2007 Summer Slovakian Adventure

S.W. and J.S. Aber


Kite Aerial Photography
of Tatra Mountains
Introduction to
Our Slovakian Adventure
Living in
Slovakian Views
Slovakian Views
Slovakian Views
Slovakian Views
Views of
Southern Germany
Views of
Southern Austria
Views of
Southern Poland

Views from Slovakia Two
Attractions are numerous in Slovakia! We are pleased to share our adventures from kite aerial photography,
www.geospectra.net/kite/tatra/tatra.htm to other online ground images of Vysoké Tatry or High Tatra Mountains, Lomnický Štít , Spiš Castle, and Ždiar at www.geospectra.net/slovakia/views.htm or Slovakia One. An additional Slovakian experiences webpage shows castles located at Kezmarok and Strecno, as well as scenes from Košice and villages that ring the Vysoké Tatry or High Tatras including Pribylina, Strane, Východná, Vazec,and Štrba are at www.geospectra.net/slovakia/views3.htm or Slovakia Three.

This webpage features our USA visitors and areas we toured with them. There are a few sites in Austria and most attractions are in Slovakia including Lomnický Štít, Beckov Castle, Liptovský Castle, and Betliar Manor. Read on...

In early August we filled the car with gas and drove approximately 250 miles to the Vienna airport in order to pick up our visitors from home. We photographed a few interesting views along way, such as the field of hops shown above. This is a main ingredient in the production of beer, and the poles and wires supporting the plants are approximately over 6 meters (appoximately 20 feet) high.
Amy and Jeremy were the first to arrive on a Tuesday morning. An hour or so later, Sarajane and Ken came through the arrival doors.

We rented a car and took people and luggage to Slovakia in a Volvo and an Opel. A clock tower and city gate in Fischamend and church tower in Hainsburg, Austria were some of the early views of Europe for our visitors.
Storks were interesting to see because they do not live in North America. They build nests on chimneys and power poles as shown here. Storks are thought to bring babies and good fortune to the village or household they choose to live beside.
A goat herder and his two goats worked lawns and meadows in Beckov, while this reservoir is one of several on the Váh River off E50.

The church cross to the left is in Beckov. The religious statue, church, and tower are in Poprad. Our vehicles are seen below as we investigate Liptovský Castle.
Liptovský Castle is a 14th century castle ruin located a kilometer south of E50 between Liptovský Mikuláš and Hybe. A hotel and Ethnography Museum occupy the palace that was added to the castle.
Unfortunately, the weather was cool and rainy, which made the cable car trip to Skalnaté Pleso a little dark and cloudy.
While Amy, Jeremy, and Jim hiked along the trail, others watched the cable car headed to Lomnický Štít disappear into the cloud.

Beckov Castle
Beckov Castle is located in the village of Beckov, which is 20 km (12 miles) southwest of Trencin. It is a few kilometers from a prominent exit off E50, the main east-west autobahn road, which you need a permit to drive on! The exit for Beckov is prominent because it serves an industrial park, including a TESCO distribution center.

This is the impressive view from the village! The castle rises out of natural Triassic dolostones. It is 70 meters (230 feet) above the village and on the east side of the Váh River valley.
The southeast side of the castle is approachable and where the entrance is found. This stunning castle was built in the 12th century and was only one of many located along the Vah River valley. Slovakia was a province of Hungary at this time, and fortifications were stratigically placed to defend the what was the western Hungarian border, and for some, to collect tolls for travelers on and crossing the river.
The ruins were made accessible to the public in 1996 after reconstruction and renovation. Today a modest fee gains entrance to and allows for photographs of the interior from May 1 until October 15. There is a printed information sheet in English to use during a self-guided tour.

In the left image, the white rock shows our position for conducting kite aerial photography of the castle and countryside. Susie has her foot on a granite survey and trail marker.

These four images are taken from an aerial vantage with the camera suspended from the kite line. Without a roof, the castle architecture is most visible. The path winds up around the left side of the stone walls for one entrance. There is a walkway above the entrance for guards before entering the lower courtyard.

The upper areas of the castle rise out of the natural dolostone rock knob creating a dramatic profile from the ground and air. The next pictures are back on the ground exploring the castle interior ruins.

Family from USA visited here as well, and the interior photographers were Jeremy and Amy.
By walking up to one of several fortified entrances, we find ourselves walking back in time! The gate opened for Susie, Sarajane, and Ken to enter the lower courtyard.
Inside the gate stood a small-scale model of a battering ram, one popular means of gaining forced entry into castles in times past.

The batttering ram resembles a whimsical animal. The curved wall fortification shown to the right was added several hundred years after the original 13th century construction.
The thickness of walls can be seen as we move along the castle maze and look up to the higher living quarters.
This property originally belonged to the Hungarian king and castle constructed in the 1200s. Many portions were added over the years and in the 14th century, the lower castle quarters were strengthened. In the 15th century, the Gothic castle was rebuilt to a Renaissance fortress and luxurious manor house.
Many Slovakian castles were abandonned in the 18th century and this was the case with Beckov as well. It burned in 1729. In the image above and to the right, you see windows of the church. Below is the ruins of the chapel from the inside.
Views of the village from the high palaces, and nature reclaiming its domain are seen here.

Betliar Manor House
Betliar Manor is located in the village of Betliar, which is on highway 67 in the Iron or Ore Mountain region of eastern Slovakia. Unfortunately for us, we visited on Monday when this beautiful manor house was closed, but walked around the grounds instead. Betliar served as home and hunting lodge for generations of Andrássys, a Transylvanian-Hungarian aristocratic family, and due to the centuries of collecting by Leopold, Emanuel, and Gejza Andrassy, the musuem displays furnishings, library, trophies, and weapons (www.slovakheritage.org/Castles/betliar.htm ). It is reported on the website mentioned above that the house survived WWII intact; the last male descendant of the family held the home until 1945, but now lives in Lichtenstein.

We drove through Slovenské Ráj or Slovak Paradise Mountains to reach Betliar. As shown in the image below to the left, the day was cool with overcast skies and occasional rain. Nevertheless paradise is still an appropriate name!

We walked in the 81 acre Nature Park that surrounds Betliar and images below show some of the many water features with artificial ponds, fountains, cascades, grottoes, and pavilions.
In 1977, the park was listed on the Historical Landscape Gardens of the World. In 1985, it obtained a National Cultural Monument status from the Slovak Government.

Visiting family, Jeremy and Amy, enjoyed the day and photographic opportunity. Several images below are from their eye and camera.

Our Braunschweig, Germany umbrella was pressed into service.
The nature park had many water features that were designed and built in second half of the 1800s. Also, a small zoo was housed in several pavilions and included bears, lynx, falcon, hawk, owl, and more!
A polar bear lived under the waterfall, which is the highest created waterfall in all of Slovakia.

Finally, we walked by the pavilion that originally was to serve as a public library. However, the book collection exceeded the building size and the library was moved into the main house.
After our long, cool walk touring the nature park, we enjoyed a wonderful, warm meal at the restaurant on the Betliar grounds.

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Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. For more information contact S. W. Aber, e-mail: saber@emporia.edu Thanks for visiting! Webpage created: August 2007; last update: August 28, 2007.