We'd like to extend a special word of thanks to Eric Kuns for providing the photos and village history listed below.
Compiled by, Maria Havrillova, Registrar of Orlov. Translation by, Eric N. Kuns & Denisa Pittnerova
The village Orlov is situated in the picturesque Poprad River valley. The settlements of Andrejovka and Kurcin also belong to this community. Nowadays, they are a part of the Eastern Slovakia region and the Stara Lubovna District. The terrain of the village is hilly, divided by many small creeks under the Magura Mountains. Concerning the area, it has 570 ha of soil out of which 350 ha is arable soil which is suitable not only for potatoes but also for oats and barley.
Orlov was established between 1330 - 1349 on the foundation of the purchase law. Nobody knows exactly where the name of this village came from, probably because there were many rapacious birds in this region in the past, especially eagles (Orlov). Until the 15th century, the community belonged to the Plavec Domain (near Poprad) to Palocsay...in the 17th century to Semsey. In 1781, the village counted 61 houses and 471 inhabitants. In those days, inhabitants of Orlov - Orlovcania were mostly cottars. They kept themselves busy with agriculture, and they also worked in forests. They suffered poverty but they tried to make their lives better by making many things by themselves such as clothes, tools, and household equipment. They sowed flax and prepared home-made flax cloth which they used for sewing not only underwear but also their shirts which were often very nicely embroidered. The flax cloth was also used for many other household purposes.
Sheep breeding was very prevalent at that time. The sheep wool was used for making pants called "holosne" and overcoats called "hune". Sheep furs were used for making woman's short fur coats, fur coats without sleeves for men called "kozusanky", gloves, and caps. Inhabitants also bred other animals that were of any profit.
An important event for the Orlov community was that in 1873 the construction of a railway to Presov and Poland was finished. Many men got jobs at the railway station and even today many people are employed there.
Surrounding forests are rich for dealing in pine wood and also the above-mentioned railway construction gave rise to the building of a big factory for wood processing in Orlov. Many inhabitants of Orlov and other villages got jobs in the factory and forests doing timber mining.
Inhabitants of Orlov lived in wooden houses called "drevenice" which formed 90% of the whole construction 'till World War II. There were small agriculture buildings and small gardens next to houses. Only a few fruit trees were grown there because of the quite rugged climate, mostly apple trees and plum trees. Because of the hilly region and bad soil fertility, people could not make their living from agriculture alone. That's why people combined employment in the factory, forest, and railway station with the work in agriculture. At that time, every house in the village had horses. Horse breeding was very popular because horses were very useful animals, especially when working in the forest. Inhabitants of Orlov - Orlovcania were long known as good draft horse breeders.
There was one pub, a few stores with mixed goods, one eight year Greek-Catholic school (because inhabitants of Orlov were Greek-Catholics) with two classrooms only in this community. The language taught at schools was Rusinian, that's why some rich people sent their children to high schools in Presov to Greek-Catholic Rusinian bourgeois schools. Some of them attended the later established Greek-Catholic Russian grammar school in Presov.
Shortly before World War II, in 1943 - 44, partisan groups were already in the community and its surrounding. People were forced by the Germans to work on trenches before the battle front, but when Germans gave the order for all men to evacuate towards Poprad prior to the Soviet army's arrival, people did not listen to Germans anymore and they escaped to the mountains. The battle front lasted about 3 days in the community.
On January 23, 1945; the Soviet army came to the community. Before its arrival, the Germans destroyed bridges at the railway, the bridge over the Poprad River, and the bridge by the parsonage on the way to Plavec. They wanted to set fire on the community but luckily people succeeded in extinguishing the fire and only 3 houses burned. People came back to the community from the mountains with the Soviet army's arrival. They found about ten houses destroyed, and about half of the houses had broken windows which was caused by the explosion of bridges. Also the parsonage building was destroyed. All the windows were broken and rocks from the blown-up bridge were in all the rooms because the bridge was only a few meters from the parsonage building. Germans soon retreated toward the Starina community because Plavec was already occupied by the Soviet army. There is a memorial built for the slain Soviet heroes which is today situated in a nice park by a new bridge over the Poprad River.
After the liberation of Orlov, a new and nicer life began in this community. If anybody would leave Orlov in 1945 and came back today, he would not even recognize this village anymore. Nowadays, Orlov is the most industrialized community in the Stara Lubovna District. There are 4 industrial factories, one agricultural establishment (collective farm), and the wood store house by the railway station.
One of the fastest growing areas was incontestably education. A nine year elementary school was established and Orlov became the center of education for the whole surrounding area. Immediately in 1946, two new buildings called "baraky" were built because the original folk school had only two classrooms. Since more rooms were needed, classes were conducted at some private houses, too. Children from Circ, Ruska Vola, Obrucne, Sarisske Jastrabie, Kyjov, Vislanka, and Udol attended school in Orlov, especially grades 6-9. After construction of the nine year elementary schools in Sarisske Jastrabie and Plavnica, children from Kyjov and Vislanka were transferred to Sarisske Jastrabie, and children from Udol were transferred to Plavnica. On September 15, 1962; a building of a new, big, modern, two-floor elementary school with 14 classrooms and cloakrooms began. A big gym was also built next to the school. In 1951, the building of a nursery school began. Nowadays, children from Circ, Ruska Vola, Obrucne, and Andrejovka go to school in Orlov, so annually about 300 pupils attend this school. Fifty years ago - that means before the liberation - there were hardly any inhabitants in Orlov with a college degree, and only few had a high school education - mostly children from rich families only. The difference is large nowadays. We have a few tithes of people with college education, and plenty of high school educated people who have an important position in many important places (functions) in our country.
