Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trip to Slovakia

So I was able to attend a conference on the geography of religion at the University of Prešov in Slovakia back in August. We did some cool and "religious" tourism, while we were there. Geography conferences usually involve some kind of field trip(s) and this was no exception.

We visited several wooden cathedrals from the Greek Catholic Church (notice the uniquely different crosses and the three tower architecture). The Greek Catholics are something of an inbetween in that they acknowledge the Pope in Rome but they use the Eastern liturgy for their masses and ordinances, like the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches.
A number of these traditional wooden churches are listed jointly as a UNESCO cultural heritage site.
This first wooden church is in the village of Ladomirova in northeast Slovakia. They have just recently replaced the wood on the outer walls. It was originally built in 1742. The design of the towers is really amazing!

This church in Bodružal is one of the oldest eastern churches in Slovakia. It was built in 1658. All of these churches have fascinating interiors, but they do not allow pictures inside. They have a lot of icons (symbology-rich pictures of apostles and Christ) which make up an iconostasis -- a barrier of sorts beyond which only certain members of the church and the clergy can go.

This Catholic, wooden church in Hervatov (note the single tower and its basic Catholic cross... which you actually can't see in this picture) is one of the oldest wooden churches in Slovakia. It was built around 1650. I was able to take some pictures of the interior, which had some neat wall paintings (St. George) and wood carvings.

This is the main square of Bardejov, a pretty town in northeast Slovakia. I took this picture from the tower of the old Gothic cathedral, which contains the intricately designed alter below.

On our way back to Prague, we (I was traveling with a professor and two other students) stopped at Spišský Castle...
...and Vlkolínec, an old mountain village with unique and well-preserved architecture.I really liked this Slovak landscape with the flock of sheep. It was fun to hear all of the sheep bells ringing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Phone Call

This probably doesn't need explanation, but "jo" pronounced "yo" is "yeah" in Czech. I love when they start pretending to talk on the phone.