SPECTACULAR SLOVAKIA WEEKLY

A tank road in Turiec remains a hidden gem for cyclists

There is a lot to read about in the new Spectacular Slovakia roundup.

A tank road outside Martin remains a hidden gem for cyclists who do not live in the Turiec region.A tank road outside Martin remains a hidden gem for cyclists who do not live in the Turiec region. (Source: Richard Pouš/Facebook)

Hello. This week, we are writing about a tank road outside Martin, a new statue in Sabinov, and Bratislava as the cheapest city for retirees in our Spectacular Slovakia weekly roundup.


Slovakia's farewell to the championships

The US ice hockey team ended Slovakia’s wild ride at the world championships in Riga, Latvia, on June 3, 2021, when they beat the Slovaks 6:1.

Watch the June 3 match highlights in the video below.

It was only the second time that Slovakia faced the USA in the quarter-finals at the world championships. In 2000, Slovakia defeated the US team.


To conquer a Martin tank road, a bike is necessary

Even though the efforts to connect a firing range for tanks outside Martin with ammunition depots in the city were hindered by the 1989 revolution, the unfinished road now serves other vehicles – bikes.

To reach the tank road, cyclists first need to follow a green-marked cycling route starting in the city and leading to the Podstráne area where the Podháj barracks are based, and where the road begins. Once they cycle out of the woods above the nearby Bystrička borough, cyclists will experience spectacular views of Martin and parts of the Fatra mountains, which dominate the Turiec tourism region.

The Defence Ministry owned the old tank road before it decided to gift it to Martin in 2010.

Along the concrete, 15-kilometre-long way for cyclists, which is damaged, for the most part, a few lookout towers have been built. There are also several interesting places to visit in the villages that lie near the road. For example, a former summer residence of the Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garyk Masaryk can be found in Bystrička and a mine tunnel and a Renaissance manor house are located near the village of Trebostovo.

The tank road continues from Trnovo to Trebostovo, and then to other villages such as Turčiansky Peter and Košťany nad Turcom. A field road starting at the end of Košťany nad Turcom then takes cyclists back to the city of Martin, which played an important role in the history of Slovak people for a long time.

OTHER TRAVEL IDEAS

  • Hike: The Southern Hiking Trail stretching along the Hungarian border is a challenging walk that also serves as a cycling route.
  • Garden: Plants originating from Indonesia and Argentina give visitors of the Košice botanical garden the feeling of being in a rainforest.
  • Ferrata: The town of Kremnica will open the via ferrata Komín (chimney) and the via ferrata World in the Skalka area on Saturday, June 5, after being closed for the winter.
  • Bridge: Despite a name change, SNP Bridge continues to attract tourists looking for splendid views of the Slovak capital and sky-walking.
  • Park: A manor house in Dolná Krupá, Trnava Region, is under reconstruction, but its historical park dotted with rose plants is open. On Saturday, June 5, living statues Ludwig van Beethoven and the ‘rose countess’ Mária Henrieta Choteková will also visit the place.
  • Tower: Tourists and locals can enjoy a view of the city of Levoča from the tower of St Jacob Basilica after it has been reopened to the public.
  • Walking tour: Visitors to the Tatras region can explore the history of popular settlements, including Štrbské Pleso, Vyšné Hágy and Starý Smokovec, during guided walking tours in the month of June. The first tour, recounting the history of Tatranská Lomnica, takes place on June 5.

Hugging Anton Brtko

Sabinov is a small eastern Slovak town that foreigners have not heard of, and yet its nickname – “The Oscar Town” – urges everyone to visit it and explore the Walk of The Shop on Main Street, which will soon be completed with a statue of the film’s main character, Anton Brtko.

The walk, which tells the story of the only Oscar-winning film from Slovakia, Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street, 1966), has eleven stops. Today, the sculptor Juraj Karniš is finishing work on the 12th stop, the statue. Brtko, portrayed by actor Jozef Kroner in the film, should stand on 68 Liberty Square.

Karniš initially wanted to raise €82,500 for the project, but he has received around €17,000 to date from donors. Believing in his idea, unlike the town’s officials, he decided to borrow money and create the statue, which should be placed on the Sabinov promenade this summer.

The importance of the picture to the town and its locals, who appeared in the film, was highlighted in the summer of 2016, on the 50th anniversary of the Oscar win, when a statue inspired by the Oscar statuette and created by Juraj Andraščík was unveiled in a park. However, it holds no sword but rather an important prop used in the film – a button, as the story set in the times of the inter-war Slovak state, in part, takes place in a local haberdashery.