An important step towards raising the standard of living of people living in Orlov was the electrification that was carried out in 1956. A year later, of cultural center building was endorsed but its actual construction began on April 9, 1959. Part of this center today is also the cinema, EPOCHA. Theater plays, all kinds of celebrations, cultural events, and even wedding receptions are carried out at this cultural center. Also MNV (city committee ?), canvassing center, and the register with its nicely equipped room for many events such as weddings and anniversaries, are situated in this building.
Before I start writing about our industrial factories, I think it's worth mentioning that on June 29, 1958 a big flood hit Orlov. Since then, nobody remembers bigger disaster than the flood. It rained for three days and three nights, and the Poprad River overflowed. I remember that people were standing on the bridge on the first and second day, looking at the river and all the stuff that the river took with it. Nobody was able to walk on the bridge on the third day because the bridge was flooded too. The newly established factory KOVOROB was completely under water. Also the wood processing factory and material were flooded. Agricultural buildings near the river were full of water, and people had to rescue their livestock by moving to different places. The water from the Magura Mountains destroyed the bridge near the parsonage which is on the way to Plavec. It took several years to repair the destroyed bridges, buildings and roads. The regulation of the creek was completed, and a new bridge to Plavec was built. Later on, a big bridge over the Poprad River was built.
Even though nature brought an unpleasant surprised, our newly established factories were not badly hurt. Let's have a look at their past and their future development:
K O V O R O B - exact name, Vychodoslovenske autodruzstvo, was established in 1957 in a small, old building behind the bridge over the Poprad River. There were 15 employees at the beginning. Its first products were posts and wire mesh for fences. Later on, they produced many products made of wire, metal, tin; for example metal gates, enclosures, fences, and constructions. They built new buildings from their own products. Nowadays, the factory employs about 225 workers who work on two shifts. They make cabins (cages) for UR 2B tractors and supply them to ZTS Martin. Annually they produce about 4000 of them. Tractors that are exported to foreign countries have cabins made in our factory in Orlov. They also make other cabins (cages)- 3000 a year and heating for tractors in the amount of 15,000 a year for are exported to Poland. The production volume of this company is 80 million Sk. Today, the factory owns a nice administrative building with buffet and canteen. The factory has many nice shops such as a welding hall, fit-up shop, and varnishing shop. There are dressing rooms, rest rooms, and showers next to the factory.
P R E F A was established in 1958 on the grounds of an old wood processing factory. There were 20 - 30 employees at the beginning. Their work was very hard because they had no machines. However, in 1966, they got new equipment and an administrative building. They produce prefabricated elements and change them according to construction companies' needs. The number of employees is higher; the production volume of this company is 55 million Sk. They produce mostly construction prefabricates for industrial buildings. Their products are also exported to the Ukraine and Russia, especially Uzhorod. The number of employees is about 170. They have a nice canteen, a new lodging house (hostel) with a sauna. The surroundings of the building are kept nice and clean. There is a playground, a nice park with benches and a fountain near the factory.
It was known years ago that the gravel and the sand in the Poprad River was of a very good quality. This fact gave a rise to building a new factory in 1963. This factory is well known as S T R K O P I E S K Y but its official name is Vychodoslovenske kamenolomy a strkopiesky. The main residence of this factory is in Spisska Nova Ves though. There were 30 - 40 employees at the beginning. They began to dredge and dig the sand and gravel from the Poprad River. The number of employees today is 54, they have two mining excavators, ...............The annual production volume is 8 million Sk. Nowadays, this factory supplies the sand and the gravel for other factories such as PREFA, later built factory CEMENTA, and other construction companies and factories in the whole surrounding. It's worth mentioning that by digging the sand and gravel from the river, so called "Orlovske more" (Orlov Sea) was originated because some hollows are up to 4 meters big.The river is today a great place for fishing, and that's why several fishing cabins can be found in Orlov and its surrounding. Also fishermen from Ostrava and other towns in Moravia can be found by the river. They enjoy fishing there because they often catch a few kilogram carp or a nice tadpole - fish and other kinds of fish.
C E M E N T A - established in 1967. The factory uses the local source of gravel and sand for its products. There were 10 employees at the beginning, today there are 20. They make sidewalks,...........The annual production volume is 4,5 million Sk. People enjoy working in a newly built building.
In 1967, a railway from Orlov to Podolinec was opened which is of a big importance for this community because of the travelling. It connects the inhabitants of Orlov with the railway station in Poprad.
