THIS SINGULAR postcard from 1901 shows the quarters of the local Forests Office near Modra, a little western Slovak town situated under the Small Carpathians.
Modra has always taken perfect care of its forests. Along with its numerous vineyards the healthy forests have been Modra’s most important source of wealth. But there were many others who wanted to use the woodlands for their own benefit.
Thus in 1593, public officials in Bratislava had to deal with Modra’s complaint about the inhabitants of two neighbouring villages, Pernek and Kuchyňa, who were stealing wood from its forests and had even pastured cattle there. To protect its lands, Modra decided to appoint six special ‘forest keepers’ and in 1687 it even had a 'forest captain'. Moreover, trees could be hewed only with the permission of the city council, and firs, for example, could not be hewed at all. Very interestingly, in spite of this ban, which was later extended also to oak trees, Modra’s legendary fir forests are now totally extinct. And what was the wood from the forests used for?
Mainly for construction of houses and the production of roof shingles, but also for the so-called šteky: wooden sticks used to support grape vines. In 1660, for example, the municipality ordered as many as 60,000 šteky to be produced for use in vineyards.
16. Feb 2009 at 0:00 | Branislav Chovan