Čičmany Folk Architecture Reservation

013 17 Čičmany, Slovakia

Čičmany is a distinctive village of scenic beauty surrounded by the peaks of the Strážov Hills and the Malá Fatra Mountains in the southern part of Rajec Valley, south west of Rajec municipality. The oldest surviving reference to the village dates from the 13th century. Inhabitants of the village, also famous for its characteristic folk embroidery, were originally involved in sheep raising and selling sheep cheese, with supplementary trade in coarse cloth slippers and shoes. Great fires suffered in the first half of the 20th century can be regarded as modern time milestones in the development of the village. After the most devastating fire in 1921, new timber structures were built to reflect the new living requirements, thanks to architect Dušan Jurkovič and under the supervision of the State Department for Protection of Monuments. The original lined log cabin-type of houses of the creek village were characteristically large family houses, often storied, with upper pantries in which sometimes as many as 30 persons lived together. A unique characteristic feature of these houses are their geometric ornamentally-decorated exteriors. Originally women decorated only the corners with clay and later with lime, but from the 19th century onwards the entire exterior of the unplastered wooden houses began to be decorated. Although today the reserve is for most part made up of post-fire houses it offers special evidence of the long-standing efforts to preserve the values of folk architecture.