THIS nice picture of Stráže dates back to the times when the main squares of small towns were not yet paved. Though this was not a problem in the dry seasons, rainy weather would turn the streets into seas of mud and people often had to clog their way through it.
Today, Stráže is a part of the city of Poprad, but in the 1920s when this photograph was taken it was an independent town. Nonetheless, it always had close trade ties with surrounding communities.
Stráže, which means “guards” in Slovak, was founded to serve as a shield against the enemies of the Hungarian Kingdom, as suggested by its name. The settlement gradually developed into a town, although it always kept its rural character. It was not that Stráže had no craftsmen. But they preferred to sell their products only locally, having no ambitions to expand into larger markets. People in Stráže, however, did not lack a spirit of trading. Instead, it was manifested in quite unusual ways. For example, residents could not inherit property from their relatives; rather, they had to buy estates from family members.
The close of World War II brought tough times for Stráže, as it had a sizable German population. Around 300 of its residents, or almost 40 percent of the town’s population, were deported because of their origin.