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Museum of Folk Traditions

The Liptov village of Važec is among the few villages that can boast their own museum. The one in Važec is special in that it is housed in the birth house of Ján Kováč. The museum showcases his private collection that documents the life in Važec over the past centuries. When Ján Kováč was a little boy, he took oxen out to pasture and was fascinated by different kinds of bells and belts and folk culture as such. He always wanted to have the most beautiful ones and this passion has remained with him for the rest of his life. He dreamt of each belt and bell having a place of honour in his house.  

He started creating the collection twenty years ago in his parents’ house, a former brick manor house built in 1760. His great grandfather Matej Kováč bought it after he got back home from the USA after the World War I. Ján had been living in the house for 40 years before he moved to the house he built with his wife. He got the idea of creating the collection in the manor house shortly before his retirement. The museum was open two years later. Farming tools that once belonged to his father were the first exhibits of the collection. Ján then concentrated on collecting the items related to crafts of everyday life in Važec. The exhibits include tools and equipment used by a weaver, shoemaker, men’s tailor and furrier, blacksmith, carpenter, potter, ropemaker and also the equipment and furnishings from a shepherds hut. The collection documents the life in Važec, it displays period photographs, trade licenses, trade related records and documents and it also boats a model of the village of Važec as it was before it was destroyed by fire. The model was created by Milan Bartko under the supervision of Mr Pafko. The museum shows household equipment, duvet covers and bedding sets typical of Važec, chests, clothing. “The artefacts I value most are the original bride and groom´s costumes and the chests that brides used to bring to their new household. The oldest one dates back to 1781, it has original decoration and the bride´s name written on it,” said Ján Kováč. Another rarity on show is a mechanism that powered the tower clock of the Lutheran church. The clock was restored in 1912.

Mr Kováč’s narrative takes visitors on a journey to the last century, they can feel the authenticity of the place, with stories of the craftsmen, carvers, shepherds and customs in Važec coming to life. Let´s hope the passion for traditions and history will stay with this almost eighty-year-old devoted collector for a long time.  

Picture description:

Traditional costume of the bride from Važec: tiara, blouse, woollen skirt, apron, puatky (embroidered squares on the upper part of the blouse), beaded necklace, scarf. Traditional costume of the groom from Važec: trousers, shirt, belt, hat.

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