Vlkolinec is a remarkably intact unitary settlement of a characteristic central European type with log-built architecture, which is often found in mountainous areas. The layout of the town has remained virtually unchanged and the architectural style has been fully retained. There are 45 unaltered buildings in the ensemble, retaining many early constructional features. It is the best preserved and most comprehensive set of traditional vernacular buildings in the Slovak Republic. It has preserved its ancient appearance with remarkable fidelity: although it is now in its 19th-century guise, Vlkolinec is essentially the same as it has been for a much longer period.

There was an early Slav settlement on the site from the Burgwall (walled settlement) period (10th-12th centuries AD). The first documentary record dates from 1376, and in a document of 1469 reference is made to five named streets. In 1675 there were only four homesteads and five residences of servants of the nearby Likava manor, of which Vlkolinec always seems to have been a fief. A decree of 1630 suggests that the name derives from the important charge laid upon the villagers to maintain the wolf-pits in good order. The present settlement consists almost entirely of buildings from the 19th century.

The characteristic houses of Vlkolinec are situated on the street frontages of narrow holdings, with stables, smaller outbuildings, and barns ranged behind them. The main street, which is on a comparatively steep slope, forks in the centre of the village. Parts of the northern end of the village were destroyed by fire in the Second World War and have not been rebuilt. A canalized stream flows through the village. The houses are of the traditional central Slovak timber-built (Blockbau) type. This consists of log walls on stone footings, the walls being coated with clay and whitewashed or painted blue. Over 50% of them have three rooms; some are smaller and others double. The roofs are pitched and semi-hipped, and were originally covered with wooden shingles. They are entered from elongated yards shared with several other houses.

There are 47 traditional farmhouses of this type and a shop and schoolhouse from the end of the 19th century. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates from 1875, but the belfry was built in 1770.

One especially interesting feature of the settlement is the fact that the parcels of land that surround it retain the elongated strip shape characteristic of medieval land allotment over most of feudal Europe. Outside these lie the areas of common land and forest which are also essential elements of the feudal landscape (although these have been substantially altered in later centuries through forestry and pasturage).

Vlkolínec has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.

References:

Comments

Your name



User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".