Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Polana Mountains - the geological curio

Did you know that the biggest extinct volcano is located in Slovakia? For me it was a great surprise, that there is something so unusual and interesting close to my home. Nowadays the name of this volcano is Polana.

Slopes of the Polana Mountains, Slovakia
The Polana are medium-high mountains with forests, clearings, fields and lovely hamlets. The highest peak is Polana at 1458 m ASL. We named this place Slovak Tuscany ;) You can hike here (lot's of marked trails!), do some cycling trips or simply stay in one place and enjoy tranquility. Maps of the region you can buy in bigger towns or cities like Banska Bystrica.

The Polana Mountains are a geological curiosity. They used to be over 2500 m ASL high stratovolcano which finaly exploded and destroyed thyself. Nowadays we can find there interesting rocks (andesite or tuff - consolidated volcanic ash) and extraordinary rock formations. The mountain range is protected by Polana Protected Landscape Area. 

Waterfall Bystre
At the foothills of the Polana lies a town of Detva known for its folklore. Detva is a manufacturing center of famous Slovak music instrument fujara - shepherd's overtone fipple flute. It has really unique shape. You can see it in Detva museum or during one of the folk festivals which are held here. Some of them are even the international events. 

Detva is also known for its carved and painted wooden crosses which are the decoration of tombstones at local cemetery. They also stand as a roadside chapels. 

Man playing the fujara at folk festival in Detva.
There is (at least!) one more interesting place situated in the vincinity of the Polana. It is the wooden Protestant church from 1726 located in village Hronsek. Its wooden construction with severe interior can hold up 1100 worshippers. The site was enetered onto the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.

I highly recommend this lovely and little known region!

Farm stay, Slovakia, The Polana Mountains

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