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Volume 10, No. 2, Summer 2002

Slovak Heritage Live

A Newsletter of the
Slovak Heritage and Cultural Society of British Columbia
published four times a year

Summer issue was published in early June 2002 and it was mailed to 1500 recipients world wide. 

Spiš castle

Looks like this issue is on time. I sure hope that every one of you had Happy Easter Season and is looking forward to great summer.  We have to remind everyone to please try to renew your membership early or at least be on time with the renewals and if you can spare anything over the membership amount, please do so. As we need the funds to continue publishing. You can be assured that any amount does not matter how ridiculously large it may be will be gladly accepted and used for expenses associated with the production and delivery of the newsletter. Early spring I have been to Slovakia for three weeks and you can read about my trip on the following pages. And just about now as you reading this latest issue I am on the way to Europe again. I am using my Frequent Flyer Points through Air Canada. I am going all the way to Vienna, Austria and then by car or bus to Bratislava. I will rent a car in Bratislava and plan to spend the first Saturday in Vienna and I will visit one of the festivals maybe in Myjava or Raslavice and then on June 25 I will be traveling with folklore group Jánošík from Svit to CYPRUS and TURKEY for three weeks. I will return to Bratislava on July 14 or 15, rent a car again in Bratislava for few days and on July 20 I will fly to London, England, Toronto and Vancouver, Beautiful British Columbia. I will try to write my travel report through the trip and immediately after arrival and include it in the fall issue of our newsletter. 

Read the correspondence received from our members...

Today is Sunday February 24. The weather in Vancouver is absolutely fantastic, sunny, blue sky and cold just like in early spring. When I woke up I was sorry that later on in the afternoon I would be leaving this paradise and won’t be able to go skiing to Grouse Mountain a peak of Vancouver that Mathew and I ski a lot during the season. Mathew has an early soccer game and I am going to watch instead of going to the mountain. I won’t see him for three weeks and I will miss lot of games. Their team lost 2:1, but it was a great game. Today is also the gold medal game for hockey at the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City and Team Canada has a chance to end their 50-year Olympic Gold drought against USA. Well the game is a history now and as I thought for and believed, CANADA WON THE GOLD. I left for the airport about three minutes prior to the end of the game and just as I was pulling out of driveway they scored the 5th goal, the game was safe. When it was over I was just stopped at an intersection and many young people have run out of the stores with Canadian flags, cheering and shouting and the horns were horning all over. Maria and I, we both cried and that was the moment we realized once again how proud Canadians we are. I guess the whole CANADA was cheering their GOLD TEAM. And at the end the whole country was at stand still. I arrived at the airport just one hour prior to departure, worrying that the flight may be closed already as since last year after 9/11 they recommend that you arrive for check in 3 hours prior to departure. There were no line-ups, however the flight was almost sold out. I checked in with no problems. While in the departure lounge I was able to watch the last minutes of the game and also the awards ceremony and I cried again. Most of the people in the lounge had their eyes glued to the TV monitors. It was a great atmosphere. The flight as it is usual with LUFTHANSA, THE GERMAN AIRLINE was great. We arrived in Frankfurt of course on schedule. When I got to the luggage pick up area, my suitcases were already on the conveyor belt. As they were the last suitcases to get on and the first ones to be taken off the plane...

The Slovak Cultural and Information Centre, even since its very inception in 1995 had been trying finding the support and financial means either here in Canada, or from Slovakia to create an exhibit. The dream was that we could present an exhibit of the 120 year cultural, social and political history of Slovaks in Canada to the peoples in the Slovak Republic and, then also to the general public in both Canada and United States. During the 5 years existence of the Centre, we were not able to achieve this objective, mainly because of the changing political climate in Slovakia. Money from Slovakia never materialized. Two years ago the name of the Centre was changed to Slovak Canadian Cultural and Heritage Centre and we redoubled our efforts to make this exhibit a reality. We informed every organization in Canada and every minister and parliamentarian in Slovakia that this exhibit is being realized and solicited their support. We received from Slovakia a lot of moral support from the politicians and were finally able to get financial assurance that if the exhibit was created in Canada, the Ministry of Culture SR would finance its presentation in Slovakia in Bratislava and other cities across the Slovak Republic.
The road to making the exhibit a reality has had all the traditional twists and turns of a major movie-both positive, and sadly to say, negative. There has been intrigue, politics, backstabbing, in fighting, hidden agendas, and now-a great ending! New friendships have been made and some others have been frayed to the limit in order to get this exhibit finished and ready for presentation on July 4, 2002...


Too much has changed since I last wrote to SHL. I left Slovakia, so I have thought I wouldn’t write to SHL again. I’m in touch with Vladimir through the Internet. He also gave me much support and courage when I came to Australia and felt lonely. Before he left for Slovakia in February this year, he asked me, why don’t I write an article about what has changed in my life. So I agreed...

I always wanted to go to Australia, but there was always something more important what I had to do, like finishing my studies at university in Nitra, Slovakia. So after successful graduation in September 2000 I left for Australia. There was nothing what could possibly stop me.

I arrived into really excited atmosphere, just four days before the Olympic games 2000 started. My uncle, with whom I stayed for the first three months, got me a ticked for athletics. I’m not a big fun of this sport, but I had a great opportunity to see the Olympic stadium and to feel and enjoy this special atmosphere. After the Games of the XXVII Olympiad and the Paraloympic Games, Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay still creates plenty of the Game’s atmosphere. And as Sydney’s major sporting venue, with an increasing range of restaurants, bars and entertainment options, it has plenty to offer year around. Olympic stadium was completed in 1999 and was configured to seat 110 000 people for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the XXVVII Olympiad...

The territory of Kežmarok was settled as early as 10000 years ago on Jerusalem and Michal’s hills. This is witnessed by the archaeological findings from the Stone Age, later the Bronze und Iron Ages and the periods of the Roman Empire and the migration of people. In the 6th century the Slavs came to the territory of Spiš. In the 13th century the territory of the future city was encroached upon by the German colonization wave. 
Many localities names found in written documents from second half of the 13th century evidence presence of Slavs: Gala, Bystrica, Lubica, Lomnica, Bela, Verbev, Ruskin, Vysoká etc.
Kežmarok was formed from four settlements the oldest being the Slovak settlement at the Church of St. Michael above today’s railway station. Their inhabitants were fishermen and watchmen of the road next to river Poprad.
Kežmarok is first time mentioned as a town in 1269, when Hungarian King Belo IV. Granted it city rights and privileges. The town was situated near important business routes from Orient to Northern Europe and this supported its fast development. In  1380 it became a free royal city with several political and economic privileges (the right of two annual fairs, the right of the sword, the right to use coat of arms, etc.). These privileges up to that day were confirmed also by king Zigmund in 1399 and in 1411 he added the right of free fishing, in 1412 he gave freedom to the inhabitants and buyers from paying duty. In 1417 freedom to use the forests...

The statute of Atlantis is known in Nitra under the name of Corgoň. It stands in the middle of the old town at the corner of Vchodná and Hradná streets. He is placed in the corner of a building, he has robust body and in his hands above his shoulders he holds the first floor of the building. The author of this work is Slovak sculptor Vavrinec Dunajský from Lubietová and he finished his work in 1820.
One may ask: who was this Corgoň really? To whom was given such a vivid form? Corgoň was a blacksmith in Nitra’s Upper Town. He had enormous strength and everybody that knew him admired his arms muscles. When he hit the anvil with hammer the whole Upper Town shook...


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Copyright © Vladimir Linder 2002 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.