The Trail Of The Mountain Gods Contents
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- An 11 km hill walk through picturesque countryside.
- 622 m height gain.
- Great views across the Beskydy Mountains.
- Historical local architecture and folklore.
- Access by car or bus.
- Restaurants and hotels available.
This trail has a nice mix of relatively quiet walking, unique architecture and folklore attached to it. The beginning is steep, which is typical of the Beskydy Mountains but once you are on the ridge, the path is wide and easy with some fantastic landscape panoramas over the Beskydy Mountains and the Moravian Gate.
If you start from the car park/bus stop in the village of Trojanovice, you almost immediately have a choice between hiking up and taking the chair lift… I leave it up to you! I assume you’re reading this because you like hiking but there are some excellent restaurants and pubs at the top of Pustevny, so the chair lift is always an option for getting back down.
The trail is at its best from late spring until the winter snows. Even when the snow has mostly melted from the mountains, be careful on the trails. A lot of people hike them during the winter and this compacts the snow into ice, which lasts into late spring at times. Due to the thick forest, it is often difficult to walk beside the trail where the snow has melted.
When the weather is nice, the forests protect you from the sun during the climb up and down. Pustevny is relatively rare in the Beskydys because the top and the ridge is not forested, so you get nice views.
The ridge consistes of 2 hills – Pustevny and Radhost. The Pustevny end has the chair lift from one side and a road and car park from the other, so it gets quite crowded in nice weather. The Radhost end is only accessible on foot, so is much quieter. Whichever end you visit, there is some excellent food available although obviously if it’s crowded at Pustevny, the queues will be longer. You can typically always get soup and goulash, as well as coffee and of course beer (this is the Czech Republic, remember!)
There are 2 local specialities which I absolutely recommend if you feel hungry. One is Frgal, which is a kind of soft disc-shaped cake covered in fruit compot and dusted with fine sugar – ideal for taking with you. The other is bryndzové halušky, which is one of Slovakia’s most famous dishes. It consists of something like gnocchi, sprinkled with smoked bacon and a delicious soft sheep’s cheese called bryndza. It is excellent winter food but if you eat it in the summer, you should plan on having some extra time to digest it before you continue your walk. Of course, you can buy these foods in the valley close to the mountain as well but somehow they taste nicer in the mountains where they originated.
At the Pustevny end of the ridge, you can see some wonderful folk architecture in the form of wooden buildings. these were designed and built around the end of the 19th Century and are practically unique. They blend the local Wallachian style of wooden construction with colours and motifs which are more typical in city buildings of the period. Sadly, one of them burned down a few years ago and the reconstruction isn’t finished yet.
At the other end of the ridge is the beautiful wooden church of Saints Cyril and Methodius. They brought Christianity to the Slavic peoples in the 9th Century and developed a writing system for their languages, which is why the Russian alphabet is know as ‘Cyrillic’ in English. This is a working church but if you find it open, there is no service happening and you are respectful of the code of behaviour in a Catholic church, you will probably be allowed in.
Between Pustevny and Radhost is the statue of Radegast. He is something of a local character even though he has few worshipers. He is the pagan god of hospitality, the harvest and barley as well as being the namesake of a local brewery and their emblem. Legend has it that when Cyril and Methodius arrived and destroyed his idol, they faced no divine retribution and so won over the local pagans to Christianity. These days it is all much more civilised and each of them maintains part of the territory in a peaceful and gentlemanly manner.
If you are interested in visiting Pustevny and would like more information, you can download a guidebook here. It includes a map, detailed notes on the walk and points of interested as well as a GPX file which you can use in your GPS device.