FOR LOGGING to be a traditional job handed down from one generation to the next requires a vast forested area and good rivers on which to transport timber. Many parts of Slovakia fulfil these conditions but it has been the region around the Váh River from Trenčín north, the Hron region, the area of the Slovenské rudohorie mountains, and the region of northern Šariš and Zemplín that have been considered the best for logging.
Logging was not initially a separate economic activity but was inextricably linked with the development of farming, because to cultivate land people needed to remove the trees. Only in the late Middle Ages did logging become a distinct industry and then it was connected to a boom in mining and metallurgy that required regular wood supplies. For that reason many loggers were employees of mines and ironworks but enjoyed a considerable degree of personal freedom.
It is interesting that it took a very long time before logging became a planned and organised economic activity in Slovakia and during much of the Middle Ages, logging was usually done with the clear-cut method, with loggers totally leveling a forested area, destroying life in the forest and causing problems with landslides.
This postcard from the 1940s shows a logger from the mountain village of Terchová. It is a replica of a painting by Gejza Salay.
11. Jun 2012 at 0:00 | By Branislav Chovan