Date updated: 05/19/2023
Slovakia has preserved unchanged villages that have become ethnographic museums. One such village is Vlkolinets (Vlkolínec). It was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993. Vlkolínec is an example of wooden architecture, typical of the architecture of settlements in the northern part of the Carpathians.
History of the village of Vlkolinets (Vlkolínec)
Vlkolínec was first mentioned in 1376. The locals built houses by using the woods in the mountains. Nearby, clay could be found to fill in cracks and level walls. Log huts were covered with wooden tiles. In addition to carpentry work, the Slovaks were also engaged in cattle breeding, hunting and various crafts.
In the 14th century there were few houses and they were mentioned as part of the Ružomberok municipality. Documents from the beginning of the 17th century mention nine huts. The main part of the village complex was built in the 19th century.
Time has not touched Vlkolinets (Vlkolínec) , so the original building type is of interest to modern man as a museum masterpiece.
Location of Vlkolinec village
The individual character of the village has been preserved thanks to the remoteness of Vlkolínc from major roads. The village is situated on the eastern side of the Veľká Fatra mountain range, at an altitude of 718 metres above sea level. The rocky peak of Sidorovo shelters the village.
The ranges of the Veľká Fatra are picturesque. Groves of beech, fir and yew grow here, less frequently spruce. Many rare plants and flowers are to be found here. The steep cliffs made of karst rocks around are spectacular. Not far away, in the National Park, is the thermal pool of Bešeňova.
The log cabins, unusual in their architecture, look attractive against the green backdrop of forests and fields. The name of the village comes from the wolves that used to inhabit the forests of Greater Fatra. There is an opinion that the translation of the village's name comes from the area around the picturesque mountain peaks.
The village of Vlkolinets (Vlkolínec) is entirely a museum rarity. The houses here are not transported from various parts of the country, but built by the inhabitants over the previous centuries. Some of the houses are still inhabited by those who could not leave this beautiful place.
The exterior structure of a Slovakian hut is interesting:
1. The logs are placed on a foundation of butte.
2. The gabled pointed roofs are covered with wooden slats.
3. The walls are clayed and whitewashed. From afar, the green, blue and yellow walls, set on painted foundations, catch the eye.
4. For frames and plinths, colours are chosen that contrast with the house walls.
The houses are decorated with horns, horseshoes, animal figures and hanging flowerpots. The houses stand on narrow streets next to each other.
The empty huts of Vlkolinets (Vlkolínec) have preserved their interior furnishings. There are everyday objects from the Slavs of the past centuries.
The logs inside the houses are whitewashed. The wooden floor is not painted. One log cabin, built in 1886, houses an exhibition of old furniture and utensils from the Liptovské múzeum. Another chalet houses an exhibit of household items and tools. Some of the furniture was made by the inhabitants of the village. There is a bed and a cradle for a child, a robust table and chairs on bent legs. On the walls there are framed photographs and embroidery. There is also an antique shelf of blackened wood for dishes, and a stand for spoons and ladles. There is a weaving loom, and on the floor are mats woven by the village's craftsmen.
Wooden, clay utensils were used for household chores. It can be seen in barns on benches and shelves, in the kitchens of houses, near the stove.
Outbuildings were erected next to the wooden huts. They were used to store implements and keep livestock. The floors were not covered with wood. The floor was leveled with dry clay. In the barns there were separate places for storage of grain and vegetables. There were no cellars in the houses. And milk was dipped into a well to keep it fresh.
Visitors will see how a house was divided into 2 or 3 rooms inside, how villagers lived and what they did in the Slovak mountains at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The original objects of the museum complex:
In the centre of Vlkolinets (Vlkolínec) is a log winch. It is used to lift water from a well or a well. Water is supplied to the inhabitants of the village by water pumps located along the streets.
A tree darkened over the years conceals a two-storey bell tower, built in the 1770s. Nearby is a functioning school. It houses a folk art gallery.
The only stone building in the village is the single-nave Chapel of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Kostol Navštívenia Panny Márie), whose appearance can be seen on the wall next to the entrance door. There is a cemetery nearby. The gravestones and crosses are still in ruins.
The villagers were renowned for their skills in creating wooden figures. On the streets there are expressive sculptures depicting rural housewives and merry men. At the entrance to Vlkolínec there is a figure of a dignified Slovak woman.
Next to the houses are benches where you can sit and admire the beauty of the surrounding nature.
The Vlkolínec museum architecture complex includes 73 exhibits. More than 50 of them are houses. Even relics such as the hay barn and farmstead behind the village are protected.
As part of Ružomberok, the village of Vlkolínec is 6 kilometres apart.
The village is of the two-row type. Two streets branch off from the middle of the village. One leads to the church and the other to the Sidorovo Mountain. The height of the mountain is 1099 metres.
Vlkolínec belongs to the Veľká Fatra National Park. On leaving the village, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Carpathian peaks, admire the unique nature monuments. The yew grove is a special tourist attraction.
The exhibits of the village, such as the well, the church and the school, were built in 1860. The architectural style of the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Kostol Navštívenia Panny Márie) combines Baroque and Classicism.
The museum complex hosts folklore festivals, basket-weaving and weaving workshops.
The wooden architecture of the Slovak village of Vlkolínec, close to all Slavs, is attractive for its uniqueness. The open-air museum tells the story of Slovak life in the past centuries.