by Yana Yovcheva - 3 years ago
Once upon a time, this quiet village was a busy mining center. Miners built their houses in a very specific architectural style with lots of wooden details complementing whitewashed walls. In 1979, what was left of the traditional houses was proclaimed a Reservation of Folk Architecture. As it is situated in the mountains, the terrain is rather hilly, and comfortable walking shoes are a must. The Transfiguration of Our Lord church on top of the hill is probably one of the oldest buildings in the region – dating back to 1254. The 162 wooden steps leading to it offer curious views from the small windows carved in the shapes of Christian symbols into its walls.
Another remarkable building is the Chapel of the Holy Crypt from the 17th century – a miniature copy of the Holy Crypt in Jerusalem and the only one preserved in Slovakia. Christianity was apparently an important part of miners’ lives, as can be seen from the tiny altar at the entrance of the mine too. Apart from religious sites, though, the mining past of the village is on display at the mining museum hosted in the municipal building.
Even when there’s nothing going on (as was the case when I went), there still are friendly local residents willing to give you directions or just chat for a while, curious to learn about your country of origin. And, of course, there’s the scenic nature trail going up and down the hills. But apart from the sleepy couple of weeks in early July, apparently Spania Dolina is actually full of life all year round. Traditional cooking competitions (sorry, vegetarians, it’s all pork), theater festival, jazz music festival, international symposiums of sculpture and painting and other events… Who knew!