These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.


Frontier outpost

 photo: Zuzana Habšudová

Not far from the Czech border is the village Lednica, where locals stand gawking at strangers as roaming dogs bark the day away. At the northern end of the village is a jutting mound of rock capped by the ruins of a frontier outpost built at the turn of the 14th century.

Lednica is known for little else besides this ruin, which with its solid stairwell carved into the ridged peak is one of the most unusual in Slovakia. Climbing up the ruin hill, visitors pass a sign explaining the site’s history, then follow a dirt path winding around to the left. At the top of the trail is the arched entrance, guarded by a rusted gate loose on its hinges.

Inside is a cavernous room with metal stairs leading up to a smooth and slippery passageway carved into the stone. At the end awaits an old red ladder that brings visitors to the stony ridge above. The ladder, which locals say was bolted into the stone some 20 years ago, is a rickety old thing. Sensing my hesitation, my companion reassured me that it was safe: “This thing has been here as long as I can remember,” she said. “If it hasn’t fallen yet, it never will.”

Try not to ponder that muddled logic as you climb the trembling ladder to the small perch up top. From here, the signature stairwell ascends the crest to the peak, where locals have mounted a displeasing antenna for better television reception. Otherwise, the view of the village is lovely. While taking it in, consider that after the Battle of Biela Hora in 1620, members of the Czech Brethren who had been persecuted in Bohemia found asylum in Lednica. Looking down on the tiny hamlet, it is hard to imagine that much has changed since then. At any rate, it is better than thinking about the return trip down that ladder. - CT

To get to Lednica, follow road 507 out of Trenčín towards Lednické Rovne. A sign announcing the village Horovce marks the turn-off for Lednica. Eight kilometres later, and after driving through the village Kvášov, is Lednica. Local buses from Ilava and Púchov run to Lednica approximately every three hours.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2002.

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