SK, High Tatras – Rocky Cottage (Skalnatá chata)
Today we will continue in our tour de cottages in Tatras. This time we will go to the Rocky Cottage (1751 meters above the sea level) that is located under the second highest peak of the High Tatras – Lomnický peak – and above the settlement of Tatranská Lomnica.
You can get to the Rocky Cottage via many routes. The easiest way you can get there is by a cable way from Tatranská Lomnica right to Skalnaté pleso where it is only 5 minutes downhill to the cottage. A little bit more difficult is a route along the Tatranská magistrála from Hrebienko. Even more difficult routes lead from Tatranská Lomnica alogn a cableway and along the Tatranská magistrála from Zelené pleso. Despite several levels of difficulty of named routes it is suitable also for family with children. Before you move off to see this beautiful cottage, hidden somewhere in massive granite of Tatras, we will tell you something of its history.
From the past to the present
The history of the cottage began already in 1209 during the rule of Andrew II . Wayfarers were hiding there behind a large boulder sticking out from the hillside to avoid bad weather. This place used to be called a Rocky Fireplace . The thing that attracted people then was the same at it is today - Lomnický peak. Since ever climbers tried to climb up one of the most impressive peaks in the High Tatras. In the course of time a Rocky Fireplacy became something as a point for ascents and descents. The number of people who were interested in climbing up onto the peak was rising so a Rocky Fireplace was adjusted in 1841. Four tourists from Silesia walled the fireplace in. During summer adjustments there improved thanks to other tourists. Thank to the initiative of the Hungary-Carpathian Association the fireplace became a shed in 1915, during the administration of the State Forests agency. It was built and finished in the same year by the army. In front of the furnace there was built a meter and half high half-circle wall and a roof of reinforced concrete. A barred window was put to a concrete wall. The shed was equipped with a fireplace and up to 25 persons could stay overnight there. The construction used to be called " a cavern". The shed was taken over by the Czechoslovak Tourist Club in 1932 and in 1934 the club offered a long-time assistant Michal Tomčík participation in upcoming rebuilding of “The Cavern” to a real cottage. Tomčík had to be also an administrator of the cottage. He agreed and the former reconstruction change to the construction of a whole new cottage.
Works were fast and a year later the cottage was completed however, there were many financial problems during the construction. There were added kitchen equipment, a bed, a bench, tables and after it was opened the capacity was 14 beds. Together with his wife Tomčík administered the cottage on a whole year basis. Right during the first winter they learned western winds brought massive snowdrifts due to which they constructed a 2x2 meters large terrace that created a lee side. Tomčík were good administrators until 1945 as it was apparent on its popularity among local and foreign visitors. Due to a very unfair lease contract Tomčík had later to apply to be a joiner at the construction of the cableway from Tatranská Lomnica to Skalnaté pleso. His wife continued with maintenance of the cottage. A new cottage administrator, Michal Bobula, replaced the Tomčík’s family. Thanks to the cableway the cottage could flourish and with the installation of electricity perfect conditions were established for new clients to come and for the tourism to flourish there.
But, as it happens, the opposite happened. Due to political and other changes, e.g. in property rights, the cottage was falling into despair. No of its owners was particularly keen to renovate it. The cottage was even marked as “unsuitable” and it was suggested the cottage would be renovated in 1952. Since 1953, Rudolf Presler was administering the cottage and he was instrumental in rise of number of beds and comfort of accommodation. In the course of time the cottage, however, was falling into despair. In 1972 its operation was closed and the Rocky Cottage changed to a storehouse for couple of years ,until March 1984. After the former TANAP Administration and the additional construction from 1955 was disclaimed, even the part that covered the fireplace. Even the rest of the cottage had to be demolished but the cottage was, in 1993, rented to the former High Tatras load bearer Laco Kulang. He had been instrumental in a vast renovation during which water pipeline was brought to the cottage and even a sewage disposal plant was built. All of this resurrected the plant. In 1994 the operation of the cottage was limited but two years later it was in full operation
In the present the cottage has 8 beds, a bathroom, and WC facility. The kitchen offers hot and cold beverages and the whole building has electric heating. The cottage administrator who to this day carries goods from the cableway right to the cottage provides its supplies. The Rocky Cottage offers an unusual look at the subtatranian landscape and, at the same time, it is a starting point for nice walks or a pleasant shelter for freezing skiers.
Text and photo: Oskar Mažgút
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