October 22, 1971 is an important date in Orlov's chronicle. The collective farm was established. Its first chairman was Michal Scerbak from Andrejovka. They started working on 570 ha of agricultural soil. The beginning was very difficult but people were very hard working and overcame all difficulties. After assigning the agricultural soil from the Plavec land area to Orlov, the collective farms has 1.658 ha of soil. There are about 300 employees. They work with good results, especially by planting potatoes, barley and by cattle breeding. When the agricultural results are not good, men leave to different collective farms, and women have the opportunity to work on a sport outfitting business which is considered to be the joined production to the collective farm. The annual production volume is 9 million Sk. They sew very nice tents that are exported to many foreign countries. The life of a farmer had improved a lot and the standard of living is still improving.
Many people found their working opportunities in forests. Women mostly work in the summer time by planting new little trees and taking care of all plants. There is a storehouse by the railway station where the wood from surrounding forests is kept or put on wagons and transformed to certain places, often even abroad.
We can see now how much has changed in our village in those 50 years since the liberation. Not only in education, culture, and industry but also in house building. There are hardly any wooden houses (drevenice)in the village today. New houses were built, some of them even storied. Even new streets and apartment buildings were built. Nowadays, Orlov has more than 300 houses. Almost each family owns a television set, radio, refrigerator and washing machine. Every fifth family owns a car, and people live in fashionable houses and apartments. The local water main was finished this year (thanks to village committee chairman Michal Troscak) so almost every family is connected to this water main. This also improved the standard of living by having bathrooms with cold and warm water. Even new sidewalks are being built to make the village look nicer.
As I mentioned before, most people in Orlov are Greek - Catholics. I'd like to say something about the history of this parsonage.
*Cerkov - a church of God is built on a small hill on the right side of the road on the way to Plavec. There are no written records about the first church but we know that Orlov parsonage existed since 1366. It's known among people that the first church was only a small chapel without a tower covered by shingle with a tiny tower in the front. In 1864, an annex of a brick tower and a sanctuary began. The annex was finished in 1866 and a sign on this church house is its evidence. Cerkov was sainted after the renovation on June 22, 1866 and was consecrated to Mother Paraskeva as a patron of a church. The patron of Cerkov in those days was baron Gejza Salamon. New icons and altar were given to this new Cerkov after the renovation. It's too bad that we don't know the name of the artist that drew the pictures on these icons because the painted figures such as Christos I, Mary and others look like real. An expert Frantisek Subert said when he was repairing these paintings in 1971 that it must had been a great expert and artist. He thinks this artist was probably a monk from Lvov area and his name was kept in secret because of his modesty. Most paintings and icons were brought to Orlov from Lvov area.
We can read on one of the icons that Cerkov was repaired again in 1891 with the help of church people. The local pastor at that time was Jozef Ilkovic and Cerkov was sainted again by Juraj Andrejkovic.
In 1969 - 1972 was Cerkov renovated from the outside. A new plaster was put on and the roof was painted. Inside, paintings on icons and altar were repaired, and the whole interior was newly painted too. Seven pictures (in a "fresco-seco" style) were painted in a fresh plaster by an expert Mikulas Jordan (already deceased) and his son - academic painter and decorator Stefan Fotto. Even though Cerkov is small, the love and faith in God is big. We keep this church nice and clean; the roof was painted again this year and new benches were installed too.The surrounding of this church is kept nice too. It consists of a travertine wall with a cave and the statue of Mary, thujas, red roses and other flowers.
Our parsonage has also a small chapel that was sacred to Slavonic apostles Cyril and Methodius. Since 1925 when the chapel was sacred, the condonative church services are held there. Next to this chapel, about 200 m further there is a smaller chapel with a spring of water. Above this small spring of water there is an altar with a picture of our Heavenly Mother. This water is sacred once a year when church service is held.
The parsonage building itself is very old built on a stone foundations without an isolation. Old people remember that about 100 years ago the parsonage building was burnt down. So today's building was built right behind the old one. Lots of work is needed for its maintenance.
It would be nice to mention some personalities that were in charge of this parsonage. Records of Greek-Catholic religion from 1?4? say: 1823 - 1832 Jan Hunkay; 1832 - 1847 Michal Chamila; 1847 - 1895 Jozef Ilkovic; 1895 - 1896 Konstantin Ilkovic; 1896 - 1911 Michal Andrjkovic; 1911 - 1917 Alexej Toronskij; 1917 - 1924 Ludovit Toronskij; 1924 - 1926 Andrej Lazor; 1926 - 1927 Jakub Milly from Kyjov; 1927 - 1950 Stefan Beskyd and since his death in 1950 till today Jozef Soltys - a district dean. In 1948 there were 955 religious people in the parsonage.
From what I mentioned in this report, we can see a big development in out village during those 50 years since liberation. People can build,work, create and produce new things, and enjoy what they have done only in peace. But peace is very threatened in today's world. A thought about another possible atomic bomb worries all good people that's why we all should continue to work and pray to Lord to give us peace. We daily pray to our Lord in our liturgy:
"Let's pray to our Lord for peace all around the world, for happiness and bloom of all religions and for their unification."
*Cerkov - Church
Orlov & Circ Folk Singers performing at a competition in Raslavice
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