Jablunkov Local Customs

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    A LOT OF ADVERTISEMENTS NOW!
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  • STATUES  OF  SAINTS  IN  JABLUNKOV
    STATUES OF SAINTS IN JABLUNKOV
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  • COBBLED  MAIN  SQUARE  IN  JABLUNKOV
    COBBLED MAIN SQUARE IN JABLUNKOV
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Most Recent Local Customs in Jablunkov

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    No more propaganda, advertisements now!

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 21, 2004

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    Haha, for most of you it's nothing new. But in former Czechoslovakia (before 1990) there were almost no commercial advertisements along streets, highways and on state-owned stores. There were communist propaganda banners instead that time.

    Now, even in small Jablunkov there are more and more colorful commercial advertisements. Not always pretty... but anyway the town look much better and more colorful than in 80'.

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    New colors of Jablunkov

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 19, 2004

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    Driving many times through Jablunkov since 80' I noticed that many locals started to paint their houses since say 1990 when communism fell down. Before, most houses were grey-back and not painted for years, hmm... expect local Czechoslovac Communist Party seat. Now, most houses are painted in various colours like bright green as you can see on my picture (Mexico or what? :-).

    BRIGHT  GREEN  HOUSE  IN  JABLUNKOV
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    Where do they work?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 19, 2004

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    The Czech Republic is the only country in Central and Eastern Europe to have gone through the radical transformation phase without experiencing mass unemployment - it's below 10% (in, say Poland almost 20%). But in Moravia (and northwestern Bohemia) where Jablunkov is located the situation is much worse with unemplyment in some countryside areas of even over 20%. What does it mean for visitors?
    Lower prices but higher crime rate in urban areas - not in small Jablunkov but larger city of Ostrava - as well, I think.

    Looking at empty villages and towns I often thought over: where do all the natives work there? I think that there was no much choice although usually we found a few commercials of local, small companies and some new small businesses as you can see on my picture. But we usually could meet a lot of natives (unemployed?) tasting beer in local pubs/beer houses.

    After WWII Czechoslovak regime spent a lot of energy for development of unefficient heavy industry (cold war) mainly in Czech (not Slovak) land. Since, say 1990, when much more "normal" economy started, this industry started to go bancrupt. Many people lost their jobs. Few of them started to run their own small businesses (llok at my picture), some found a job in newly established factories (est. by foreign companies mainly), many - esp. older ones - didn't find any job. The process of "restructurisation" of economy and state-owned companies is still underway but seems to be slower than in Poland.

    NEW  SMALL BUSINESS IN  JABLUNKOV
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    Czech Republic's Coat of Arms

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 19, 2004

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    Excuse me, it's more Czech than Jablunkov local custom tip - I will transfer it to my new Czech page, soon!

    They used to put Czech's Republic coat of arms on official/government buildings.
    This one on my picture on Jablunkov town hall is called Czech Republic's greater coat of arms which consists of four fugures which represents different, historical areas of today's Czech Republic: two different (in shape and colour) eagles and two identical lions (small arms):
    1. Bohemia - a crowned, silver, double-tailed lion on a red background (hence the white and red flag) - top left and bottom right
    2. Moravia - a checky red and white eagle on a blue field - top right (similar to Poland's eagle)
    3. Silesia - a black eagle (with a white thing on the breast called a "kleestengel" in German or cloverstalk in English) on gold - bottom left.

    Look at color picture of greater Czech Republic's Coat of Arms: click here

    One more notice:
    - Bohemia forms western Czech Republic - heart of old Czech state with Prague as capitol,
    - Moravia is estern and northeastern part of Czech Republic with Brno as capitol;
    - Silesia is a historical country which belongs mostly to Poland nowadays but belonged to Germany in the past - only small part (region of Cesky Tesin) is called Tesin Silesia and belongs to Czech. Hmm... administratively it belongs to Moravia region now (what a mistake! = quite another culture).

