The Czech Republic has a lot to offer – majestic castles, beautiful châteaus, picturesque squares and streets, Art Nouveau architecture, lovely cafés and fascinating nature. But is there anything for the people who are looking for something authentically Czech as well? Something for those who’d like to learn more about the ordinary people of the past instead of listening to stories about the affluent live-style of aristocrats? Maybe you are also one of those people who are tired of opulence and would rather learn about the local people’s lives and traditions. In that case, you will surely appreciate the region called Moravian Slovakia.
A bit about the region
Moravian Slovakia is a region that stretches from the southernmost part of the South Moravia along the border with Slovakia.
It is divided into six subregions:
- Moravské Kopanice
- Hanácké Slovácko
- Luhačovické zálesí
It’s home to Moravian Slovaks – an ethnic group with a specific culture, traditions, and dialects that are largely influenced by Slovak and to a smaller extent also the Lower Austrian dialects depending on each town or village. The dialects are slowly disappearing as more and more Moravian Slovaks identify simply as Moravians or Czechs and accept the general Czech culture as their own. Despite all that, the general culture of Moravian Slovaks is still surviving thanks to many groups of people who have dedicated their lives to keeping it alive for the next generations.
The area is also famous for its cuisine and alcoholic beverages – particularly wine and hard liquors such as Slivovitz. So if you prefer these kinds of drinks over beer, Moravian Slovakia is the perfect place for you.
Obviously, with the region being so big, it should be mentioned that it also includes many important towns, cities and areas that deserve an article of their own (for example Zlín, Uherské Hradiště and the surrounding area or the Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape) so they won’t be covered in this article. Instead, let’s just focus on the places that don’t get as much attention.
See how people used to live
One of the “must-see” places is definitely the open-air museum in Strážnice where you can see with your own eyes how people from the regions of Moravské Kopanice, Luhačovické zálesí and Horňácko used to live and what they used to wear. The local guides are actually wearing the traditional costumes of these regions, which will immediately make everyone feel like they’ve traveled back in time. Not to mention that these exhibits are interactive! A lot of special events take place in Strážnice throughout the year so definitely keep an eye on their website.
You can go on a guided tour or a tour without a guide and even combine it with wine tasting. Granted, you should not choose that one if you’re driving and there is no one to take you home, though. And no worries – the tours are available in English, German and French (in French only in a paper form) therefore you definitely won’t miss any interesting information!
Speaking of wine, near Strážnice there are the Plže wine cellars. Painted with the typical South-east Moravian combination of white and blue, these wine cellars will immediately catch your attention. But again – definitely avoid visiting if you’re driving and there is no one to pick you up because you won’t leave the place sober. Unless you avoid alcohol altogether – in that case you’ll definitely appreciate the wine cellars’ unique architecture.
Another open-air museum is also located in the Modrá village, though it offers a slightly different experience than the museum in Strážnice. It will take you all the way back to the early medieval era, so if you like this part of European history, you’ll surely love this place.
A paradise for adventurers
While Moravia is rather flat, in the east you can find a beautiful mountain range called Bílé Karpaty that stretches along the Slovak border. Sure, it can’t hold a candle to, let’s say, the Alps, as the mountains here are not exactly tall (at least on their Czech side) but this tiny mountain range has still a lot to offer.
For example, people yearning for an adventure can go on long walks in the woods or fields and enjoy nature that looks pretty much the way it used to look a long time ago. Be careful, though – not only Bílé Karpaty is a protected landscape area (so remember to behave!) but there are many ways one could get injured here.
However, even more importantly: in these mountains, the sub-region called Moravské Kopanice is located. The villages in this area were long isolated from the rest of the world as these places are very hard to reach even nowadays. For this reason, many of these villages maintained their original atmosphere and some of them basically froze in time. This, for example, is the case of the villages Lopeník and Žítková. The Žítková village is especially preserved – to the point the road literally ends here. Keep in mind that the old houses you will see there are private property and often still inhabited, so pay attention to where you go!
Supposedly one of the most famous places of the whole Moravian Slovakia are the local sunlit fields called “Moravian Tuscany” that look like waves on a sea that has frozen in time. This area was unknown for a long time but hove into view once a few photos appeared on several websites. Since then it has caught the attention of many amateur and professional photographers from all over the world. However, the area where you can take a lot of amazing photos of these fields is huge so you might need to use a map and some tips.
As mentioned in one of the previous paragraphs, Moravian Slovakia is a huge area that includes many towns and cities that deserve an article of their own, therefore it would be impossible for me to fit them all into this article. So keep an eye on our blog to learn more about these interesting places! If you don’t want to check the blog for new articles every day, just subscribe to our special newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
Photos by Pavel Beran
2 thoughts on “Tip for a Trip: Moravian Slovakia – Where Time Froze Still”
Being interested in traditional musics I came across the cd “Frantisek Manas, Slovacke Tance” I couldn’t find out whether the music and dances on the cd were played and recorded (1992) in the nowadays Czech Republic or in Slovakia. I suppose you are the right person to inform me …
In advance I thank you very much for the work involved ……
Best regards from, Fred
Leiden, The Netherlands
Thank you on behalf of Anna! If it was recorded in 1992, then it was recorded in Czechoslovakia, haha! I’m not sure there’s a way to find out where exactly. I took a look at the credits, and all the people involved in the recording seem to have Czech names or are Czech, so my guess is Czech Republic.