Although Karniš is convinced that the Brtko statue will attract more tourists to Sabinov, the artist also hopes to repay his debt as soon as possible:

“The statue is already cast in bronze, but I need to return money to many people who lent it to me,” the sculptor told the Denník N daily, noting that people can still support his project.

Related: Hidden in a deposit for 50 years, artwork celebrating Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony will be installed in a public space in Piešťany.

Other developments this week:

  • Villages issue warnings to locals and tourists as mating season begins. Read how to minimise your chances of meeting a bear.
  • Transparency International Slovensko has published a ranking of excellent and problematic hotels in Slovakia.
  • The city of Prešov has published its very first English-language workbook that helps people learn English and explore the city at the same time. You can download it here.
  • The international theatre festival Zámocké hry zvolenské kicks off over the weekend at Zvolen Castle. The festival will end on June 20.
  • Singer-songwriter Dagmar Mišíková, known under her stage name Lotta, has released her first EP Seafarer through Deadred Records.
  • Thousands of trees were planted in the village of Horovce, Trenčín Region, forming the Slovak national emblem.
  • The Dinopark, where people can admire dozens of life-size dinosaur models, has been part of Bratislava Zoo for 17 years. The zoo decided to end its cooperation with the park over legal shortcomings in the contract. (TASR)

Next week’s partial solar eclipse

It will not be as good a performance as in Siberia, Greenland and northern Canada, but still, people in Slovakia can look forward to another partial solar eclipse.

“Due to the distance of the Moon from the Earth, this will not be a total solar eclipse. Not even in Siberia or Canada,” said Ján Svoreň from the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

People can observe the partial solar eclipse on June 10. The Moon will then cover 12 percent of the solar disk in the northwest of Slovakia and nine percent in the southwest.

The solar eclipse begins two minutes after midday. The maximum phase of the eclipse occurs at 12:47 and ends at 13:34. When observing this celestial phenomenon, the basic rule is not to look directly at the sun with one's naked eye, or through binoculars or sunglasses.

Another partial solar eclipse will be visible from Slovakia next year, in October 2022, Svoreň noted. The moon will cover 31 percent of the solar disk in the southwest and 39 percent in the northeast of Slovakia.


BRATISLAVA

The Slovak capital is a prime location for those looking to retire on a budget

It may not come as surprise to Slovaks that their country is the least prepared for retirement, but there is one thing retirees in Bratislava can look forward to according to a new study by Audley Villages.

“Despite ranking the lowest overall when looking at retirement readiness, Bratislava scores consistently well when it comes to the price of property, fitness club memberships and the price of a three-course meal - making it the cheapest city when it comes to retirement living,” Audley Villages said.

The firm added that 91.3 percent of individuals in Bratislava own their own property. A couple will spend around $41.50 for a meal out and around $66.56 for joint monthly fitness club fees. However, it is Ankara where retirees can enjoy the cheapest three-course meals. The Turkish capital also boasts the cheapest property prices.

Audley Villages added that Bratislava has one of the smallest retirement communities with just 40,677 people over 65. Although the city offers the cheapest lifestyle for retirees, the Slovak capital came last with one of the lowest life expectancies, at 78 years.

Slovakia ended up at the bottom of the overall table of countries, in 37th place.

The study looked into a variety of metrics, including retirement age, government pension initiatives and the health grade of the 37 OECD countries and capital cities.

In brief:

  • More than 20 different organisations have prepared a chain of events under the Solstice on the Danube, and a number of events are suitable for English speakers.
  • Austrian photographer Otto Hainzl’s exhibit of his work “Europastrasse” is open at the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava until July 4.
  • The Račanská lokálka tourist train is back on the roads in the Slovak capital, taking visitors on a trip around local vineyards.
  • In the Bratislava streets, locals and tourists can admire 12 black-and-white pictures of the capital taken by photographer Anton Šmotlák in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • The American singer LP, who is behind the hits Lost on You and Girls Go Wild, will return to Bratislava to play a show in July 2022.
  • The World Music Festival Bratislava, presenting music from different parts of the globe, will be held online from June 10 to 13. The Gurdjieff Ensemble from Armenia and Iberi from Georgia are just some of the acts partaking in the event.

A read for your weekend

“Too different” relationships are not fashionable in Slovakia yet

Ethnologist Silvia Letavajová from the Department of Cultural Management and Tourism of the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra has dedicated her work to traditions, migration and new minorities in Slovakia.

When she decided to look at people’s notions of marriages between foreigners and Slovaks, she realised that people look at religion, ethnicity and race rather than language.

In an interview with The Slovak Spectator, she talks about why some nationalities tend to be more acceptable to Slovaks than others.


That is it for now. Thanks for joining me. Have a great weekend. - Peter

Do you have any tips? You can reach Peter at peter.dlhopolec@spectator.sk.

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