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Náměstí from Štramberk, Czech Republic

Like in many other small, out of the way places, the square is called just Square. Náměstí in Czech. And Štramberk is yet another example of a place where the town is its square. Aside from the row of houses that define its perimeter, only two or three streets are added to the map. A cylindrical tower, called Trúba, remnant of a castle about which few things are known, dominates the settlement, perched up on the wooded hill nearby. Everything reminds one of a fairy tale, from the forests, to the castle and the square, with a large number of wooden houses from the 18th and 19th centuries also adding to the local cultural heritage. The land where Štramberk lies is called Valašsko, from the name of the populace migrating here in waves, along the Carpathians, from Transylvania and, perhaps, from Bukovina. If the language of the Vlachs has been lost along the way, and they were slavicised, some customs survived for a time and traditional building techniques were transmitted, taken and adapted by the local craftsmen, either Czech or German. The wooden houses clearly remind one of wooden Romanian architecture from Transylvania. A number of local settlements had such centres, but the wooden houses have been replaced by stone ones, usually Baroque in style. At Štramberk there is the largest number of Vlach style wooden houses, as they are called here, leading to an interesting architectural reservation. The square is also linked to the preparation of local cakes called “Štramberk ears”, which, by law, can only be made here. It is said that they have been called thus because the people of medieval Štramberk thought that they were similar to the ears of captured Tatar soldiers, during the time of Tatar raids.

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