    CZECH  REPUBLIC'S  COAT  OF  ARMS
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    Dogs by local houses

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 19, 2004

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    I didn't see any dogs walked with their owners in Jablunkov. Instead, I could see dogs behind fences, in frontyards of quite many local houses. Owners usually put warning plates: POZOR PES (attention: dog) on the fences. This small, multi-racial dog on my picture (enlarge :-) was barking very loud at us and jumping like crazy behind the fence.

    DOG  BEHIND  THE  FENCE  (ENLARGE!)
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    Boom for... new cobblestones

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2004

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    Excuse me, it's more Czech than Jablunkov local custom tip - I will transfer it to my new Czech page, soon!

    I noticed that many streets were cobbled in downtowns/centers of Czech towns and cities since 90'; usually in parts closed to traffic but not exclusively - look at the main square of Jablunkov for example.

    Temporary cobblestones are flat, easy to drive on them. Original, old ones were naturally rounded, rather for... horse riding than driving. Hmm... they didn't survive till now.

    COBBLED  MAIN  SQUARE  IN  JABLUNKOV
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    Religion

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2004

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    Once I noticed quite many locals going out of the Roman catholic parish church after Sunday holy mass in Jablunkov. There were always fresh flowers below this holy cross on my picture, hang on the wall the parish church.
    In my opinion people in this - adjacent to Poland - region of Czech were more religious than in other regions of Czech. And it seemed that they were mostly Roman catholic.

    ROMAN  CATHOLIC  CROSS
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    Are they religious?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2004

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    Excuse me, it's more Czech than Jablunkov local custom tip - I will transfer it to my new Czech page, soon!

    Yes, they are but not as much as in my homecountry Poland where 95% of population declare to be Roman catholic (75% practicing). I rarely noticed churches full of prayers on Sunday holy masses in Czech. Generally more to the east more religious they were.
    I found numerous small chapels, holy crosses and statues of saints located by local Czech highways - look at my picture taken in Jablunkov. They were often renovated and decorated with fresh flowers.


    Religion in Czech Republic:
    - atheist 39.8%,
    - Roman Catholic 39.2%,
    - Protestant 4.6%,
    - Orthodox 3%,
    - other 13.4%.
    What a difference with Poland where 95% are Roman Catholic (about 75% practising).

    STATUES  OF  SAINTS  IN  JABLUNKOV
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    Simple life of... 98yo lady :-)))

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 16, 2004

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    My brother-in-law was born and lived in Wisla, Poland just across the Polish-Czech border mountain range (on my picture), seperated Wisla from Jablunkov. He was living with... mother of his grandmother who passed away at age... 98, in late 80'.

    She was great, healthy and very, very old woman and she told me that she was born and lived in Polish family in Jablunkov and she used to cross the border illegaly in the mountains many times, she was caught once at age... almost 70 and... released hehe. Finally she escaped from Jablunkov, Czech to Wisla, Poland in late 60' - illegally, crossing the mountains in winter - because of poverty in Jablunkov and because she found and liked her family in Wisla. She had... no papers (no insurance) and large problems to receive her pension in Poland, at the beginning she had to go for her pension to... Jablunkov each month, surely through the mountain border. Why? It was very difficult to travel legally abroad that time. Her family had to go to Jablunkov (legally) to register her death which was necessary to organize her funeral.

    This 98yo lovely lady ran away when telephone rang - she didn't understand this strange technology and said that it was devil's device. But she used to walk her German sheppard till she passed away although once she broke forearm because of the dog. She refused to go to any doctor and treated herself succesfully although she had to stop... ride a bicycle since then.


    My thoughts/conclusions:
    1. Life in rural areas in the Czech/Polish mountains was and still is much simpler and many people live looong there,
    2. Crossing illegally the Polish-Czechoslovak border was very serious crime under communist regime but... haha, not for 70yo ladies with no papers,
    3. Older people used to live their own life, never mind "stupid" law, beaurocracy or international boundaries.

    WISLA  IS  ACROSS  THIS  MOUNTAIN  RANGE
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    Soviet style architecture

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 16, 2004

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    Excuse me, it's not only Jablunkov local custom but rather post-Soviet world architectural remainder - a kind of specific architecture easy to find from River Laba on the West (former western border of Soviet imperium) to far Siberia on the East - hmm... more than a half of globe.

