village museum

Voice guide

Three kilometres away from Zuberec, at Brestová, a unique open-air Museum of the Orava Village (Múzeum oravskej dediny) can be visited. Over an area of about 20 hectares, and on both sides of the crystal clean Studený potok brook, is a village containing the typical folk buildings moved here from various regions of Orava.

A. Lower Orava Market Place

Lower Orava is the south-western part of the region. In the Middle Ages it was the first to be settled, as the basin of the Orava river and its tributaries provided relatively favourable conditions for agriculture.
During the re-populating of the Hungarian Kingdom after the 13th century invasions of Mongol tribes, the colonization of the mountain regions of northern Slovakia also started. After 1370 Orava became an independent county, (called župa - the name for a Hungarian administrative body) with, until 1683, Veličná as its major town.
Throughout the 14th century several Orava villages gained town privileges and became centers of trade and crafts.

Lower Orava market place represents a rural small town with a central square which served as a market place. The buildings of clay plaster and whitewash were typical of this region. The plaster improved the insulation qualities of a house, having at the same time an aesthetic function – a plastered house looked more genteel and resembled buildings built from more solid materials. The houses in the market place represent the dwellings of various social groups – gentry, farmers, craftsmen and land-bound peasants. As in all settlements here too can be found farm and technological facilities.

1. Museum Offices - Malatiná

2. Belfry (1860) - Záskalie

3. Gentry Manor of the Meško family (1752) - Vyšný Kubín

4. House of a Small Farmer (1790) - Žaškov

5. Mangle (1802) - Veličná

6. Craftsman’s House with Attic - Veličná

7. House of a Cottier - Bziny

8. Granaries

9. Granary (1827) - Srňacie

B. Upper Orava Street

Most Orava villages originate from the 15th and the 16th century by Wallachian Law. When a village was founded each homestead was allocated a piece of land – from which it was required to give off to the landlord a tithe. In mountain areas they were formed of strips of land (about 100 meters in width and running perpendicular to a stream) spreading from the stream to the border with a neighbouring village. On these pieces of land the first settlers built their cottages.
On the lands were built more houses, the yards became narrower and over the course of time there developed streets with houses close to each other. With the rising number of houses the yard got so narrow that several neighbouring families eventually shared one yard.
The street is an illustration of the architectural design of many Orava villages

10. Reconstruction of Pottery Kiln - Trstená

11. Homestead of a Mid-size Farmer - Čimhová

12. House of a Small Farmer (1868) - Beňadovo

13. Homestead of a Mid-size Farmer (1832) - Podbiel

14. Homestead of a Mid-size Farmer (1832) - Podbiel

15. Linen-maker´s Manor - Štefanovo

16. Wealthy Farmer´s Homestead - Dolná Lehota

17. Homestead of a Hereditary Reeve - Vasiľovo

18. Homestead of a Wealthy Farmer (1923) - Hruštín

19. Forge - Habovka

20. Reeve’s House (1828)Kuźnia kowalska - Habovka - Rabčice

C. Goral Mountain Hamlets

On the slopes of Beskydy in the north of the region are scattered the isolated homesteads built during the final colonization of Orava. With the growing numbers of population at the end of the 18th century, the need to extend farming land also increased. Farming on the more remote locations in mountain areas was begun. There the settlers started to build seasonal dwellings which later became the foundations of new settlements. The houses with hipped roof consisted mostly of a small living room, a stable, a shed and a barn in which the sheep used to be kept overnight. They all had their fields around their homesteads, with a grassy garden in front of them. Due to the harsh climate they concentrated on sheep and cattle breeding more than growing crops.

21. Lumberjack and Shepherd’s Homestead - Oravské Veselé

22. Chalet - Zuberec

23. Reeve’s House (1813) - Novoť

24. The Oil-press House (1849) - Novoť

25. Farmer’s Homestead - Oravská Lesná

D. Church

In the Middle Ages churches were built on a hill above the village, with a graveyard spreading around it. The church and the graveyard were usually surrounded by stone walls with a masonry gate. In the past the walls served a protective function, as in the time of threat of war, people sought refuge in the church.

26. Mortuary - Rabčice

27. Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary - Zábrež

E. Water – Mill Area

The water -mill was one of the first technological constructions built in villages. Due to the sufficient supplies of mountain stream water in most Orava villages, these were water–driven installations. They were usually built at the lower end of the village. The water was diverted from a stream at the upper end to achieve the required difference in the height of the water surface and was directed into the water-mill through a mill-pond. To dig up and maintain a mill pond was rather demanding task, so it was convenient if the water directed to it could also be used for other constructions.
A water mill and a fulling mill driven by the water from the common mill pond can also be found in the museum water mill area.

29. Mill - Novoť

30. Fulling Mill (1820) - Lomná

F. Seasonal Constructions
No audio

During the summer it was necessary to make enough hay for the domestic animals. This was hard work. Men usually cut the grass and they had to begin early in the morning while there was dew on the grass. Women would scatter the cut grass, using rakes or forks, and to make it dry faster it had to be turned twice. The meadows were very often in remote and hard to access locations. Therefore people built hay lofts, sheds or other seasonal dwellings close to the meadows so that during the hay making season they did not have to return to the village every day.

28. Seasonal Constructions