SPECTACULAR SLOVAKIA WEEKLY

American museum weeds out Czechoslovak cars

At the weekend caves will reopen, and so will a Bratislava city beach.

Tatra cars of Czechoslovakia are on display at Lane Motor Museum in the American city of Nashville. Tatra cars of Czechoslovakia are on display at Lane Motor Museum in the American city of Nashville. (Source: Lane Motor Museum)

Hello from The Slovak Spectator,

An American museum is selling old Czechoslovak cars, Swiss trams arrived in Slovakia after a three-week-long journey, and honey bees have taken over the Slovak capital.

In fact, this week, we have a bit more news about Bratislava than usual, but we are also writing about a cute porcupine cub from Košice.

Don’t forget, the Night of Museums and Galleries will be back this Saturday, and Slovak caves will be reopening this weekend too. If you’re looking for something to do, we've got your back!

Slovakia’s first porcupine born in Košice

The Košice Zoo is the first in Slovakia to breed the North American porcupine, which is often mistaken for another rodent – the crested porcupine.

The North American porcupine cub, born on April 3 by caesarean section, is called Hugo. His father comes from the Olomouc Zoo, Czech Republic, and his mother from the Miskolc Zoo, Hungary.

Once Hugo grows up, he can weigh up to seven kilograms.

Although the North American porcupine resembles the crested porcupine, it has got more in common with guinea pigs. Its quills are smooth but barbed. Moreover, it does not dig burrows, but climbs very well. In the trees, it seeks not only shelter from predators, but also its main food – buds, leaves, fruit, and flowers.

This porcupine species is a loner.

Also, it is one of the less common animals in European zoos. This porcupine species is, in fact, bred by 36 institutions with up to 90 individuals. Only eight cubs have been born in the last year, the Košice Zoo said.

Places to visit

  • Best cycle route in Europe runs through Slovakia

The Slovakia-Austria-Czech Republic part of the Iron Curtain Trail, known as EuroVelo 13, running across Europe, has been named the cycle route of 2021. The jury praised the cooperation of the three countries on the project and called Bratislava’s Old Town a ‘dream destination’.

Harmanec Cave near Banská Bystrica. The Slovak Caves Administration will reopen its 13 caves on May 15. Most visitors will need a negative Covid test and follow basic Covid rules such as wearing a face covering. Capacity limits will be in place as well. Harmanec Cave near Banská Bystrica. The Slovak Caves Administration will reopen its 13 caves on May 15. Most visitors will need a negative Covid test and follow basic Covid rules such as wearing a face covering. Capacity limits will be in place as well. (Source: TASR)
  • Ceiling inspired by Shakespeare’s works

The Košice State Theatre, opened in 1896 and designed by Adolf Lang, is one of the dominant features of the city centre in Košice. Many do not know that scenes from four of William Shakespeare’s tragedies, including Romeo and Juliet, illuminate the ceiling of the building.

  • Trip idea: Starý plášť

A 19 km long hike to Starý plášť mountain, through the Amon Meadow, starts under the castle Plavecký hrad. After following a few marked hiking paths, you take an unmarked forest path to reach the mountain, whose name means “old coat”.

The Mlyňany Arboretum of the Slovak Academy of Sciences is a protected area in the villages of Tesárske Mlyňany and Vieska, near Zlaté Moravce. It is open to the public all year round, except for some holidays. The Mlyňany Arboretum of the Slovak Academy of Sciences is a protected area in the villages of Tesárske Mlyňany and Vieska, near Zlaté Moravce. It is open to the public all year round, except for some holidays. (Source: TASR)
  • Bratislava almost lost its prominent feature

Bratislava Castle has four towers. True or false? There is only one real tower – the Crown Tower, others are turrets on the rooftop. Also, it is not true that the castle has a square floor plan, although it may appear so. Learn more about the history of the sight.

  • This weekend, Night of Museums and Galleries returns

Held on the third Saturday in May, many Slovak museums and galleries will take part in this European event on May 15. Some institutions will welcome visitors under strict Covid measures, but many have prepared a number of events in online spaces as well. See the 2021 programme.

More information about travelling in Slovakia
Please see our Spectacular Slovakia travel guide.
  • National theatre closes for major refurbishment

Opened in 1886, the old house of the Slovak National Theatre on Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava will be shutting down. The landmark, renovated almost 50 years ago, will undergo a major overhaul again. The new building stands by the Eurovea mall.

American museum weeding out Czechoslovak cars

The Nashville-based Lane Motor Museum, established in 2002 and specialising in European cars, is selling a number of vehicles, including those made in former Czechoslovakia, for storage limits.

“Some are in great condition, some are project cars, with others somewhere in between,” the museum said. “We would like to provide others with the opportunity to revive, restore, and enjoy these cars, rather than consigning them to decades of dark, dusty storage.”

