Monuments of emigration from the territory of Slovakia to North America in Slovakia

Cross Lacková

In the new world, my parents have not forgotten who they are and where they came from. They presented their relationship to their homeland in various forms – lively customs or gastronomy; but above all, a strong relationship to their faith. This is evidenced by the construction of hundreds of Slovak or Ruthenian churches and Orthodox churches in North America.

Chapel Nižné Ružbachy

However, they also wanted to leave their mark in the “old country”. They supported or built hundreds of roadside crosses, memorials, chapels; they contributed to the restoration of churches and bells. Especially in Zemplín, the returnees built the so-called American houses, which are a wonderful testimony to the influence of emigration on rural architecture. Thanks to the project “KEGA No. 001PU-4/2023 Monuments of emigration from the territory of Slovakia to North America in Slovakia” we have been able to work with the paleographer doc. Marcela Domenová, the well-known geographer Miloslav Michalek and my son Janko Javor, we decided to map these monuments of emigration in our territory, analyze them and transform them into an interactive map.

Bell Jakubany

Information about the individual monuments was obtained both during my travels around Slovakia and by our Museum on the basis of an appeal to the public through the website www.kasigarda.sk. A large number of people responded to our Museum’s appeal by sending information and tips on emigration monuments. Monuments of emigration as part of small religious buildings have been of general interest to ethnologists or regional historians. Roadside “American” crosses can be found in the works of Klaudia Buganova and Marián Šangala. The older literature includes the works of Rudolf Bednárik. The Spiš region was mapped in the work of Mária Felberová.

Cross Falkušovce
Cross Hromoš

A significant part of the monuments of emigration are the so-called American houses, which were mapped by Maroš Volovár in his study. Another type of collection were bells, which were very often donated by the Amerindians. Juraj Gembický and Radek Lunga write about this type of relic. The consequences of emigration for the Hungarian society were dealt with by Elena Jakešová.

Cross Kobyly

As part of the mapping of the monuments of emigration in Slovakia, we also focused on detailed mapping and analysis of various spatial aspects of the monuments. For this we used a combination of open source tools, primarily QGIS for processing the form data and converting it into GeoJSON geodata format. We then used the Felt platform, which allowed us to interactively visualize and filter the data and spatially analyze and correlate individual monuments.

Cross Milpoš

Spatial analysis played a key role in our project, as understanding spatial relationships and trends helped us to better understand the distribution and characteristics of the monuments. Particular emphasis was placed on the relationships between feature categories such as ‘monument type’, ‘monument condition’, ‘monument year’ and ‘monument language’. These categories were analyzed to understand how historical, cultural as well as geographical factors determined the creation and preservation of these monuments.

Cross Mníšek nad Popradom
Cross Plavecký Štvrtok

Understanding these patterns helped us to identify areas with high concentrations of certain phenomena, such as how the condition of monuments varies depending on their age or geographic location, or that the concentration of memorial rooms is predominantly located in eastern Slovakia, which may indicate a certain loyalty in the form of investment in the place of origin of the emigrant. This knowledge is invaluable for planning the preservation and presentation of these sites for future generations, as well as for understanding the historical and cultural significance of emigration in Slovakia.

The result of our work is an interactive map of the monuments of emigration from the territory of Slovakia to North America in Slovakia.