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The multi-ethnic history of Spišské Vlachy

WHEN LOOKING at the picturesque historical centre of Spišské Vlachy, very few observers would probably guess that the first telephone line within the Spiš region was set up in this town.

WHEN LOOKING at the picturesque historical centre of Spišské Vlachy, very few observers would probably guess that the first telephone line within the Spiš region was set up in this town.

But this is recent history; no less interesting are the facts related to the origins of the town.
Spišské Vlachy always benefited from its geographic position, as it was located near the so-called Magna Via (Great Route), an important commercial road that led from Poland through the Spiš region and southern Slovakia to the ‘Low Lands’, the territory of present day Hungary. The mining industry and handicrafts were also significant sources of income for the town.

What is probably the most surprising is that Spišské Vlachy was founded by settlers from Wallonia, which is still reflected in the second part of the name Spišské Vlachy.

This is even more proof of how multi-ethnic Slovakia once used to be. Together with Slovaks, a lot of Germans, Hungarians, Ruthenians, Roma, Czechs, Moravians, Italians and the aforementioned Walloons lived within its current territorial area.

This beautiful postcard depicts the town at the beginning of the 20th century. The main square is dominated by two interesting buildings that at first sight look like a church. But they are not. One of them is the town hall and the other is a belfry.

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