THE VILLAGE of Vlkolínec, on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites since 1993, now has a ban on smoking and open fires effective June 1. The village, which is an administrative part of the town of Ružomberok, is a folk architecture preserve with traditional wooden houses, one reason why the rules have been made so strict, the SITA newswire wrote.
The spokeswoman for Ružomberok, Michaela Milá, said the ban on smoking and open fires covers the entire village and all houses must be equipped with a fire extinguisher. But she added that “the statute for Vlkolínec does not mention specific sanctions”. She said breaking the rule will be treated by Ružomberok police according to the law on protection of non-smokers – with fines of up to €33.
The Sme daily wrote that residents of Vlkolínec do not think the ban on smoking applies to them as there are only 18 people with permanent residence in the village and they told Sme that it would be outrageous if they were not allowed to smoke in or around their homes. The local residents told Sme that they are more careful than visitors and mind their property well. Others told Sme that a smoking ban only for visitors would be nonsense.
Lawyer Martin Stoffa told Sme that he believes the ban applies to local residents as the law also states that owners have to protect cultural monuments, but he doubted whether the ban on smoking could be enforced.
“Smoking can be banned or limited only through a generally binding decree, not through a change in a [town] statute.”
Sme wrote that one of the reasons for enacting the ban on smoking was the huge fire that destroyed part of Krásna Hôrka castle in March, while noting that even though the ban on smoking has been in effect for nearly a month, there are no signs banning it at the entrance to Vlkolínec or within the village.