It is a unique international biosphere reservation. Why international? Because, it is situated in three states. Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia.
In the Slovak part there is nationally varied population as Ruthenians and Slovaks live there. What breathtaking monuments, historical and natural gems can you see in the Slovak part of this region?
One magical myth mentions a successful woman – a beekeeper. According to a legend, there is a meadow of this “honey granny” in Poloniny. It is said she was very famous thanks to her work- making a quality honey. Her name was Zofia Matasovska and she moved here in 1920 from Poland. While her husband was working, she was bringing up two kids and 100 hives. Faraway chocolate factories in Kolin were the greatest importers of her honey. She was a hero typical for this place. You can find her sculpture in the Gallery of Monumental Sculptures in Snina.
Must-sees in Poloniny
Another attraction which is Poloniny famous for are the precious beeches primeval forests which are more than 400 years old and are recorded in the list of world heritage UNESCO.
The largest hill is Kremenec – 1221m. If you are that fit and dare to get to the top of this hill, except for a great view you will see there stone border column. It shows the place where Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine meet. It is the eastmost hill in Slovakia.
If you want to experience a hike and enjoy a nice tour, then do not omit the nature trail. It has been created recently and it is really picturesque. Its name is “Under dark sky” and it is 1200m long. You can start your journey in an information centre NP Poloniny. Further, you will get to mountain Stinska which is located on the Slovak-Ukrainian border. The track continues to Stara gazdovska road and then you will get back to the “start” – information centre. There are stops with information notice boards where you can train your brain. You will find there interesting information about this place.
Furthermore, there are some riddles like: Whose traces are these? Where are these leaves from? By answering these questions in the quiz, you can learn more about the fauna and flora of this area. The most famous from them are blue snail, bison, newt, elk, wolf and gentian. Marmaroske diamonds are small crystals of pure silica which are to be found in these mountains. They are very precious and jewels are made of them. In folk language it is called Fool’s gold.
Starina is the largest basin with drinking water in Slovakia and in Europe at the same time. In 90s of the last century, some villages vanished due to the creating of this basin.
If you had enough of nature and would like to see something really historical, then you should definitely visit the following place. The military cemetery is located on the mountain Predny Hodosik. It is famous because it is the cemetery which is placed on the highest place in Slovakia and Europe. It is the military cemetery from the WWI. There are graves of more than 2000 people.
Poloniny by bike
For all those who love biking, there is a bike tour prepared for everyone who cannot imagine trip without bicycle. Although it is short, it is very interesting. It starts in the village of Ruske and continues on serpentines of the oldest preserved road in Slovakia from 19th century. Then you may continue to Poland through seasonal tourist border passage. Ulicske Krive, Topola, Jalova, Rusky Potok and Kalna Roztoka. All these are places near Snina where wooden churches are situated. They welcome all people who search for historical and cultural sightseeing. They are spectacular and date back to the 18th century.
If you want to experience a bit of a rural culture and atmosphere, certainly visit the local festivals which are connected with these places. In July, three festivals are held. In Topola – Festival of A. Duchnovic – an evangelic priest who lived in 19th century, Russian folklore festival in Pcoline and Festival of culture and sport in Ulic.