The Historical Switchback Railway and Museum of Vychylovka, New Bystrica, Slovakia

Kysuce Museum

THE KYSUCE HISTORICAL MUSEUM - the Museum is located in a picturesque surroundings of Chmúra Valley in Nová Bystrica-Vychylovka, a part of the Kysuce region. The beauty of its plants and animals in harmony with the appeal of its original architecture create a unique scenery. Founded in 1974, the Museum's foremost goal is to protect and preserve the traditional architecture for future generations. Therefore, buildings like those from village of Riečnica-Harvelka which was flooded by man were relocated here.

Visitors can admire wooden houses coming from settlements U Rybov or Do Potoka consisting of a residential part, barn and stable with a cellar under one common roof, or, a similar one that once belonged to Riečnice mayor A. Poništa.

There could be seen buildings representing traditio­nal architecture from all parts of the Kysuce region. E.g., homestead U Hruškuliaka comprising of two residential houses, barn, stable and granary which is a typical isolated settlement. There can also be found a seasonal dwelling called cholvarok where shepherds used to stay in for summer and, at the same time, it stabled sheep and stored fodder. Buildings like a residential house from Oščadnica (1806), Hájenka from Dunajov or Inn from Korňa come from different parts of Kysuce. Watermill and sawmill from Klubina in particular document technical development of the time.

The impressive Historical Forest Cogwheel Railway declared to be the Slovak National and Cultural Monu­ment runs through the Museum. Originally, it transported the wood from Bystrica Valley and partially also from the Orava region down to a sawmill in Oščadnica and further to the railway linking Eastern and Western parts of Slovakia.

The Kysuce Historical Museum organizes a wide range of events for its visitors, such as presentations of traditional crafts, customs, dance and music performances from the Kysuce region.

HISTORICAL FOREST COGWHEEL RAILWAY A narrow-gauged 11 km long Historical Forest Cogwheel Railway leading from the settlement Kubátkovia to the locality Tanečník in the Orava region constitutes an integral part of the Museum. It is what remained of a former railway that used to connect two northernmost regions of Slovakia - Orava and Kysuce. Presently, two parts of the original railway were preserved. The 1st part leading from Chmúra to Tanečník was declared to be the Slovak National Monument for its technical uniqueness.

By help of 5 cogwheels, the train overcomes the altitude of 217.69 m on a relatively short distance of 1,500 m. The 2nd part from Chmúra station to the settlement Kubátkovia, first disassembled and later renewed, runs on its 2,700 m partly through the Museum, too. After being reconstructed, the Historical Railway no longer serves its original purpose - wood transportation, but it took on two new social functions: I. Documentary and representative function, i.e. preservation of historically and technically significant transportation system as well as an organic part of the Museum as a whole; II. Transportation function for the museum visitors.

Two historical steam engines from 1909 and 1916 together with the diesel ones and reconstructed carriages offer visitors tour around the Museum. All the engines and carriages are kept and maintained in a new depot built on a basis of a historical project. After being reconstructed, the Historical Railway no longer serves its original purpose - wood transportation, but it took on two new social functions: documentary and The museum preserves this historically and technically significant transportation system. And, secondly the museum offers transport for the museum's visitors.

A chapel most likely comes from the beginning of the 19th century. It has two parts: tower and nave finished by a semicircle apse. A facade shows no artistic details. Interestingly, thanks to the time and incompetence of its builders, there appear to be slight irregularities in height and ground plan of the chapel. The tower has two bells. The bigger one was cast by a bell-founder Kajetan Zeidl in Trnava in 1834, and the smaller one comes from Trenčín (1918). The ceiling of the chapel is decorated by a fresco by an unknown painter. Tombs were brought to the museum together with the Chapel of St. Mary Rosary from a nearby cemetery. Most of the preserved tombs were made of cast-iron that became widely used in the Kysuce cemeteries at the end of the 19th century. The oldest tombs date back to 1823. As probably the same form was in use for a long time, shapes of the crosses do not differ too much. The crosses set into the stone prisms, are decorated with plant ornaments (vinegrapes, rose, acanth), ribbons, and plaits. The body of Christ is placed right in the middle of each cross with a writing "INRI" above, or, on a ribbon, and there is also an oval medallion of various shapes under it. A huge wooden cross can be found in the center of the cemetery. Left from the Chapel is situated a copy of sculpture of St. Jan Nepomucký from Riečnica (the original is in the Kysuce Museum in Čadca).
Both mills represent the latest phase in the development of the water machines of the end of the 19th century. Eventually, the watermill started to be used only in 1921. In 1926, milľs new owner Michal Fojtík added 13 sawmills. It is a horizontal building with a brick filling. The character of the watermill was considerably shaped by its former owner Ján Kubica, who, having travelled the world as a tinker, came across various kinds of progressive technical buildings of the time (esp. in German environment). The mills are powered by a 5-metre water wheel using the water from a nearby local brook.

The upper part of the mill.

The lower part of mill.

Being only one of two buildings saved after the fire in 1954, it is a typical wooden house with a saddle roof from 1810. The house has 3 rooms, stone cellar and later added chamber. The room is arranged with a traditional kitchen furniture from the beginning of the 19th century. Moreover, there is also a device for home cloth production. Kysuce women used to weave the thick linen cloth for domestic use in the wintertime. The house has a brick oven with a smoke discharged to chimney and further to an attic where it is fmished by another smaller oven. This early type of heating installation is notable for its decoration - a solar rosette. In the chamber are shown devices used for linen processing - wingle, beater, grinder, bristles, etc.

Tool for the production of hand-woven rugs.

A house consists of 3 rooms with the last one being added from the back part of pitvor. It was built on a relatively flat terrain in 1884. Once again, it possesses the typical architecture signs of buildings of this area: the log walls, the saddle roof covered with home-made shingles. The current exposition features the life of a Kysuce tinker. A craft of tinkering was once one of the most spread houseworks in Kysuce. To practise the craft, tinkers needed wire and tin. They did not only mend tools and metal pots, but also produced spoonholders, hangers, sieves, ladles, mousetraps, ironing boards, etc. These craftsmen usually carried all the tools on their backs in a hamper. The Kysuce tinkers travelled widely and became wellknown all over the world - in America, Asia, Australia, Europe.

Tinker's working tools, which wore on his back ( Krošňa ).

Tinker's poser.

Tool for gather blueberries.

A house is made from logs and has three rooms with a divided pitvor. The bigger of the chambers was added to the back of the room. Situated in a slope, there is a stable underneath. The location of the stable made it possible to utilize the warmth of animals to keep plausible temperature in the residential part above. The smoke from an oven, which has signs of ceramic tiles, was already discharged to a chimney. Today, the house exhibition features bridal belongings displaying several traditional aspects of the Kysuce wedding. Characteristic bridal dress and wedding presents can be seen in the chamber.

Working tools on household chores, which was given as a wedding gift. Family couldn't lived without them.

Credits: Story

Photographs taken by Peter Juriš and Natália Kolenová. Translation and texts by Veronika Pauková and Filip Kováč.
From sources of Kysucké múzeum v Čadci.
The project has been realized by Peter Juriš, Veronika Pauková, Filip Kováč, Benedikta Bajáková.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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