The Kriváň Trail

The Kriváň Trail

49° 9' 41.3856" N 20° 0' 9.2844" E

Kriváň (2494 m) is a very impressive and characteristic looking mountain in the western part of the High Tatras, at the end of the long ridge, branching away from the range’s main ridge at Čubrina.

Several ridges branch away from Kriváň in a fanlike formation. Out of them, only the southern and the south-western one are suitable for touring. The southern ridge crosses the Daxnerovo sedlo pass and the Malý Kriváň summit. The ridge then widens considerably, ending at Nad Pavlovou. The south-western ridge goes down through two culminations: Vyšná Priehyba and  Nižná Priehyba, all the way to the forest-covered Grúnik summit, a memorial site where the Vysoké Tatry WWII guerrilla unit were once stationed and ambushed by the Nazis

On the southern and south-western slopes of Kriváň, one can still see vestiges of the mining facilities from the period between the 15th and 18th centuries (drifts and remains of the miners’ shacks). The summit was probably first reached by some anonymous miners. The 1772 ascent of A. Czirbesz, a Lutheran pastor and naturalist from Spišská Nová Ves, together with his friends, was the first one recorded. Kriváň would also be reached by various researchers of the Tatras, such as the Scottish traveller, Robert Townson (1793), French naturalist Belsazar Hacquet (1794), Polish geologist Stanisław Staszic (1805) or the Swedish botanist Wahlenberg (1813). The first winter ascent was attempted in 1884  by Theodor Wundt and Hungarian political leader J. Horvay.

To commemorate the ascent of King Frederick Augustus II of Saxony (1840), Hungarian monarchists have placed an obelisk at the summit, soon to be destroyed by Slovak patriots, taking part in the so-called national ascents. The first such ascent took place on August 16th, 1841 and was attempted by Ludovit Štúr[1]  and Milan Hodža. The biggest such event was organised by Štefan M. Daxner in 1861, the year his memorandum of the Slovak nation was accepted. Since 1955, to commemorate the Slovak national uprising of 1944 and its heroes from the Kriváň area, regular excursions to the summit have been organised.

Kriváň became a symbol of the Slavs and of Slovak freedom, as well as an important poetic theme for the generation of Ludovit Štúr’s followers. Thus, it was enriched with new symbolic connotations, it has retained its position in the history of literature and music ever since..

[1] Ludovit Štúr (1815-1856) – Slovak writer, publicist, national activist and author of the Slovak language standard. He focused around him a group of followers from the young Slovak intelligentsia.


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