Wednesday, 13 June 2007
After being told that Čičmany was a 50 minute bike ride away, Lubos and I set out on what ended up being a 80 kilometre round trip! My arse is still killing me.
Tucked neatly into the forested hills of Zilina is Cicmany, the first town in the world to be declared a Reserve of Folk Architecture. The alpine town is renown for its wooden houses adorned with unique hand-painted designs.
Ironically, the history of Čičmany is rooted in a need to be hidden. In the late 13th century, the Tartars were destroying and pillaging Slovakia, forcing local villagers - including the Cic family, hence the town's name - to seek sanctuary. They found refuge in this remote mountain valley and settled into a traditional Slovak lifestyle.
The fact that the village still stands today is a miracle. In 1921, fire completely destroyed the town and the villagers rebuilt - only to have occupying Nazi soldiers set the village ablaze again during World War II.
In Slovakia if a woman (or man) is wearing excessive make-up, the local saying is, 'She is done up like a Čičmany house"! I actually thought it meant your looks were smouldering, like a Čičmany house after the Nazi's have torched it - LOL!