of visitors' eyes.

All together, around 150 artisans from various Slovak regions, as well as surrounding countries, will gather in the High Tatran town to present their skills and talents, working with wood, glass, leather, gold and other traditional craft materials. Many will be dressed in traditional costume as they weave linen, make wooden toys, shape ceramic cups and carve stone.

"It's pleasing that the number of craftsmen interested in demonstrating and creating their products at the festival is increasing," Perignáthová said. "After all, how many children know the meaning of loom, spinning wheel or tanner?"

Music and dance groups from Russia, Switzerland, Greece and other countries will occupy the festival's two stages non-stop. Drama productions, historical performances, and fairy-tale castle tours will also be part of the event, as will the traditional cheese market, exhibitions and a stamp booth dedicated to smithery with a special mail service.

"Smith-work was characteristic for men," Perignáthová says. "There will be no woman demonstrating the demanding craft. But there will be a woman making sheet bells that cattle use. It's not iron work, but the nature of the production resembles the male craft of smithery." "


The Kežmarok swordsmen will start attacking the town's gates at 13:00 on Friday, July 8. The tickets are Sk30 for children and Sk50 for adults if bought in advance, and Sk50 for children and Sk80 for adults on the day, or Sk150 for the three days. They are available in advance at Kežmarok's information centres or during the venue at the town's stylish gates from men dressed in historical costumes.


By Zuzana Habšudová

Top stories

Discussion about road project becomes emotional

Analysts want more alternatives for the road from Zvolen to Košice to be assessed

The protest at Soroška

Slovakia commemorates the 1968 invasion. Here’s what it looked like Photo

Anniversary of the Warsaw Pact troop invasion that ended the Prague Spring.

Garth: We need a deal that will benefit both

“When I talk to the Brits living in Slovakia, they are quite relaxed about things,” UK Ambassador to Slovakia Andrew Garth says about the Brexit-related concerns.

UK Ambassador to Slovakia Andrew Garth

“Natural police” to protect nature and animals

Those who commit crimes against the environment should watch out.

Illustrative stock photo