Aero, Škoda, Tatra, Praga, Jawa and Velorex are the Czechoslovak car brands in the museum’s collections. Of them, four car models are now up for sale: Tatra 805, Aero 30, Tatra 613, and Tatra 75.

The last mentioned came out in 1934. It had been owned by one family for 76 years before being acquired by the museum. It is now selling the model for $20,000.

Another model, Aero 30, is for sale for $10,000. This car model was produced between 1928 and 1947. The company initially produced planes, but it became the fourth largest car manufacturer in the country.

The T-805 model, produced by Tatra in the fifties, can be purchased for $5,000. The 800 series represented special purpose vehicles and was sold to the military and construction industries, the museum said.

“This is not a vehicle for the casual driver. Performance is sluggish at best. As the driver sits right next to the engine, the heat and noise are appalling. Turning the steering wheel alone is a real workout.”

The museum is currently selling another Tatra model, 613, as well. The company intended to produce them for government officials in communist countries. The ‘limousine’ is for sale for €10,000. Over 11,000 cars were produced from 1973 to the late nineties, though only eleven cars were made in 1996.

Time to vote. Petržalka has installed first ballot bins

The Bratislava borough of Petržalka decided to place the first group of six ballot bins near important transport hubs to keep its streets butt-free.

By throwing a cigarette butt into one of the bins, inhabitants of the ward will be able to express their opinion on prepared questions and at the same time protect the environment. It can take up to 10 years for cigarette butts to decompose.

Through the project, Petržalka hopes to teach smokers that butts belong in bins, not on the ground. But non-smokers can get involved in the initiative and vote as well. They just need to pick up a butt from the ground.

The first ballot bins can be found near the intersection of Bosákova and Farského, Ovsištské námestie, and Osuského Street.

Swiss trams arrived at Bratislava port, now off to central Slovakia

Arriving in the port of Bratislava this week, the first batch of trams from Basel, Switzerland, should help develop green transport in Slovak regions in the future.

The trams reached the Slovak capital after three weeks, and they will now be sent off to central Slovakia by train. The whole transport, costing €250,000, is indeed more expensive than the trams.

The idea is to use them between Čierny Balog and Podbrezová, as well as on the southern side of the Chopok peak in the Low Tatras.

The Swiss trams, still in good technical condition, were manufactured 30 years ago, and ran in the north of Switzerland for years before the BLT public transport operator decided to replace the old track gauge with a new one, including trams.

In brief

  • Tourists: Bratislava has opened its Tourist Information Hub on Klobučnícka Street.
  • Beach: The Tyršák city beach in Bratislava, offering views on the Danube and the Old Town, will reopen on May 14.
  • Relax: The Sadni si! (have a seat) project returns to the Bratislava streets. Check out where you can find red chairs and tables to relax at, free of charge.
  • Fountain: Built in 1982, the Planet of Peace fountain in Hodža Square, right in front of the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, has been reconstructed.
  • Wild boar: Watch a video of wild pigs and their offspring taking a stroll through the town of Pezinok, near Bratislava.
  • Contest: The Milan Šimečka Foundation has announced the Art of Fjúžn visual arts open call. Until June 10, artists can submit their works that recount a story of the “world we have at home”. The condition is to capture the encounter, penetration and mixing of different cultures, intercultural coexistence, or cultural diversity of Slovakia.
  • Expedition: Romanian mountaineers Horia Colibasanu and Marius Gane, and their Slovak partner Peter Hámor, survived an avalanche in the Himalayas that hit their tent and buried them in the snow.
  • Park: A new park is being created on Račianska Street in Bratislava’s Nové Mesto ward area.

Weekend read: Honey bees taking over Bratislava

Tens of beehives have been placed in and around the Slovak capital. For example, the city council's bees produced about 40 kg of honey last year, and it is said to taste like Bratislava. The city plans to increase the number of apiaries in the future and support biodiversity in this way. The idea of city bees was popularised in Slovakia only a few years ago.

Slovaks’ roots wrapped up in a song

The music band Iconito from eastern Slovakia has teamed up with the folk ensemble Zemplín, founded in 1957, to record the Korene (roots) song.

For the beautiful single, lyrically and musically, artists also filmed a video in which a viewer can see spectacular shots from six different Slovak regions and various folk costumes. Myjava, Podpoľanie, Horehronie, Kysuce, Zemplín and the region of Goral are all portrayed in the video through a handful of tools and elements typical for these regions.

Iconito and Zemplín would like to indeed expand their collaboration to an even bigger project and promote Slovak traditions and folklore among young people in Slovakia and abroad.

That is it. Thank you for reading the Spectacular Slovakia weekly roundup. Have a lovely weekend. See you next Friday.

- Peter @PeterDlhopolec

Have you got any tips? You can reach Peter at peter.dlhopolec@spectator.sk.

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