There are many beautiful places in the world that people call paradise. We also have beautiful nature in Slovakia, but only one locality bears the official name Slovak Paradise thanks to its exceptional natural beauty – deep gorges, canyons, magical waterfalls and mysterious caves. Who first called this piece of land on Spiš paradise and when? There are several theories.
According to one of them, the Carthusian monks called this territory paradise more than 700 years ago, when they built a monastery here in 1299. In contemporary documents, it is mentioned for the first time under the Latin name paradises, which in translation means paradise.
In the document of the papal legate Gentilis from 1308, it is written "domorum cartusiensis sancte Margarite in Lapis Refugii ac paradisi" - that means on the Rock of Refuge.
Church teacher Peter Damian explains, however, that "claustrum est paradisus", i.e. j. each monastery is considered a symbol of paradise - the vestibule of heaven on earth, the garden of paradise. Whether the Carthusian monks of the time only imagined the monastery or its wide surroundings under the name paradise, we will never know.
The first descriptions of the territory of the current Slovak Paradise come from the 19th century. The exception is the chronicle of the Carthusian monastery in Kláštorisko. Although the people inhabiting the area knew of its beauty, these descriptions relate more to its economic use or events at the Rock of Refuge.
Until the work of Dr. Theodora Posewitza is a guide describing the beauty of today's Slovak Paradise. However, we know the history and territory of the center of today's Slovak Paradise and Kláštorisko mainly from the description of Spiš historians Jozef Hradský and Matúš Pajdušák. Systematic archeological research in the Slovak Paradise documents its settlement since the Stone Age. People found good living conditions here, i.e. j. suitable cave spaces, the possibility to fortify your residence, water, wood and plenty of game.
Prehistoric people settled on the banks of the Hornád River. They lived at the confluence of Hornád and Veľká Bielá vody, Ihrík, Čertová diera and elsewhere in the vicinity. The archaeological survey of the Kláštorisko on Čertová sihot revealed older rampart fortifications, one of which dates back to the 5th century BC. Finds from Zelena hura (bronze and iron objects) near Hrabušice are from the 3rd to 4th century BC. The Slavs came to this territory in the second half of the first millennium, established fortified settlements, settlements and used it economically.
The name Slovak paradise first appeared in the magazine Krásy Slovenska in 1921 in an article by Gustáv Nedobré, who wrote: "Slovak paradise. This beautiful name honors the region, one of the most beautiful in Slovakia. It is in Spišská župa in the vicinity of Hrabušíce and Nová Ves in the Hornat valley and other side valleys. Thanks to Anton Straka, this truly magical, so far not fully appreciated corner of Slovakia will be revived and marked again."
The epithet Slovak was probably added to paradise by students associated in Sládkovič's self-education club at the Boys' Educational Institute, employees of the Košice-Bohumín Railway in Spišská Nová Ves in 1920, who were nationally inspired by Gustáv Nedobrý, an important Slovak tourist and sports official, mountaineer, ski racer and at the same time director of this institute. Other sources state that the author of the name Slovenský raj is professor Béla Hajts. However, there is no convincing evidence of this.
The romantic and magical territory of the Slovak Paradise is a remnant of the mighty Silva nigra, or Čierna hora. Čierna hora covered the territory between the Hornád and Slaná rivers, the central point of which is Kráľova hoľa hill. Local geographical names and the archaeological survey of the Slovak Paradise prove that the original settlement of the territory was Slavic.
This is evidenced by the names of ravines, hills, valleys, villages: Havrania dolina, Biela voda - Piecky, Sokolia dolina, Stratená, Biely potok, Havrania skala, Matka Božia and others. Forests and mineral wealth gave the people who lived here work and sustenance. Mines for copper, iron, silver and other metals and non-metals - clay, limestone, which were mined here, enabled the development of mining, metallurgy, forestry, coal mining and other crafts.
After the Tatar invasions in the 13th century, the original population thinned out. Residents from depopulated villages hid in deep forests and caves. Hungarian king Belo IV. the country was then settled by colonists from Germany, as evidenced by the names of some localities, hills and villages - Blaumont, Rittenberg, Neudorf, Glac, Flajsher...
The inhabitants of the Slovak Paradise experienced the busiest period during the Hussite movement – in April 1433, the Hussites occupied the Carthusian monastery on the Rock of Refuge (Kláštorisko). Later, during the reign of Jan Jiskra from Brandýs, the development of the fraternal movement took place, small fortifications were built, which were called camps, following the example of the Hussites. The most famous was the camp on Zelena hora.
Zelená hora (658 m) is located in an important strategic and advantageous location and was an important residence for many years. Originally, this castle was supposed to guard the safety of the road leading from Spiš to Gemer via Glac (the old Glack road).