SK, High Tatras – Zbojnická Cottage
In the upper part of Velká Studená valley behind the Zbojnický ridge there is Zbojnická Cottage, a building with a hard fate. Going to a visit there means tourism, mountaineering, ski touring or crossing of near ridges.
Zbojnická Cottage is accessible during the whole year from Starý Smokovec, it is via a green tourist tracks to Hrebienok, from there you continue along red tourist track to Rainer’s Cottage and eventually you will go along a blue tourist track right to the cottage. It is rather a difficult walk but with little effort it even families with children can manage to do it. A walk to the cottage will take you about 3 hours and 15 minutes. Of course you can get there also from the Polish ridge along a green marked pathway and then across the Průlom ridge via blue marked tourist tracks. You can get there also from Téry Cottage across the Příčné ridge, but keep in mind the terms of accessibility of these trails (from June 15 to October 31). The latter trail is also one of the most popular. Hundreds of tourists manage a crossing from Malá Studená valley to Velká Studená valley and back every year with stops in local cottages. Such crossing will take you more than seven hours.
When we have already learned about various access point to Zbojnická Cottage I just have to put here some of its rich history. It began in the year 1907, the year that saw construction of the first cottage at Zbojnická plain by Sesterské lake at 1960 meters above the sea level. A simple building made of stone with slightly slanting roof and with plank beds in its interior was opened to the public in the year 1910.
A new cableway to Hrebienok and a new pathway were the reasons that stood in the background of higher attendance in the cottage. Later, a construction of the pathway continued and thus made the location of the cottage more attractive. A new tenant, The Club of Czechoslovak Tourists (CCT) contributed to a renovation and extension of the cottage. Construction adjustments resulted in a roofed terrace and one new room. Overall capacity of the cottage was 20 beds. The first cottager there was Dezider Palkovič. The cottage was called “a hunting cottage” until the year 1933 according to its original purpose, another name was “a shed above the Dlouhý forest” or “a shed of the CTT in Velká Studená valley”. The Poles called the cottage Truparnia, which means “a morgue”. How the cottage got its name Zbojnická? Cottager Peter Tomčík was the one who after one sleepless night there said that the cottage was suitable only for bandits (zbojníky). On his way down across Velká Studená valley he and his friend by Kamzík cottage attached a sign saying Zbojnická Cottage . Michal, a brother of this cottager, says that the cottage was named after Zbojnické lakes. Wherever lays the truth the name became established soon. Until the year 1933 the cottage used to be closed during winter but this changed after the CTT decision, which sought to help tourists even in winter, and it also had to prevent imminent vandalism. In 1936, there was another reconstruction of the cottage, which added agricultural buildings. During the Second World War the cottage was a shelter for the Poles fleeing from occupied Poland and there was another adjustment of the cottage in 1948. Even the latter didn’t prevent from a label calling it an “unsuitable architecture assessed to decay” that it received in the 1950s. Only after a large renovation in 1985 Zbojnická Cottage emerged as the best-furnished cottage in the High Tatras. A new cafeteria for 60 people, water pipeline, electricity and new additions to its interior created a sort of uniqueness of the cottage. Sun collectors for water heating were the very first of their kind in the Tatras.
The new cottage didn’t enjoy its fame for long. In the first half of June 1998 it burned down . Luckily, present personnel and one guest from Poland managed to leave the cottage and safe themselves. Right on the next day renovation works began. It was hard because insurance money was not sufficient but thanks to contributions from people and companies a month later there was a temporary wooden cottage. A year later a construction of a whole new cottage began. The construction was supported also by a load bearer’s competition called Sherpa Ralley. Competing load bearers had to carry requested loads to the cottage. Towards the end of the year 1999 the cottage a testing regime and in October 2001 it was ceremonially opened. The new cottage was built on old foundations so its ground plan didn’t change. Thanks to practically placed elements the cottage had more daylight and space. Thanks to a double glass wall on south a new system of air heating was added. A gas aggregate, wind generator and photovoltaic provide electricity.
Currently the cottage provides 48 places in cafeteria and 16 beds. The cottage receives its supplies from load bearers and it also operates as a mountain rescue station. Zbojnická cottage is an ideal place to stop for those who go to the Tatra. The cottage that will warmly welcome you lays between two most popular crossings of valleys and is a guardian of nice and picturesque Velká Studená valley.
Text a photo: Oskar Mažgút
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