Poloniny, the easternmost Slovak National Park, was added to the network of Slovak national parks in 1997. Poloniny lies on the Slovak-Polish-Ukrainian border and is in close proximity to the Polish Bieszczady National Park and the Ukrainian Užan National Park.
The national park is part of the East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve and the mountain complex in which the national park was established is called Bukovské vrchy.
The highest point of the Poloniny National Park is Kremenec (1,210 m above sea level), which is a link between the Slovak, Polish and Ukrainian borders.
The name Poloniny has its origin in the name of flowering mountain ridge meadows lying above the forest level, which people in these parts once called “poloniny“. It is also the only area in Slovakia where we can find a herd of wisent (Bison Bonasus).
Most of the area of the Poloniny National Park consists of forests. Nature is characterized by its rounded ridges and waterlogged valleys, in some places we can find sharp rocky hills. The area is rare due to its original beech-fir forests in Europe, which pass into the forests and are home to brown bears, wolves, lynx, wild cats and bison.
In this park, there are excellent conditions for observing of The Milky Way and visitors can see several thousand stars without binoculars. The observation of the sky is also possible at The Astronomical Observatory at Kolonické sedlo, which is, thanks to the low values of light pollution, ideal for scientists of the Vihorlat Observatory in Humenné. Very popular is the second largest telescope in Slovakia – Vihorlat National Telescope with a diameter of the main mirror of 1 meter, as well as planetarium.
In 2007, the Stužica, Havešová and Rožok forests in Bukovské vrchy were designated as a World Natural Heritage by the UNSESCO, together with the Vihorlat Forest in Vihorlatské vrchy in the Vihorlat Protected Landscape Area and with forests in Ukraine.
The main starting point for visiting Poloniny is the village of Nová Sedlica.
The Meadow of the Honey Woman
In Bukovské vrchy, along the route from Nová Sedlica to the top of Riabá skala, you can go to a place called Meadow of the Honey Woman, Medová baba, or honey Žofia. This is how the local people used to call the simple modest woman Žofia Maťašovská, who once lived in the Poloniny area, in the village of Nová Sedlica and made her living by beekeeping.
It is a large meadow with a monumental statue of a woman – Honey Woman with a height of 7 meters. Žofia moved to Nová Sedlica in 1928. Thanks to high-quality mountain honey, her honey was also supplied to the gingerbread factory in Pardubice or the chocolate factories in Cologne, Germany. Žofia lovingly cared for up to 80 hives.
Its sculpture was created by sculptor Marek Žitňan and erected in 2002. There is also a log apiary on the meadow, where the wooden Žofia is still looking at her flowering meadows and hardworking bees. All visitors can enjoy not only beautiful views and peace, but also meadows full of flowers and herbs.
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