Zdiar is a typical Goral community, a living museum of folk architecture. Its beauty is enhanced by its position amid a lovely natural setting between the cliffs of the Belianske Tatry mountains and the Spisska Magura mountains covered by thick woods. Zdiar stretches over the Podtatranska brazda furrow, the Cesta Slobody road of Tatranska Kotlina to Lysa Polana and runs parallel to the axis of the community. The centre of the 6 km long community is about 13 km of the boundary cross point to Poland in Lysa Polana and the shortest road of Zdiar to the district town of Poprad measures 34 km.
The old acts of 1282 quote the name of the region where much later Zdiar originated as Stragar. The origin of this antiquated name is not known. Until 1470 the land belonged to Gallus-Kostros and his heirs, the family Berzeviczy of Velka Lomnica. In the second half of the 16th century the Biela brook valley was seasonally inhabited by shepherds and colliers, mostly during the summer. The presence of the colliers is proven by several places which conserve aspects of their activities. The serfs of the Lendak estate expanded their land by burning the forest. The procedure was called "ziarenie" (glowing) and that is where the community founded by a castle warden Frantisek Luzinsky sometimes at the beginning of the 17th century, took its name of. A document dated 1773 cites the name Zdyar; however, in 1808 the name Zjar, closer to the original one, is quoted.
The community of
Zdiar originated during the Sholtys (sholtys = mayor) colonisation based on
Wallachian privilege. Initially 13 families arrived to the burnt out forest.
The territory chosen for the settlement was divided to 13 equal parts. To mark
the division the brook was used as an imaginary axis around which 13 equal
clearings called zaru-by were made and they became the limits of the individual
lots. The large area around the village allowed for additional lots and the
oldest inhabitants of Zdiar had comparably abundant land. That is how was the
community extended to its total length of six kilometres. During the second
wave of colonisation the repartition continued and involved the lateral
valleys and contiguous hills. In new lots communities like the Bachledova
dolina valley, the Antosovsky vrch mountain, the Pavlovska dolina valley, the
Blascacka dolina valley, the Bartusovska dolina valley, the Monkova dolina
valley, and the Sladicovsky vrch mountain originated and are under the
administration of the community.
In the 1970's and 1980's Zdiar progressively became one of the largest tourist centres of the Slovak Tatras, as far as the accommodation capacity was concerned, citing "the biggest hotel of the High Tatras". There were seasons when in the houses of Zdiar as many as 3000 visitors were lodged in summer. Before 1989 the great majority of the Zdiar clientele consisted of tourists coming of the former Eastern Germany. Because of the numerous cars of German provenance, almost exclusively all the famous two-stroke Trabants, parked next to the wooden houses of Zdiar, the community was mockingly called "Trabantovo".
The Goral Zor
Local folk tradition offers a more romantic explanation of the community's original name. In the distant past the thick wood in the broad valley of Biela under the Belianske Tatry mountains was frequented by the people of nearby villages to make charcoal. Legend states that one of the colliers built in the middle of the forest a triangle shaped little hut. The only window of the hut was turned so that the light of the morning star entered the room. The star, called in Goral dialect "Zor", was the source of inspiration of the name for the community that later sprang around the old collier's hut. The Zdiar people speaking their Goral dialect still refer to their community as Zor.
Zdiar region is the only one which lies in the northern part of the Vychodne Tatry mountains. Its northern boundary constitutes the main ridge of the Spisska Magura mountains. In the west it is limited by the state borderline with Poland heading of Lysa Pol'ana southward up to the Bielovodska dolina valley and along the Zabi hheben ridge up to the top of the Rysy Mt. The southern boundary of Zdiar is formed by the main ridge of the High Tatras and the Belianske Tatry mountains between the Rysy Mt. and Tatranska Kotlina.
Opportunities for tourists coming to Zdiar are considerably limited at present as many of the marked footpaths in the Belianske Tatry mountains are closed. The reason is the need to revive the disturbed ecological balance in this particular area of the mountain range. In 1991 an area of 5,408 ha of this unique territory was declared a national nature reserve of the Belianske Tatry mountains. The only accessible path is the green-marked one tracing the edge of the reserve and continuing by a educational tourist path, Monkova Dolina valley - Kopske Sedlo saddle. The path was opened in the summer of 1993 and crosses the Belianske Tatry mountains over a total length of 6 km reaching an elevation difference of about 900 m. It is accessible only in the summer season, in a one-way direction of the bottom and subject to an entrance fee. There are six stops on the track presenting the sights and places of interests of the Belianske Tatry mountains. Information on the stops is provided by leaflets. However, lovers of hiking do not have to avoid Zdiar. There are some interesting walks to the opposite side, with an easily accessible mountain range of Spisska Magura. The ascent to the main ridge of the mountain range is worth it for the unique view of the panorama of the Belianske Tatry mountains over the typical community of Zdiar. Two of the marked footpaths crossing the main Magura ridge lead to Jezerske jazero lake, or to one of the Osturnianske lakes in the Zamagurie region. Summer tourists lodged in Zdiar prefer the slopes of Spisska Magura mountains as they offer the occasion to pick various forest fruit. They are famous for blue-coloured "carpets" of blackberries. In turn the winter in the Spisska Magura mountains means ideal conditions for cross-country skiing. Passes over the prolonged and rather flat Magura mountain ridges with slight different elevations are suitable also for less experienced skiers. Access to the main Magura ridge is facilitated by a chair-lift starting in the Bachledova Dolina valley.
Text ©: doc. RNDr. Ján Lacika, CSc