Liptovská Mára Lake

(lit. Liptov /St/ Mary Lake). There are two big artificial lakes on our route (plus two small ones next to each one of them). The lake is 22 (27km max.) square kilometers big. For comparison, Garda Lake is 370 sq km big. Still, this lake impresses… Usually tranquil waters reflect the sky, changing colors from blue to steel grey. They are surrounded by the ragged silhouette of the Tatras, Low Tatras and lower hills. The dam, 1350m long and 45 meters high, was built between 1965 and 1975. The lake can contain up to 360.000.000 cubic meters and is the biggest in Slovakia in capacity (but not the area). A railway line had to be replaced, some 4000 persons from 12 villages had to leave their homes which would be underwater.

The lonely tower of the former St Mary (hence MARA - Mary) Church is the only relic of what was once an important centre of the region. It survived because it was built over the village. The church - in fear of being an underwater monument, was moved and reconstructed, with a use of some original parts, in the Museum in Pribylina (detour day 2). It used to be a centre of local religious power, a place where the noble would gather; its importance is actually older than the Christianity on these lands (see below).

Detour: A 0,5km hike uphill from the road, there is another interesting place - Havránok Archeological Site - as innocent as this place might look, it was a scene of several crimes. Probably the guilty will never be punished as the murders occurred hundreds of years ago. Havránok is an important archaeological site in Slovakia. It was a Celtic hill fort, later there was an early medieval wooden castle. The local shrine was an important religious centre for the local Celts from the Iron Age and the Roman Era. Hence the murders - local druids sacrificed people to insure a good harvest. The site was discovered and reconstructed in the 1960-ies. What we can see today are a shrine, a fortified gateway, a part of the stone walls, a farmstead, a pottery kiln and houses from various periods. Plus an amazing view over the Liptovská Mara Lake and the surrounding hills and mountains. Entrance fee: 2,00 €.

Find it on Day 1/5: TatraVelo Goulash.