Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

HISTORY TALKS...

The wooden town of Trstená

THE TOWN of Trstená in the northern Orava region was founded in 1371 as part of medieval colonisation. Less than a hundred years later it became part of the domain of Orava Castle and gained more and more privileges. For example, it was exempt from the requirement to pay tolls and customs duties, so its burghers could freely visit market towns in Slovakia as well as across the border in neighbouring Poland.

THE TOWN of Trstená in the northern Orava region was founded in 1371 as part of medieval colonisation. Less than a hundred years later it became part of the domain of Orava Castle and gained more and more privileges. For example, it was exempt from the requirement to pay tolls and customs duties, so its burghers could freely visit market towns in Slovakia as well as across the border in neighbouring Poland.

Also, because of its position right on the border between Poland and the Hungarian lands the town received the 'right of the sword' which gave it authority to impose capital punishment. Information from 1625 indicates that Trstená had only 25 homesteads at that time, something akin to the smallest villages today.

But times were different then, which is shown by the fact that as late as the beginning of the 20th century only the most well-off residents of the village could build bigger houses made of brick.

For most of its history the Orava region belonged among the poorest regions of present-day Slovakia and for centuries readily-available wood was used as the main construction material. That is why Trstená burned to the ground several times. A fire from 1697 is often mentioned as the most devastating: the entire town, including both of its churches, went down in flames.

This postcard from the 1920s shows Trstená’s town centre and square, still not paved at that time.

Top stories

Quidditch becomes reality in Slovakia as first teams emerge Video

The wizard sport, fighting for its status in the real sports world, has won the hearts of some Slovaks.

Top stories from Last Week in Slovakia Video

Voters’ indifference affects regional votes - Can Slovaks be lured back from Britain? - Petit Press majority owner dies

Foreigners: Top 10 events in Bratislava Video

Tips for the top 10 events in the capital between October 20 and October 29, plus regular services in different languages, training, temporary exhibitions and highlights of the year.

International Halloween Party

Babiš did not re-write the past

Constitutional Court decided in favour of National Memory Institute which included Andrej Babiš in its list of communist secret service confindants.

Slovak-born Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš