A giant observation tower in the High Tatras faces criticism

The construction of this new attraction has begun without a public discussion.

A new lookout tower under construction in Štrbské Pleso. A new lookout tower under construction in Štrbské Pleso. (Source: Profit)

The High Tatras is widely seen as Slovakia's national treasure, and many people are sensitive about any interference with them. So it comes as no surprise that the construction of a new attraction, the future lookout tower in Štrbské Pleso, is facing contradictory reactions, Profit magazine reported.

The 53-metre-high and 18-metre-wide construction is being constructed in a location under third-level protection.

The public, as well as the councillors in Štrba, under whose administration Štrbské Pleso falls, learned about the project only after the foundations of the new construction began. A petition was even launched to stop the works.

“That attraction should not be there,” said Štrba councillor Július Fabian, as quoted by Profit. “Such an observation tower should be placed in the woods, not in Štrbské Pleso, which already has a lookout point.”

The project is managed by the High Tatras Tower company, which is backed by the Royal Brabest Capital stock company.

Štrba mayor: no law breached

Despite criticism, the Tatra National Park Administration (TANAP) green-lighted the project since it will be located in the built-up area. Besides, a hotel was supposed to have been located on that site in the past.

Moreover, the village of Štrba did not breach any law and followed the usual steps, said its mayor Michal Sýkora. Zoning and building permits were issued based on the affirmative positions issued by state institutions.

“It is a private investment on private land, which is not the property of the village,” Sýkora said, as quoted by Profit.

People should see the advantages of the project instead, he added. The tower will have four viewing platforms and a slide, and will house the Tatra National Park Museum, a café, a souvenir shop, and bathrooms.

“The project will expand the services for visitors to Štrbské Pleso and the High Tatras,” he said, as quoted by Profit.

Read alsoTatras offer a walk in the treetops Read more 

Petition launched

Meanwhile, the critics launched a petition to stop the construction works.

“It is great that we want to support tourism, but as true citizens and protectors of the High Tatras we must know when enough is enough,” the petition initiators wrote, as quoted by Profit. “Let's try to forget about profits for once and, instead, invest in planting trees.”

The petition was signed by more than 7,000 people on September 11. Environmentalist Erik Baláž thinks the observation tower is not the best solution for the resort and can distort the image of the national park.

“When one visits the Tatras, they should feel that they are in a national park,” he said, as quoted by Profit. “By constructing a tower, nature will not be damaged, but it does not fit with the environment.”

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