    IN CITIES
    Architecture of cities - even smaller towns like Jablunkov - on this part of the globe - outside historical oldtowns - is often very ugly. There are districts of never ending, huge, rectangular and often neglected apartment buildings, put one by one, each with hundreds of very small flats inside. There are flats/apartments, no stores or other businesses on ground floor there. There are seperate, heavy, 1-2 story and ugly buldings housing stores placed among usually at least 4-5 or 10 story buildings. Hmm... these districts may look nice only on pictures taken from far distance esp. when placed on green areas. Although many of them were painted in recent years but still not in Jablunkov as you can see on my picture.

    Not so nice to live in small flats (often 4 or more member's family) in such crowded areas of hundreds anonymous neighbours with no place for privacy (yard/garden, I mean). But most of citizens live there. Although few of them managed to buy small, recreational house with small yard/garden somewhere outside such districts to spend weekends there.

    I don't like to take pictures of ugly architecture but when I am in Czech next time I will take a few better pictures to show you what I meant above.

    SOVIET  STYLE  BUILDINGS  AND  NEW  ADVERTISINGS
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    This was NOT chicken farm

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 16, 2004

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    Jablunkov is not the fastest developing area of Czech Republic. The largest factory on this area - steelworks in nearby Trinec released many workers in 90', the same happened in coal mines of Ostrava region. Unemployment in Jablunkov was higher than Czech average. So I saw very few new private houses there.

    But there were quite many new businesses (stores, hotels, restaurants) put up in Jablunkov like small supermarket called Penny Market seen on my picture. Hmm... looked like chicken farm at first sight :-)

    THIS  IS  NOT  CHICKEN  FARM :-)
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    Countryside in Jablunkov

    by matcrazy1 Written Feb 16, 2004

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    Jablunkov is a town but outside small downtown/centre it looks like countryside with many small houses. The houses usually have larger yards with apple trees there. That's why the town is called Jablunkov = Appletown. I could see walking chickens or lambs/sheep in local yards there.

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    No window shopping there?

    by matcrazy1 Written Feb 16, 2004

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    Stores in Jablunkov and in Czech generally looked a little bit less colorful and attractive (except tourist areas of, say Prague) than in Poland. The choice of goods in local groceries was good but not as good as on Polish side of border in my opinion. Especially the shop-windows were less attractive or even empty (look at my picture). Do not expect interesting window-shopping in Jablunkov :-).

    Why does it work this way? Less competition? I don't know. Average salary is smaller (in euro) in Czech than in Poland but unemployment rate is lower. In Poland all (99%, I think) small stores are fully private and usually family run now. In Czech? I am not sure.

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    No more... Lenin, flowers now!

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 16, 2004

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    I was a little surprised to see a lot flowers in flower boxes around Jablunkov town square as it was October (2003). I saw quite many nice looking flowers in windows of some old houses around as well.

    It's quite new custom in this area. There were no flowers but grey, almost black, destroyed by time and air polution houses in Jablunkov in 80' and there were a lot of Czechoslovak Communist Party communist propaganda baners that time, portraits of Lenin especially: Lenin with childs, Lenin among workers, Lenin with harvesters etc.

    FLOWERS  IN  OCTOBER
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    Bilingual town?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 9, 2004

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    I was suprised to see a lot of inscriptions on local stores and public offices in two languages: Czech and... Polish, at least since early 90'. They were exclusively in Czech when I stopped in Jablunkov first time in 80'. Now, each government, public office (like city hall - look at the table on my picture) uses both languages.

    Now, I know that this area belonged to Poland in the past and still 23% of almost 6,000 citizens of Jablunkov (Jablonkow in Polish) declare Polish nationality (add 3% Slovak). Nowadays, there are Polish schools and cultural institutions there.

    METSKY  URAD  =  URZAD  MIEJSKI  =  CITY  HALL
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