AN EVENT at the oldest tourist cabin in the High Tatras that started as a small, family tradition has developed into one of the most visited winter attractions in the region. A nativity scene carefully sculpted from snow by Peter Petras, the caretaker of the Rainer cabin, draws hundreds of visitors each year.
Ján Juraj Rainer built the mountain cabin that bears his name in 1863; but after 1884 it served only as a storeroom for a newly-constructed cabin named Kamzík. But the Kamzík cabin was demolished in 1980 and the Rainer cabin was then reconstructed and re-opened to tourists on June 13, 1998.
Petras has been sculpting the nativity scene from snow for 12 years. At first it was built just next to the Rainer cabin but as the number of visitors grew Petras started building it in a natural amphitheatre where the Kamzík cabin once stood.
Petras told the SITA newswire that he was quite concerned about whether there would be enough snow this winter, as the first snow arrived only on December 7 and there was no more than 20 centimetres around the cabin. But by New Year’s Eve Petras had managed to bring enough snow from the surrounding area to finish this year’s nativity scene.
At noon on January 6, a Slovak national holiday celebrating the arrival of the three kings to Bethlehem, a folk band from Lendak sang local carols and Dano Damer offered traditional Goral music.
Gorals are residents of both the Slovak and Polish sides of the High Tatras who maintain their own distinct dialect and culture. Noon on January 6 is the traditional end of Christmas season in this region.
23. Jan 2012 at 0:00