HISTORY TALKS...

Built from glacial rock

THE VILLAGE of Spišský Štvrtok lies in the Spiš region of north-eastern Slovakia. Its name comes from markets that were regularly held there from the Middle Ages – but always on a Thursday (štvrtok in Slovak).

THE VILLAGE of Spišský Štvrtok lies in the Spiš region of north-eastern Slovakia. Its name comes from markets that were regularly held there from the Middle Ages – but always on a Thursday (štvrtok in Slovak).

But historians also know it under another name: St Ladislaus. Although this original name gradually fell into disuse, St Ladislaus (Svätý Ladislav in Slovak) was successful enough to have its own local seal and coat of arms.

Historians believe a prehistoric fortified settlement in the locality of Myšia hôrka was the predecessor of Spišský Štvrtok. The encircling walls that are preserved to this day are 3,500 years old and among the oldest in Europe.

Within the village there remains evidence from a much earlier time – the Ice Age. An ancient glacier pushed a huge boulder into the region that is the height of a four-storey house. The rock is visible from a far distance and numerous geologists have made expeditions to it. Known as Skalka, the glacial rock began to be used for construction material for roads as well as streets and courtyards in the village beginning in the 1940s.

This stylised postcard comes from the workshop of Pavol Socháň, a Slovak photographer and ethnographer. The girl was posed in a festive folk costume with a prayer book, at Socháň’s request, to represent a woman going to church. Though it might not seem so, this photograph is 110 years old.


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