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HISTORY TALKS...

A Bulgarian tsar in Slovakia?

THIS WEEK’S postcard is a true rarity – an unknown photographer visited this secluded site in the middle of the Muránska planina / Muráň Plain, and took a photograph of a group of people standing before a hunting lodge in a lush meadow. The location is called Mokrá poľana, or Wet Clearing.

THIS WEEK’S postcard is a true rarity – an unknown photographer visited this secluded site in the middle of the Muránska planina / Muráň Plain, and took a photograph of a group of people standing before a hunting lodge in a lush meadow. The location is called Mokrá poľana, or Wet Clearing.

Taking a closer look, the group is dominated by a man standing in the centre wearing a hat and leaning on a cane. Due to his posture and to the way in which his companions are positioned, it seems that he is someone of importance who was visiting Mokrá poľana with his entourage. Unfortunately, not even a magnifying glass enables one to clearly make out the man’s face, but in all likelihood the man in question is Bulgaria’s Tsar Ferdinand I.

By that time, his family, the Coburgs, owned vast expanses of forested lands, including the Muráň Plain. Ferdinand was known to be an ornithology enthusiast, a passionate botanist and a hunter, and he often explored the countryside on horseback. In addition to riding, the tsar also liked to be driven to more accessible sites by car.

Ferdinand was considered to be an amateurish politician, and thus was not taken very seriously on the European political stage. But this never appeared to bother him. He spent most of his time hunting on his estates. He was 90 when he set out on his last walk in the forest with a rifle.

After 1946, the Coburgs were forced to leave the country, which is why the tsar’s wish to be buried in Červená Skala / Red Rock, in the middle of his former estate, could not be fulfilled. He died in 1948 and is buried in Coburg, Germany.

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