HISTORY TALKS...

Wayside shrines

THIS POSTCARD from the 1920s is a reproduction of a painting by Václav Malý, a Czech artist. The picture depicts a romantic panorama of the High Tatras, with a cross in the foreground.

THIS POSTCARD from the 1920s is a reproduction of a painting by Václav Malý, a Czech artist. The picture depicts a romantic panorama of the High Tatras, with a cross in the foreground.

In the Middle Ages, roads and squares were "graced" with gallows and scaffolds rather than crucifixes.

It wasn't until after the Trident Council (1545-1563), which declared the second half of the 16th century the "Century of Saints," that crucifixes, chapels and statues of saints started appearing alongside roads.

People found comfort in the shrines, directing their prayers at them during war and outbreaks of disease, or in thanks.

A significant number of wayside shrines remain alongside roads throughout Slovakia, contributing to the unique atmosphere of the countryside.

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