Museum of Liptov Village in Pribylina
Opened in 1991, the Museum of Liptov Village in Pribylina is the youngest open-air museum in Slovakia. Its origin is connected with the construction of the Liptovska Mara Dam. Precious real estate, which would have otherwise been flooded, was relocated or reconstructed to create the museum.
The original plan for the museum assumes the construction of a complete village resembling the structural layout, which was used in most of Liptov villages, which were granted town privileges. Only the first part of the museum is opened today. In the middle of the village there is a square where markets can be held. In front of the Man or House from Parížovce (No. 15) there is an amphitheatre where various folk and historical programs are held. Each structure within the village depicts different social-economic strata, from the poorest way of life to the richest.
The Majdiak family, from Liptovská Sielnica (No. 5), were cottars. They did not own any land. Their home is situated on communal land without a fence or outbuildings. The whole family and working life is concentrated in one room. This is a sample of life at the lowest social economic strata.
The cottar's house from Černová (No. 11), belonged to the Bačkor brothers and their families. One of them was a day labourer, the other one a village servant, who also worked as a bell ringer, a gravedigger and as a drummer. The two houses from Likavka (No. 13 and 14) represent the lifestyles of farmers who supplemented their family's incomes by working as craftsmen.
The farmer's settlement (No. 12) from Liptovská Sielnica was inhabited by the Trunkvalter family. In the chamber of the house we can see a shoemaker's workshop. The father of the family performed this craft as supplementary work. Jan Lovich was a cart righter, from Liptovská Sielnica. His house (No.10) represents a higher-level lifestyle. It contains better-made furniture, textile of higher quality and the interior is furnished with glass, porcelain and books. Adjacent to the house is the Cartwright's workshop complete with equipment and tools. The house from Liptovský Trnovec (No. 16) depicts an integrated closed settlement. Its dwelling and outbuildings are under a common roof. The village mayor inhabited this structure.
His office was also located in this "town house". Many of the mayor's personal items, such as a box for documents, a chest bound with iron, a wardrobe, are on display. He was also interested in bee keeping and so beehives and tools are located in one of the chambers of the house. Domestic animals, particularly the Hucul's racehorses were bred in the stables.
The exposition of a village school with one classroom and a teacher's flat from Valaská Dubová (No. 21) is very popular for visitors. The classroom is equipped with teaching aids, which were typical for the first third of the 20th century. It offers space for children to learn subjects in an attractive way, using elements of folk culture. The structure and interior of the teacher's flat differs from the other farmhouses because it served as a dwelling, study and work place. In the orchard by the school is the bee-house from Nižná Boca (No.24) with the exhibition of historical beehives.
The museum of Liptov Village in Pribylina is more complete than other open-air museums in Slovakia because this village includes structures of all social-economic levels. The Gothic Renaissance Manor House from Parižovce (No. 15), for example, is the oldest gentry residence in Liptov.
The house belonged to the Paris family and its heirs. The oldest Gothic part of the house dates back to the first third of the 14th Century. After 1848, the manor house was rebuilt in Renaissance style and served as a hunting chateau. The original mural paintings depicting a motif of a raven with a ring on a branch have been preserved.
The manor house has retained its contemporaneous character and the expositions within it contain samples of higher social-economic gentry lifestyle. These include the festive noble hall, a dining room, a bedroom and rooms, and salons / musical, yellow and hunting one/ used for thematic expositions.
The Manor House is one of the most valuable historical objects saved from the flooded territory, which is now the Liptovská Mara. Built in 1858, the wooden manor house from Paludza (No.18) depicts everyday life in a well off gentry's family. The head of this household served as a government official. The house has an entrance hall, a kitchen, a gentlemen's salon, a large salon and a bedroom. Outside granaries, a barn, stables and a storage house for carriages and traps belonging to the settlement.
Very attractive object in the museum is the Virgin Mary's Early Gothic Church from Liptovská Mara (No.22). According to the oldest available written record, the church dates back to 1288. The archaeological findings, however, indicated that there was an older building under the foundation. This older building dates back to the 11th or 12th Century. The church served as the centre of ecclesiastical administration within the Liptov region. The interior will is reconstructed as it was originally, and masses for all Christians are held there. The basement of the church serves as an exhibition hall.
One of the main goals of the Museum of Liptov Village in Pribylina is to create a living museum, which propagates life, as it actually existed thus reviving Liptov cultural traditions. The expositions in each of the houses, such as the Cartwright's and the blacksmith's workshops enable skilled folk artists to demonstrate to visitors the secrets of old crafts. Some of the crafts performed include methods for making hampers, shepherds fifes, simple techniques of woodcarving, working with leather, decoration of buckles and gingerbreads.
The museum frequently hosts thematic exhibitions, which are very well attended. For example, on "Shepherd's Sunday", visitors can observe shepherd's carving wood and folklore and on "Fireman's Sunday" exhibitions of time fire techniques. "Bee Keeper's Sunday" is very popular with its expositions of beehives and beekeeper's implements. Bee products such as honey and a special honey wine called "medovina" are available for purchase.
The state competition of gingerbread makers is also very popular. Inhabitants and compatriots from the entire Liptov region meet on "Countrymen's Sunday".
Hunters and foresters gather to observe Saint Hubert and Diana's procession, which takes placed on "St. Hubert's Day". This event includes hunting and dog competitions, samples of falconry and exhibitions of antique firearms. Recently still more and more attractive are programs with historical themes, for example the "Medieval Sunday" with presentations of old martial arts, way of living and dressing.
The museum prepares new programs every year. The celebration of the summer solstice, spring customs, and special programs intended to bring children closer to our folklore occur during the spring.
The summer season culminates with a "Celebration of the Harvest", which includes a rich folklore program, harvest festival and Divine Service.
The winter program concludes with "Christmas in Liptov" celebration where in visitors participate in a live Bethlehem Christmas, sing carols and play games. Special programs for groups, travel agencies or other interested parties can be prepared upon request.
Animals in the Museum
The museum of Liptov Village has its own zoo exposition. The presence of animals contributes to the museum's goal to propagate life, as it actually existed. In addition, the museum has revived the breeding of some of the original races of Carpathian domestic animals. One of these is the Hucul horse, whose ancestors were wild horses in Slovakia. People who lived in the mountainous parts of Slovakia originally bred this race as a working horse. Its breeding continuously declined, and only by many years of effort has it been successfully renewed. The horses are used for several museum activities, especially for carriage, trap and sleigh rides. Dark Carpathian goats, black and white sheep, hens, ducks, turkeys, geese and various other sorts of poultry can also be seen on the museum grounds.