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HISTORY TALKS...

The old days of cattle breeding

THIS VERY old and rare postcard dates back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and bears clear signs of the Hapsburg monarchy. Its inscription is in Hungarian and German but the name of the place it depicts is Slovak.

THIS VERY old and rare postcard dates back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and bears clear signs of the Hapsburg monarchy. Its inscription is in Hungarian and German but the name of the place it depicts is Slovak.

The multiethnic character of the period is stressed as well by the name of the publisher, Alfred Wiesner from Malacky, who printed most of the postcards of the Záhorie region in western Slovakia and was of Jewish origin.

The postcard shows a distant image: the periphery of the village of Plavecký Mikuláš in Záhorie with its rocky ridges in the background and wooden houses with roofs made of straw as well as fences and a bridge constructed of wood.

Two cows standing in the centre remind us that breeding cattle was one of the most important ways of making a living in the territory of today’s Slovakia since the late Middle Ages.

Certainly the pastoral nations on which old Slav regions bordered contributed to this tradition. In southern areas, horse breeding prevailed while it was ox breeding in the north. Cattle breeding influenced the life and culture of Slovakia to a large extent until the 20th century.

The decline of this pastoral tradition came very quickly in the 20th century as communism brought a collectivisation of land and livestock that was quite destructive of the earlier cattle-breeding culture.


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