From clay houses to wooden churches constructed without a single nail, water mills, and even homes hewn like caves from volcanic hills, you will marvel at the ingenuity of Slovak building traditions and the respect and care with which these historic structures have been preserved or restored.

Places to see folk architecture:

For hundreds of years tribal-looking geometric white designs have been painted on the dark wood exteriors of homes in one of the loveliest villages in the country. Locally made embroidery and other craft items are sold at the museum, which occupies one of the houses.

More info:

Home of Slovakia’s best folk/ethnographic museum (Slovak National Museum’s Museum of Ethnography) includes an open-air exhibit of 50 folk structures from the end of the 19th century. Buildings representative of all of Slovakia’s regions were brought here, including houses, church, farm buildings, village school, blacksmith’s workshop, wind and water mill, timber mill, bridge.

More info:

Remarkable living village of traditional Carpathian mountain log homes, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

More info

One of the best open-air museums, the Museum of Liptovska Village showcases folk architecture saved from several villages flooded when a nearby dam was built. This is the most complete representation of a typical Liptov region village, including a nobleman’s manor house, peasants’ homes, a school, church and other structures.

More info:

A living museum, this is the only inhabited traditional agricultural village where you can also stay in any of 200 historic houses. Located near the magnificent Tatra Mountains.

More info:

The Orava Open-Air Folk Museum has about 20 traditional wooden buildings, including a 15th c. wooden Catholic church – one of the oldest in Slovakia. Simple on the outside, the church has elaborate 17th c. folk paintings inside.

More info:

People started digging caves in the volcanic hills here 400 years ago to hide from marauding Turks. These refuges were expanded over the centuries and transformed with all the comforts of home, including windows and, today – even electricity and plumbing. Still used as residences, two now have become a museum (Skalne obydlia).

More info:

Towns where you will find other open-air museums/folk architecture reserves.

For more information on each open air museum can be found at:

Slovakia has the highest density of centuries-old wooden churches anywhere in Europe. Weathered, dark wooden shingles seem to ripple and flow, like snakeskin, over these organic-looking structures, mostly located in northeastern Slovakia.

More information:

For a map of wooden churches