Bears, pits and lightning

THIS postcard from the 1920s shows a village in the Záhorie region with an interesting name: Pernek. There are several theories explaining the origin of the word. Of those most likely to be true, two are worth mentioning.

THIS postcard from the 1920s shows a village in the Záhorie region with an interesting name: Pernek. There are several theories explaining the origin of the word. Of those most likely to be true, two are worth mentioning.

One of them links the village’s name to the Slavic god of thunder and lightning, Perun, and suggests that a sacred place, consecrated to this mythological being, once stood here. The other states it might come from the German word Bäreneck, bear’s den, which is quite probable given the fact that bears were relatively common at the foot of the Little Carpathians in those times, as were German settlers.

Though Pernek is a small village, it witnessed some of the most important events that once affected the whole Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

In 1663, for instance, Ottoman soldiers marched through its streets. Some decades later Habsburg armies led by General Sigbert von Heister passed through Pernek to suppress the uprising organised by the kuruc, the anti-Habsburg Hungarian rebels active between 1671 and 1711.

Another interesting fact is that mining developed near Pernek in the 17th century when gold, silver and later antimony were discovered in the nearby mountains. Pits and mining waste can still be seen from above the village.


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