Weekend: Chess legend to open a display in Bratislava

Your weekend reads, including bike trips and Bratislava news, rounded up in one place.

On October 1, 2021, the Košice State Theatre presented the premiere of Gaetano Doinizetti's opera 'Robeto Devereux.' On October 1, 2021, the Košice State Theatre presented the premiere of Gaetano Doinizetti's opera 'Robeto Devereux.' (Source: Milan Kapusta/TASR)

This week, we are writing about the Garage, the best photos of 2020, and bike trips in Banská Bystrica Region. You can read several interviews at the end of the roundup.


Garage serving as a temporary culture hub

For decades, people have been using garages for more than just storage.

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It's not uncommon now for new music talents to be born out of a garage, and the city of Trenčín, in its bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2026, is taking it a step further. Young people in the city, in particular skaters, now have access to a garage created by the city to host events and help shape the cultural life in Trenčín.

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This is not the first time the Garage will be used for music events, though. Provided by Pohoda Festival, it has been used as the smallest stage at the Trenčín-based summer festival for a long time.

Located in the Trenčín skatepark, the fully equipped Garage will serve as a local community venue throughout October and November.

“Now, the skatepark’s young users have both the technical means, physical place, and mental space to get creative,” said Trenčín 2026’s Outreach Manager Veronika Žák Sučanská, adding the Trenčín 2026 team will assist local youth in organising events if necessary.

If the city wins the European title, the Garage will travel around the city as a ‘pop-up’ venue serving different art groups and communities.

Other developments from this week:

  • Voising, a Slovak a cappella band, has released a music video paying tribute to the iconic TV show Friends. Listen to their rendition of I’ll be there for you below.


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Cycling up and down Banská Bystrica Region

The longest European tunnel that has a cycling road running through it is just one of almost 140 bike trips that visitors to the Banská Bystrica Region can choose from.

To attract more tourists, in particular bike enthusiasts, the region launched a two-month contest in early September, motivating people to cycle to one of eight proposed trips with weekly prizes. All they need to do is post a picture from any of the eight trips on Instagram with some necessary hashtags. Moreover, in late October, one person will win a weekend family holiday in central Slovakia.

The tunnel is not the only interesting spot for a bike trip. Cyclists can also ride to other parts of the region, visiting houses carved into rocks, a geopark, the stone sea, or even a waterfall.

You can find all the necessary information in Slovak, including maps and photos, here.

Other travel ideas:

  • The Trenčianske Teplice spa town is magical, and so are the Strážovské Vrchy hills surrounding it. Here is what to see in the region.


Best pictures capture Slovakia of 2020

When Hungarian photographer Simon Moricz-Sabjan took a picture of a woman celebrating New Year’s Eve in front of a laptop screen during the pandemic and also captured the pandemic life in Hungary and the life of a poor Hungarian family in the town of Csanytelek, he had no idea his photos would sweep this year’s Slovak Press Photo contest.

In addition to poverty and anti-government protests, Covid as a theme dominated among photographers’ works. Daniel Stehlík’s picture of last year’s mass testing in Slovakia won the Grand Prix award in August.

“Photography can be proof that something is real, and it is really happening,” said Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen. The man who chaired this year’s Slovak Press Photo jury added: “People sometimes seem to need photos to believe it is true.”

Slovak Press Photo has now published winners in all categories, both for a single photo and a series. Have a look at the pictures of Bratislava, photos of young photographers, and pictures capturing moments from the world of culture, sports, as well as the environment.

All the photographs are displayed on the Rázusovo Nábrežie waterfront in Bratislava until the end of October. Some works are also exhibited on Komenský Square and in Zichy Palace.

Bratislava in short:

  • Bratislava will buy the rare baroque furniture of the iconic Salvator pharmacy from its current owner. The pharmacy could thus offer the full experience of what it once was. ​

  • Bratislava in Movement, the international festival of contemporary dance, will start on October 4. Only fully vaccinated people can attend the event.

  • Ľubomír Rehák, Slovak ambassador to Russia, tweeted on September 27 that former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov would open an exhibition of his post stamps collection in Bratislava in October.
  • The theatre festival New Drama will take place in Bratislava on October 11-16, but theatres from abroad will showcase their craft online.

  • The monument of the unknown soldier could be installed on the Rázusovo Nábrežie waterfront in Bratislava. The capital, the Old Town borough, and the Defense Ministry consider the locality to be convenient. Last year, the ministry proposed to replace the statue of Marek Čulen with the monument.


She left ballet and Ukraine behind and became a tattoo artist in Slovakia

Slovakia was not a place where Olesia “Les” Paskarenko, as a 17-year-old, wanted to be sent away by her parents, but six years on the Ukrainian tattoo artist calls it her home even though she feels like an immigrant here sometimes.

“Things changed two years ago when I moved to Bratislava,” she said in flawless Slovak. She sits in a chair in her cosy Bratislava Old Town attic flat with her makeshift tattoo studio behind her, the premises on the ground floor of the same building transformed into her permanent atelier. “But every time I renew my visa, that feeling of being an immigrant comes back.”

It took the young artist, and a rebel at heart, a long time to realise why a police officer and a former accountant would want their daughter to leave Ukraine - Slovakia’s neighbouring country - and study abroad.

“They wanted to provide me with a better life,” Paskarenko said. “They told me, ‘You should not waste this opportunity. A handful of people get it. We didn’t.’”

And so, in 2015, with a large suitcase and a knit market bag in her hands, the Ukrainian teenager left her hometown of Odessa and set out on a cinematic adventure.

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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