SPECTACULAR SLOVAKIA WEEKLY

Police have finally found a very old book, arresting alchemy buffs

Set out on a Malá Fatra hike, avoid the Bratislava cable car from Monday.

The operation of the cable car from Kamzík to Železná Studnička in Bratislava will be temporarily interrupted due to reconstruction from September 27.The operation of the cable car from Kamzík to Železná Studnička in Bratislava will be temporarily interrupted due to reconstruction from September 27. (Source: TASR)

Hello. This week, we are writing about new Slovak music, the hike to Minčol, and a book theft case that has finally been solved.



Literature

Old book theft solved

An historical object from the 17th century, a rare book of alchemy, has returned home, to a library in Kežmarok, eastern Slovakia, after the police managed to find the thieves of the book.

"The Kežmarok District Police have accused a man and a woman from the Levice district of the crime of theft and the crime of falsifying objects of cultural value," the police said.

The theft of the book, which is considered a symbol of national cultural heritage, occurred in June 2016.

The police added that the accused woman had taken advantage of the inattention of a librarian and stole the original book block out of the original binding and exchanged it together with her accomplice for a sophisticated copy. The counterfeit had been regarded as an original until March of this year when the library wanted to restore the book.

"The book has been returned to the Lutheran Church in Slovakia," the police added.

The man and the woman confessed to the crime, saying they had committed it because they were passionate about alchemy.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS FROM THIS WEEK

  • Statue: A 'Town Musicians of Bremen' statue has been unveiled in Bratislava.
  • Bat: A rare bat, the greater noctule, has found shelter in the Muránska Planina national park.
  • Writer: Slovak writer Anton Marec, who wrote 30 books and devoted his life to the High Tatras, died at the age of 68.
  • USA: The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has opened the Treasures of Slovakia display, recounting the story of Slovakia from the 16th century onwards. Visitors can find Alexander Dubček's eyeglasses, Communist posters and Martin Benka artwork here among other things. The display will last until March 2022.
  • Piano: A public piano has been placed in downtown Prešov, where residents and visitors can sit and play some good music.

  • Charity: People in Bratislava danced on September 23 to help children in need, but anyone can donate money towards the purchase of an electric hydraulic platform for the Studienka centre.
  • Restoration: Evening walks on this Bratislava square are pure magic thanks to old lanterns.

Travel

Off to Minčol

During the Second World War, battles took place around Minčol due to its strategic location.

To get to the 1,364-metre-high Minčol peak in the Žilina Region, hikers can set out on their trip from several directions – Vrútky, Martin, Turie or Višňové.

Those who start in Višňové, a village near the city of Žilina, must follow a blue marked hiking trail, which starts at a parking space at the end of the village. It takes 30 minutes to reach the Holý Diel area, where several cottages can be found. From here, it takes two hours to reach the peak.

As usual, at the top of the peak, a cross was erected in the past. From the hilltop, hikers can enjoy views of the towns of Vrútky, Martin and Žilina, as well as the Malá Fatra and Veľká Fatra mountain ranges.

All trails to Minčol are open throughout the year, and hikers can continue up to Strečno Castle or to Veľká Lúka, which is the highest peak of the Lúčanská Malá Fatra.

Višňové Blue Trail: Višňové – Pod Hoblíkom – Chaty pod Holým Dielom – Pod Dolnou Rovňou - Minčol

Vrútky Blue Trail: Vrútky, Piatrová – Kamenná Dolina, Ústie – Diaľna – Sedlo Okopy - Minčol

OTHER TRAVEL NEWS

  • Pictures of the first snow in the Low Tatras have been posted on Facebook by the Jasná ski resort.
  • A petting zoo with macaws has opened in Banská Bystrica.

  • With the end of the summer season, visiting courtyards at Bojnice Castle in the evening will not be possible after September 25.

  • The operation of the cable car from Kamzík to Železná Studnička in Bratislava will be temporarily interrupted due to reconstruction. Renovation work will start on Monday, September 27. It is tentatively scheduled for 40 days.


Music

Alapastel to release a new album on US label

When Slovak composer Lukáš Bulko, better known under his stage name Alapastel, released his debut album Hidden for the Eyes in 2018, critics and fans alike praised his work. Three years on, he is about to drop a new album called Ceremony.

"Immediately upon listening to the demo it became clear that Ceremony was unlike any album we'd heard before," the American label Lost Tribe Sound said. They added the album was built from mammoth sound objects, carved from organic sources, that felt so palpable that one could reach out and touch them.

Bulko describes the intention of his new record is to facilitate a transformative experience. Much of Ceremony was written to highlight his interest in Indigenous Peoples' ability to survive using sustainable methods passed down over thousands of years. Bulko's work with Fairtrade International has nurtured this connection and belief that adopting these ancient practices is the key to continued life on this planet.

Ceremony utilises a wide array of instrumentation commonly used in ceremonies and rituals. Many of them find their origins in a variety of Indigenous cultures from around the globe. The compositions deliberately work with an eclectic tonal palette and an intuitive sense of timing to guide the listener into unfamiliar territory. The fluidity and ease at which Bulko weaves in new voices and phrasing into the musical landscape is perhaps the album's most jaw-dropping achievement.

Listen to some of the tracks here or watch a teaser for the album filmed in Spain on YouTube.

WHAT'S ON

  • Festival: The Ukraine Days event takes place in Košice until September 30.
  • Music: The park of the manor house in Dolná Krupá, near Trnava, will host an event on September 25 at which Slovak performers will play compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. Purchase a ticket here.
  • Film: The international documentary festival One World will take place November 5-11 at several Bratislava venues. One of the films that will be screened is Vera Lacková's How I Became a Partisan, which recounts the story of Roma partisans participating in the 1944 Slovak National Uprising.
  • Display: Until the end of September, Hviezdoslav Square is hosting an exhibition of works created by illustrators awarded at the 2019 Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

Weekend read

Foreigners questioned the Bratislava mayor

Is Bratislava, a historically multicultural city, as diverse as it used to be? Do foreigners have a loud enough voice in local government?

Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo answered these and some other questions in a discussion with foreigners earlier this week. Vallo, whose first term as mayor ends in the autumn of 2023, declared that making Bratislava a more integrated city is a priority for him until the end of his term.

He said so during the first public debate with foreigners in English, the Q&A with the Mayor event that took place on September 21 as part of the multi-genre festival [fjúžn] organised by the non-governmental Milan Šimečka Foundation.

"An important question is how are we going to use the energy of foreigners to improve the future of Bratislava," Vallo told the discussion participants.


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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