SK, Poloniny National Park – The Most Picturesque Nook in the Country
The Poloniny National Park, part of the Eastern Carpathian Biosphere Reserve and since 2010 it is also known as the dark skies park. The national park received this nickname because it is the darkest area in Slovakia as for the light pollution. The predominant part of the park is the Bukovske Hills, which are an ideal place for active tourists as well as pedal bikers. Sightseeing lovers will also come here because there are fascinating wooden churches with icons and iconostasis (wall with icons).
The starting point for visiting the park is the town of Snina. There are plenty of places to visit, so we have chosen just a few. If you are tourist enthusiast, head to the highest peak of the national park and the entire Zemplín - Kremenec region (1221 m above sea level). You will not see wide-ranging views of the surrounding countryside but you will find yourself in the easternmost point of the Slovak Republic and at the same time within three states. A red marked tourist trail (from Nové Sedlice) will lead you to the top. If you are looking for sightseeing, just a few minutes away, visit the Kamenna Louka.
A walk at the outskirts of forest can also be interesting for you. Consisting mostly of beech communities there are great views of hundreds of plant species and a number of animals or organisms. Here you can see several endemites, countless mushrooms, or the majestic bisons brought in here in 2004.
At the beginning, we mentioned that the park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, but here we have to make a note that this considers only selected parts. One of them is the Stuzica National Nature Reserve, where you can see the original Carpathian forests stretching in a deep valley around the Stuzica River. The entrance gate is the Dark Top. Equally interesting is a trip to the vicinity of the Starina water reservoir, which is the largest drinking water reservoir in Slovakia, even some sources say that even in Central Europe. It is built on the upper reaches of the Ciroch River. During its construction 7 villages had to retreat, drinking water supplies large cities, such as Humenne, Presov, Vranov nad Toplou and Kosice, and a photogenic view of the surrounding countryside emerged from its banks.
Other tips will be the tiny villages in the Polonina landscape, which are famous for the presence of wooden jewels, mostly from the 18th century. The village of Topola offers a view of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel and the military cemetery from 1915. In the nearby village of Ulicske Krisve, you will see another wooden church with baroque details, and Ulic is worth a visit, where you can see the models of most wooden churches within the mini open air museum. The Ulic also offers a recreational-learning area, several memorial plaques, and the Count's Way, which is a lot of exotic oak trees.
The Poloniny National Park with its adjoining surroundings is indeed a great place for trips, relaxation, and adventure. In most places there are information boards, well-marked trails and warm people. A visit is possible all year round. Tourists, travelers and nature lovers will come here. So pack your stuff and go to discover the most picturesque corner of Slovakia.
GPS: (Ulič) 48°57'49.3"N 22°25'28.7"E
Text: Oskár Mažgút
Foto: HIK, o.z.
Překlad: Stanislava Waniová
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