SPECTACULAR SLOVAKIA WEEKLY

New Bratislava exhibit takes you to 1930s Slovak America

Culture, sports and travel stories rounded up in one place.

Dancers perform in the streets of Trenčín, spotlighting the architecture of the city.Dancers perform in the streets of Trenčín, spotlighting the architecture of the city. (Source: Radovan Stoklasa/TASR)

This week, we are writing about a new Slovak Institute in Jerusalem, an open-air display in Bratislava, and jellyfishes in Teplý Vrch.


Slovak actor Milan Lasica (right), portrayed on a wall in Prievidza alongside his friend and colleague Július Satinský, passed away at the age of 81 on July 18, 2021. Slovak actor Milan Lasica (right), portrayed on a wall in Prievidza alongside his friend and colleague Július Satinský, passed away at the age of 81 on July 18, 2021. (Source: Radovan Stoklasa/TASR)

Slovak Institute to open in Jerusalem

In addition to eight Slovak Institutes around the world, Slovakia will open another one in Jerusalem on September 1.

The institution should strengthen mutual relations and cooperation between Slovakia and Israel with an emphasis on culture, art, and tourism.

“The Slovak Institute will be a meeting place for all those who are interested in Slovakia and the many opportunities we offer for cooperation,” Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok said.

More than 10,000 Slovaks work and live in Israel, hundreds of Slovak students study in the country, and more than 20,000 Slovak tourists visit Israel every ear.

The Slovak embassy remains seated in Tel Aviv. Korčok stressed Slovakia does not want to change its position on the Middle East peace process with the establishment of the institute, which is in line with UN Security Council resolutions and internationally agreed parametres.

In other news:

  • Some Hungarians prefer to avoid speaking Hungarian in public as they are concerned about the negative attitudes of some Slovaks, Slovak-Hungarian writer Tímea Krekovič Beck says in an interview with Nina Hrabovská Francelová.

  • The number of Hungarians in Slovakia who state their allegiance to the Hungarian minority has decreased. But the Hungarian language retains a strong presence in the lives of families in Slovakia, particularly in the south.


Slovak America in Bratislava

The “Journey through Slovak America” exhibition, which has been launched this week in Bratislava, presents the cultural mission of the delegation from Matica slovenská, a cultural institution focusing on the Slovak nation, to cities in the USA and Canada in the years 1935-36.

The display will remain under the canopy of trees on Hviezdoslav Square until the end of July.

It was this trip that helped nurture relations with Slovaks overseas, although this connection has been declining steadily in the past years.

The small delegation, which writer Jozef Cíger Hronský and cinematographer and folklorist Karol Plicka were a part of, spent several months abroad and visited towns near New York, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.

The delegation prepared hundreds of presentations and displays on folklore, literature, art, history, and life in Slovakia, and they also carried 40,000 books and 6,500 magazines with them to America. While overseas, they collected documentary materials about American Slovaks as well.

Cíger Hronský wrote in his book about travels around America that Slovakia should never forget and always care about the Slovak community in America. He even worked out a cultural plan for Slovak America.

“He put an emphasis on the regular exchange of people between the Slovak and Slovak-American environments,” Zuzana Pavelcová from Matica slovenská said.

Related: Dive into Jozef Cíger Hronský's observations about Slovak America at the turn of centuries.

BRATISLAVA IN SHORT

  • The Rainbow Pride festival in Bratislava will be streamed online on July 24.

  • During the bombing of the Apollo refinery in Bratislava in June 1944, Americans dropped 369 tons of bombs, similar to the one found on July 20 on Chalupkova Street in Bratislava, Peter Šumichrast from the Institute of Military History said. Unexploded WWII bombs may still be buried underground. (TASR)

  • The reconstruction of Michael’s Tower gets underway, and a statue on its top is ready to reveal its secrets after 170 years.

  • Aspremont Summer Palace is one of the most beautiful garden palaces in the capital, designed and built in 1769 by Johann Joseph Tallher.

Bathers fascinated with jellyfishes

Thousands of small white freshwater jellyfishes are thriving in the Teplý Vrch reservoir in the south of central Slovakia. The water here is the warmest in the country.

Experts said that a freshwater jellyfish is not harmful and does not produce any toxic substances. On the other hand, it acts like a “small treatment plant” because it eats plankton.

The Slovak Water Management Company has registered the invasive jellyfish, which originates in China, in the reservoir for the past three years.

However, this species of jellyfish was first observed in Slovakia much earlier - in the 1960s in the dried-up branches of the Danube in the town of Gabčíkovo. Thirty years ago, the aquatic animal appeared in the Štiavnické vrchy protected landscape area as well.

Related: Pick a spot for a swim in Slovakia or in Bratislava.

OTHER TRAVEL NEWS

  • A website with a traffic light system has been launched to help tourists discover uncrowded places in Slovak nature, including national parks.

  • Domica Cave is closed after recent heavy rainfall, but it should reopen on July 24.

  • In keeping with the Andrássy family’s exotic hunting tastes, various rooms in Betliar Mansion depict the thrill of the kill.

  • A number of summer trains have been launched across the country to make it easier to reach popular tourist spots. Check out a map and complete list of trains, which will be in operation until September 19.

SPECTACULAR SLOVAKIA PODCAST

The latest travel podcast episode puts a spotlight on the quintessential Slovak region of Kysuce in the north of the country. Three different guests, including two foreigners from Portugal and South Africa, unveil some of the beauties of this region.


A weekend read

Talented and narcissistic, Štefánik is a hero for Slovaks

Milan Rastislav Štefánik, who was born this week 141 years ago, was a narcissist who mastered the skill of twisting people around his finger and turned himself into a legend.

“He was extremely ambitious,” said historian Michal Kšiňan. “He loved creating a legend about himself.”

The Slovak statesman, who is regarded as the most prominent Slovak, was great at moulding his legend. Find out how he managed to become a hero and what strategy he used.


Olympics

Small but with high hopes: Team Slovakia

Slovakia is sending its smallest Olympic team in history to Tokyo, where the Summer Olympics start on July 23. The hopes for those athletes attending the sporting event are high, pinned on shooters, cyclists, and water sport athletes.

Team Slovakia has 41 athletes; archer Denisa Baránková is the youngest and golf player Rory Sabbatini from South Africa is the oldest. But what sports does Slovakia have a chance to win medals in?

Related: Slovakia's Olympic representation will have two flag bearers at the opening ceremony.


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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