THIS IS one of the faces of Slovak towns from the past: houses built entirely from wood from the foundations to the roof. Today, probably few would guess that this is how one part of the biggest town in Orava – Dolný Kubín – once looked, or that it did so relatively recently: this postcard was made in the era of the so-called Slovak State during WWII.
Only a few towns in Slovakia had a really urban character before the modern period. Even in the biggest ones, urban development itself was effectively limited to the centre. Such areas were normally built in the Middle Ages and grew little during the course of several centuries. Apart from Bratislava, which pulled down its walls in the 18th century and started to expand into the space beyond them, most towns remained squeezed into their medieval confines until the second half of the 19th century or early 20th century.
Thus, it might be said that the centuries-long order that clearly distinguished a town from a village broke down only quite recently. In the past, a town usually ended at its walls, beyond which there were only meadows and fields.
20. Sep 2010 at 0:00 | By Branislav Chovan