Thematic trails in the border region between Poland and Slovakia

Trails set out by local government units or tourist associations have an invaluable importance for the development of tourism. Taking care of their continuity and accessibility is a big challenge for their creators and carers. Tourists following a given trail sometimes express their criticism, which usually motivates the carers to even more systematic work on the condition of the trail. Not only maintaining the existing trails, but also creating new ones represents a challenge. More and more attention is paid to thematic trails related to a specific type of tourist facilities, historical figures or items of intangible cultural heritage.

The main aim of creating and maintaining such trails in good condition is presenting the cultural heritage of a given area and linking places and tourist facilities together. It also has a positive impact on the inhabitants, who have the sense of solidarity and community with their neighbours when taking care of a trail together. Tourists are given the opportunity to choose a trail matching their interests: the trails have been officially divided into seven categories: historical-archaeological trails, ethnographic and cultural trails, trails of architectural and industrial monuments, trails following the footsteps of great figures, water trails, mountain trails and nature trails.

In the Polish-Slovak border area there are many different thematic trails that may interest a wide group of tourists. One of the most interesting ones is the Carpathian Temples Trail, which is 150 km long and runs from the Slovak town of Stropkov to the Polish town Krosno through the border-crossing point in Barwinek. The trail crosses twenty-eight towns and villages with precious Catholic, Greek Catholic and Orthodox churches as well as synagogues. This trail connects many cultures and allows you to get acquainted with their specificity and sacred dimension. Among the monuments covered by the trail there is, inter alia, the 14th-century Roman Catholic church in Stropkov, the 17th-century Greek Catholic church in Gribov, the Baroque church in Dukla, the parish church in Krosno and the monastery complex in Miejsce Piastowe.

Museum enthusiasts may be interested in the cross-border bicycle trail called Beskid Museum Trail, which runs through Krosno County in Poland and Svidnik, Stropkov and Humenne districts in Slovakia. The total length of the trail is 321 km, including 235 km on the Polish side and 86 km on the Slovak side of the border. However, you do not have to take the entire route at once, because it has been wisely divided into 13 routes, which makes it much easier to get through.

This trail is particularly important, because due to the turbulent history of the Polish-Slovak border region, very few historic objects and monuments survived in this area. Its role is to lead tourists through museums, which preserve the traces of history and past life of this area with due diligence. Along the trail we will find several museums in Krosno (including the Subcarpathian Museum and the Museum of Crafts), the Village Museum in Odrzykoń, the Maria Konopnicka Museum in Żarnowiec, the Slovak Open Air Museum in Svidnik or the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce.

If we decide to visit the Polish-Slovak border region, we have many possibilities: from visiting and learning about individual towns and monuments located in them to following extremely interesting and varied thematic trails. The increasingly rich tourist and cultural offer of this area makes that the number of tourists who undertake a shorter or longer visit is rising year by year. It is worth taking the right decision and choosing one of the routes – who knows what kind of amazing adventure we will have along the way?

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