Nova Sedlica, Slovakia

2003 Winter Photos

village    field(1)    vista

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Nova Sedlica is the village of my DUZBA' (grandmother's) family.  Before 1918, it was named "Ujszek" in Magyar (Hungarian).

The remote village of Nova Sedlica (New Settlement) is literally at the end of the road.  It is nestled between the hills and mountains, in the valley(1) containing the Zboj creek (Zbojska Potok.)  To the north(1) are the Carpathian Mountains.  Poland and Ukraine are only about 3km away to the north and east respectively.  The village is entirely residential.   It has a population of about 330 souls.

As in Zboj, the original Greek Catholic Church was removed to a Skanzen and replaced with a church building occupied by the Orthodox.

Consistent with the region at large, unemployment is quite high (>20%).  The area is remote and most work focuses on the Carpathian Mountains to the north.  Hiking trails to the peaks, including the 3-nation meeting of Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine.  Until the 1947 collectivization, the forests and village was owned by a land baron, who held vast tracts of land in the region. 
Border guards regularly patrol the area.

Beginning in 1939, Nova Sedlica became a territory of Hungary.  Men were conscripted into the Hungarian Army and many fought in Italy.  As the war front passed through in 1944, mothers and children hid in holes in the woods.  Many of the homes were destroyed.  Prisoners were forced to rebuild these homes.   Interestingly, at the end of World War II, Nova Sedlica was given a choice of either become a territory of Ukraine or Slovakia.  A referendum was held and no one wanted to go with Ukraine.

The Mountains and the Poloniny National Park
Due to the fact that the Carpathian forests to the north have been designated a part of the
Poloniny National Park (Trilateral East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve, which includes sections of Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine), there is much ecological research (more) being conducted today.

Many homes are now found
abandoned(1) in the village as the young are leaving for better jobs in cities and larger towns and the older folk simply die off.  An occasional grass-thatched home(1) (still occupied) may still be found.  Most have some subsistence farm (stacking wood, barnyard, barn.

There has been a recent flurry of television crews descending on the village due to its picturesque nature.  As a result, the villagers become somewhat “gun-shy” whenever outsiders such as us appear, cameras at the ready.  Cries of “Television! Television!” were heard each time we stopped to ask directions.

Another surprise to us all was the construction of a Pension (see note 2 for a photo.)  It’s apparent use is primarily for vacationers who like to spend their day’s out-of-doors, in the nearby forests.  It’s pretty fancy.  We also say a couple of other, older pensions, near road’s end.  They all looked like they might have and about six to eight guest rooms.

(1) - Credit to Mick Sura, Kosice

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Last Update: 08 May 2005                                                 

Copyright © 2002-2005, Bill Tarkulich