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Grazing cattle in Nedelište

THIS interesting picture comes from the 1920s and is the work of famous photographer Karol Plicka. It portrays the primitive farmhouses that were the homes of people in the village of Nedelište in central Slovakia.

THIS interesting picture comes from the 1920s and is the work of famous photographer Karol Plicka. It portrays the primitive farmhouses that were the homes of people in the village of Nedelište in central Slovakia.

The village's strange name can be explained by the fact that the land in this cadastral area had not been divided. The village lies at high altitude and the soil was not fertile so the land could be used only for pasture.

From the Middle Ages there were strict rules about how to graze cattle, including for instance, collective grazing that prohibited hiring individual shepherds for flocks. The system of joint grazing enabled easier gathering of information for tax purposes and subsequently simpler taxation for the authorities.

Beef cattle and sheep were primarily bred in Slovakia, with sheep only in the higher elevations. Goats were not favoured for breeding but pigs were bred in western Slovakia, especially in Záhorie region.

Successful cattle traders lived in the municipality of Kúty. They typically bought their cattle in southern parts of Slovakia or in Hungary. From there they drove the animals westwards, towards Austria or Moravia, where they were sold at a profit.

The last of the cattle traders could still be found congregated in Záhorie as late as the 1930s.


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