Friday, February 11, 2011

Beautiful Towns # 4 - Vlkolínec, Slovakia

Vlkolínec is a traditional mountain village of rustic log cottages found a few kilometres south of the Slovak town of Ružomberok. The village of 45 homes lies in the Velka Fatra mountains beneath a peak known as Sidorovo. The name of the village is most likely taken from the Slovak word "vlk" meaning "wolf", and may refer to a place where wolves were trapped. The earliest record of the village dates from 1376, and the settlement came under the administration of the town of Ružomberok in 1882. During the second world war the village was used as a base by Slovak partisans fighting the Nazis, and about one-third of the village was burned by the Germans during the fighting. In 1993 the village became a UNESCO heritage site on the basis of being a perfectly preserved example of a Carpathian mountain village with extensive folk architecture. Nowadays the cottages of the village remain much as they were a century ago, still without piped running water. A stream runs down the centre of the main street where a communal well made of logs provides a water source for the inhabitants. One of the most unique features that can be seen in the settlement is a wooden belfry that dates from 1770. There are also a number of wooden folk carvings of peasants in traditional costume set up as statues near the entrance to the village.

The village is best reached from the town of Ružomberok on a walk through the hills along marked trails that takes from 70 to 90 minutes depending on the trail you choose. There is no public transport access to the village, although it can be reached by car. There is a car park 100 metres below the village, as there is no tourist vehicle access into the village itself.


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