Friday, February 11, 2011
Quirky and Unusual Sights # 1 - The Andy Warhol Museum in Medzilaborce, Slovakia
In a remote corner of eastern Slovakia stands one of the country's stranger places of interest - the Andy Warhol Museum in the town of Medzilaborce. Andy Warhol (whose real name was Andrej Warchola) was born in Pittsburgh, USA, but his parents originally came from the small Rusyn village of Miková, 17km north-west of Medzilaborce. After fame and fortune arrived, Warhol never publicly spoke about his Slovak/Rusyn origins, even though he could speak Rusyn fluently. He always claimed that he "came from nowhere". The museum was founded in 1991 by members of Warhol's family, despite strong criticism from the conservative local community at the time. Many neighbouring residents wanted nothing to do with a decadent American artist and his images of blatant capitalist excess. The townsfolk were later won over by the potential of the museum to attract tourist visitors, and today the museum sits in Andy Warhol square (formerly Lenin square), and a Warhol soup tin-shaped bus stop shelter faces the road in front of it. Mural paintings of Warhol's silkscreen designs can also be seen on the sides of several buildings in the town.
Medzilaborce is best reached by train from the town of Humenné, which has transport links to most parts of the country. Local buses run between Medzilaborce and Miková a few times per day.