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Welcome to Penzión Európa!
 About Osturňa<br />

About Osturňa

Penzion Europa
photo by Jan Timko
Penzion Europa
photo by Jan Timko
Penzion Europa
photo by Jan Timko
Penzion Europa
photo by Jan Timko
Penzion Europa
photo by Jan Timko
Penzion Europa
photo by Jan Timko

The village of Osturňa is believed to have been founded in 1313 by Germans migrants who were invited by the Austro-Hungarian Empire to inhabit and farm the land. By the mid-sixteenth century, many peasants from Poland were lured to the Empire with the promise of a 10-year tax recess. For reasons that remain unclear, a group of Ruthenians came to settle Osturňa.

Known in Poland as ''Łemko,'' Ruthenians are a Slavic people, but not Slovak. They are a stateless people who lived primarily in the regions between eastern Poland and western Ukraine, but also inhabited areas such as Vojvodina, now a part of Serbia.

The culture and traditions of Ruthenians are very old. They follow the Greek-Catholic (Uniate) religion, and liturgies are still said in Old Slavonic (a.k.a. Church Slavonic). The dialect, still widely spoken today by adults, is an interesting mixture of Ruthenian, Polish, and Slovak.

Until recently, there was only one road in or out of the village. Its remoteness and small population were primary factors for Osturňa to be overlooked during periods of development and modernization, and the village seemed to almost stand still in time. Fortunately, the Slovak government recognized this when, in 1979, it named Osturňa as one of only a handful of villages in Slovakia with the designation as a Historic Folk Architecture Reserve.

Osturňa is a very special place indeed, and Penzión Európa is proud to act as its unofficial cultural ambassador.