17 April 2011

Saving Slovakia's Heritage

One of the best things about the British Czech and Slovak Association (BCSA) is the talks that they arrange.

These talks directly support the BCSA's charitable aim of raising public awareness in Britain of Czech and Slovak life in all its aspects: history, arts, literature, economies, politics and sciences.

And given my acknowledged interest in Slovakia and in architecture then a talk on Saving Slovakia's Heritage was bound to attract my attention.

The talk came in two parts and was delivered by Michaela Kubikova and Katarina Voskova pictured here sorting out some last minute problems with the technology.

The event venue was the Slovak Embassy which is always worth going to, particularly for a talk on architecture, because it is such an interesting building that is well designed for events like this.

Unfortunately it was a BCSA event rather than an Embassy one so the food and drink was rather limited but that was a small price to pay for such an interesting talk.

Michaela Kubikova kicked things off with her talk on The National Trust of Slovakia.

This is very much like the UK's National Trust from which it has taken a lot of advice and guidance.

The main differences are that it is a lot smaller, saving heritage is not yet such a big public concern as it is here, and most of the properties that they are interested in are state owned.

Another good idea copied from the UK is the opening of private parks and gardens over a weekend, in this case manifested as the Weekend of Historical Parks and Gardens of Bratislava.

The National Trust of Slovakia is fifteen years old this year, much much younger than our NT, and look to have a promising future as it has a clear vision of what it wants to achieve and how it can achieve it.

The second talk by Katarina Voskova was an update on the one she gave last year at the Slovak Embassy's exhibition on Banska Stiavnica.

That event convinced me to visit the town during my Summer Holiday where I was lucky enough to get a tour of the hills around it from Katarina herself.

The talk was interesting the first time but was much more so the second time round having been to all the places mentioned as I could put all the pictures in to context.

For example, this picture above shows a view across Banska Stiavnica towards the Calvary and was drawn from one of the places we visited on the tour of the hills. I also climbed up the Calvary so could appreciate the restoration work that is being done there.

One of the great attractions of Slovakia is its architectural heritage and so it is good to hear that such sterling efforts are being made to preserve it.

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