Makov is a medium size village and popular tourist destination lying in the north-western part of central Slovakia. Situated in a beautiful small valley squeezed between the mountain ranges of Javorníky and Turzovská vrchovina near the spring of the River Kysuca in one of the Slovak Republic’s numerous richly forested mountainous areas, Makov belongs among the Upper Kysuce region’s best known places famous for their picturesqueness, untouched nature, favourable climate, extensive spruce forests, excellent skiing conditions, exciting hiking trails, mountainous scenery, breathtaking views, and, last but by no means least, cordial and hospitable local people. The region of Kysuce, which owes its name to the silvery River Kysuca, is one of those charming places the mountain-loving Slovaks are known to be so passionately devoted to and fond of. When it comes to spending a refreshing skiing or hiking holiday in their own country, Makov and the region of Kysuce can successfully compete with such high-profile holiday destinations as the High and Low Tatras or the Slovak Paradise.
Geography and Climate
The village lies between 580 metres and 1,000 metres above sea level. A gateway to the Upper Kysuce region in the south-western part of the Čadca district, Makov (1,875 inhabitants) came into existence as a separate administrative unit following the merger of parts of seven smaller surrounding villages in 1895. The westernmost edge of Makov’s 4,606 hectare cadastre borders with the Czech Republic’s region of Moravia. The first written evidence of Makov’s existence after the foundation of the settlement called Viszoka-Makov dates back to the year 1720. The whole area of Makov and its surroundings is of hilly to mountainous character, with the highest mountain of the Makov part of the Upper Kysuce region - Veľký Javorník - reaching 1,071 metres above sea level. In the mountain’s immediate vicinity lies a popular destination of hikers and skiers – the mountain resort Kasárne - with family hotels, ski lifts and unique climatic conditions thanks to the clean air, coniferous forests, high altitude and ideal sun-to-rain(snow) ratio. The National Nature Reserve Veľký Javorník is famous for its fir-beech primeval forests. Several surrounding mountains of the Javorníky ridge reach or exceed 1,000m above sea level. Average annual precipitation ranges from 900 mm to 1200 mm or more, depending on altitude and exposure to mostly north-westerly winds that bring moisture-laden air to the region throughout the whole year at fairly convenient intervals. The climate of the mountain resort Kasárne has been proved to offer curative effects comparable to the traditional health resorts in the High Tartars to asthma patients and other allergy and respiratory disease sufferers. Weather extremes, if any, tend to be benign and rare, causing no damage to man-made structures or nature. The average temperature for July (the warmest month) ranges between 12°C and 16°C while the average temperature in the coldest month - January - is -7ºC. Permanent snow cover stays on the average for 90 – 120 days. The protected wildlife species of the Javorníky mountain range include lynx, brown bear and wolf. The village of Makov’s five administrative parts are Ústredie, Potok, Čierne, Kopanice and Trojačka. Immersed in lush greenery and inhabited by nature-minded friendly people, the overall impression Makov leaves on visitors is that of an attractive, clean and well-kept Slovakian village with food shops, culture centre, beautiful church and both neat modern family houses and traditional well-preserved wooden log cottages called “drevenice”.
Among the many interesting things, the village chronicle of Makov also contains the following precious information illustrating the dramatic circumstances in which people from the southern parts of the Kingdom of Hungary sought refuge in the Makov area in the early 16th century: “…in 1521 some Hungarian families, fleeing northward toward Kysuce and crossing the Biele Karpaty (White Carpathians) mountain range to avoid being captured by Tartar hoards, arrived at a place at the Javorník mountain ridge where that ridge forks off into three different directions. Somebody called “Megalj!”, meaning “Stop!” in Slovak. One part of that group of refugees decided to go no farther and settled down where they were, at a place which to this day is called “Magali”. Descendants of that family still live there today. The other two refugee families of noble origin – the Pápay family and the Lábay family – settled down as well. One of them - the Papajovci – under the ridge that stretches to Kysučné while the other family – the Labajovci – under the ridge leading to Semeteš that stretches up to a stream called “Čierne”. These two families of Hungarian noblemen arrived with their complete entourage of servants, employees and armigers. The armigers were located facing the direction from which the families arrived. These bowmen, called šípostrelci in Slovak and “jász-ujász” in Hungarian, came to be called “Jásovia-Jaši”… The families’ stablemen, ostlers and coachmen (lovászi in Hungarian) were allocated another place to settle down. To this day one can therefore find settlements bearing the names Nižní Lovásovci and Vyšní Lovásovci (the lower-end Lovásovci and the upper-end Lovásovci). But they can’t be regarded the first mountain region settlers of this area of the Kysuce hills and mountains, for we know that the “Slovak grandsire“ - „Kysučan“ - had already been living there and that besides him the Slovak families Trebuli, Jantoši, Beloni, Greguši, Bajcari, Fabšíci, Dudloši, Karafi... had lived there as well since an unspecified date. Slovak families must have been more numerous in those days, or else the Hungarian families would not have integrated into the local exclusively Slovak race (the word ‘race’ is used here to denote “a group of persons connected by common descent”, which is how this term is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary). In early 15th century (according to the administrative archive in Podhradie) there were separate areas mentioned and defined in the territory between the basin of Považie and the Kysuca River and the Javorník ridge where these people were for the first time found, by then of course as an already exclusively Slovak ethnic entity. They could give no testimony as to when and from where they had come there. They maintained contacts with the neighbouring ancient Moravian village of Velké Karlovice where they used to be baptised and wedded. This settlement is not known to have had a name until that time. Only the individual house yards – „pľace“ – had their names. The local inhabitants nevertheless would refer to this settlement as the „New Village“. However, it was not long before the settlement got the name „Makov“, meaning the mountaintop Makovec in Slovak ....
