I regularly take visitors to the Wallachian Open Air Museum in Roznov Pod Radhostem and this year is not exception - I will be visiting the Museum with the Real Moravia Tour in May. It is quite unlike anything else you will see in the Czech Republic. That is because the Wallachians have a very distinctive culture, so much so it is argued by many historians that they originally migrated here from Romania. Wherever they came from, they settled in the beautiful Moravian-Silesian Beskydy Mountains, where they made a harsh living from farming sheep.
The Museum was the creation of the two Jaronek brothers, particularly the elder, Bohumír Jaronek who said We don´t want to build a dead store of buildings and objects, we want to
build a living museum with the help of practical ethnology where the
traditions, which have been inherited in Wallachia, the typical breeds
and dwellings of the people are kept alive by means of work, customs,
dances, songs and ceremonies.
This concept was decades in advance of its time: the museum was opened in 1925. Over the years since many buildings and other objects have been added to the museum, but as Bohumir would have wished it remains very much a living museum. As you wander around the museum you will come across people in traditional costumes demonstrating traditional crafts and other activities. The Old Townlet, which forms the centre of the museum, is made up of original Wallachian wooden buildings. And some like the pubs and the post office are still in use. Last time I visited I came upon a a group of women and men in traditional costume singing and dancing.
The largest section of the Museum is given to Wallachian country life. The Wallachian Village, as this section is called, is spread over a hillside with groups of reconstructed houses forming small hamlets, as well as individual farms and shepherds. Look out for the delightful beehives which I featured in their own post a while back. My husband was fascinated by the building techniques on display. The dominant building material is wood, which is used for everything including the gutters and their brackets.
The newest section of the museum is the Water Mill Valley. Here in a series of buildings water, fed into a series of channels (made of wood of course) from a stream and ponds, drives all sorts of machinery. Of course this being Bohumir Jaronec's museum you can see the machinery being worked by a number of craftsmen. There's a smithy/hammer mill, a mill for hammering wool to make felt, a sawmill, oil crusher and I daresay others I have forgotten.
The Museum is enormous and to do it justice you should allow a day for your visit. If you cannot afford a day, book a tour of the Mill Valley and combine that with a visit to the Townlet.