(An excerpt from the village chronicle of Makov, p. 6-7)
Makov’s Coat of Arms
Thecoat of arms of Makov shows a monumental golden tree with four sturdy roots on a blue shield. For a village surrounded by tens of thousands of hectares of coniferous forests to choose a leaf tree to dominate its coat of arms may come as a surprise. Rather than being just an ordinary symbol, however, the giant smooth-leaved elm (Ulmus carpinifolia) in Makov’s coat of arms is actually a true living legend – an impressive old tree whose age is estimated at well over 500 years. No one knows for sure who actually brought the seedling to the small hamlet “U Papaji” at one of Makov’s five administrative parts called Kopanice over half a millennium ago to plant it there and tend to the tree while it was still small. The smooth-leaved elm, normally found to grow only in milder climate regions and lowlands farther south, is not native to Kysuce, so the presence of this old elm tree there remains a mystery. Makov did not have a coat of arms until April 1995 when the heraldic committee of the Slovak Ministry of Interior gave approval for a proposal put forward by sculptor Milan Greguš. It was chosen by members of the Makov Village Council from among a total of 217 heraldic proposals by 185 authors in what actually turned out to be a representative referendum on the issue. The huge elm tree is a symbol of mightiness and strength. Its four mighty branches symbolize Makov’s four administrative parts (Potok, Čierne, Trojačka and Kopanice) that converge into a massive tree trunk representing Makov itself. The elm’sfour sturdy roots represent the four equally rich streams that spring at Makov’s four administrative parts. All of those four streams are tributes that feed the River Kysuca, which has give the region its name.
According to Census 2001, 95.2 % of Čadca district residents are Roman Catholic (the figure for Slovakia as a whole is 68.9%). The district of Čadca belongs among the Slovak Republic’s 16 districts (out of a total of the nation’s 79 districts) in which the share of Roman Catholics exceeds 90%.
St. Peter‘s and St. Paul’s Parish Church in Makov is 200 years old, which means that it is a hundred years older than the village itself. Back in the 18th century the name Makov was used in reference to the valley rather to a settlement, for the valley of the River Kysuca was relatively sparsely populated in that period. The first to serve as local parish priest was the then 36-yar-old Jozef Balga (he was appointed on December 13, 1796).
Makov is a Catholic Parish. Its role in strengthening the parishioners’ Catholic faith and belief in God is based on fostering active spiritual life and engagement, coupled with and fostered through a rich variety of religious community events including regular pilgrimages under the guidance of the parish priest to Kršlisko, Greguše, Živčák, Rajecká Lesná, Šaštín, and a host of other places. Parish balls are very popular among the local youth and their parents alike, jus as are a whole host of leasure and sports activities for children and the young, which include both winter and summer hiking trips, football, hockeyball, classic ballroom dances and choir singing. All of this is organised with a view to building strong solidarity and togetherness-based relations among the parishioners while helping to foster also their responsibility for themselves and for the others. Thanks to generous donations and volunteer involvement, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church in Makov is taken care of, refurbished and upgraded on a continual basis by committed members of the local parish community.
Makov in Winter
The picturesque meadow-forest mountainous landscape with charming clusters of small hamlets and solitary cottages lends the area around Makov a uniquely peaceful and friendly character. Both the Javorníky mountain range and Turzovská vrchovina enjoy sufficiently generous amounts of precipitation distributed fairly evenly throughout the whole year. Several-day long heavy snowfalls from November till March, followed by longer spells of sunny winter wether, make Makov one of the surest places in Slovakia to find first-class conditions for both classic and modern winter sports at anytime during the region’s nearly four-month long winter seasons. The ski lift on the village’s upper-end ski slope and the local pension and private accommodation opportunities in family houses and villas are at the disposal of winter sports freaks and snow lovers of all age groups.
Makov in Summer
Summers are equally enjoyable in Makov, for the region is a true paradise for hikers. Slovaks are famous for their exceptionally strong emotional attachment to the nation’s mountains, and the love of nature and hiking amounts to a positive national obsession. On a sunny Saturday or Sunday, someone is sure to say to the rest of the family or friends “let’s climb a mountain”. Summers in Makov, and in Kysuce in general, are a mushroom and bilberry picking season. It is the time of year when evening news programmes on Slovakia’s national TV channels frequently feature happy-faced tourists and smiling local forest-goers carrying home large baskets full of delicious mushrooms (mostly of the highly prized boletus edulis and boletus reticulates species, commonly called the summer cep). All Slovak hearts beat faster when the summer arrives with its rich gifts of the forest. Exquisite goat milk products, increasingly popular for their immune system boosting and anti-allergy and anti-cancer properties are available fresh and can be bought directly from the local farmers far cheaper than in the city. Horse riding opportunities for both children and adults are provided as well.
Spending a weekend or a holiday in Makov in summer time offers a very welcome escape from the excruciating summer heat and the hustle and bustle of the big city. No wonder that because of the vast spruce forests, clean streams, green meadows, pristine landscape and thriving wildlife the region belongs to the Protected Landscape Area of Kysuce. Most people who pay a visit to Makov for the fist time are stunned and surprised by the area’s peaceful beauty. They feel drawn to the place and keep coming back with friends and family. The local residents know very well why…
Getting to Makov