Polish-Slovak multimedia museums promote sustainable cross-border peatland tourism

Multimedia museums housed in two newly renovated cultural heritage sites are providing visitors with a creative, interactive way to discover the peatland along the Polish-Slovak border, an area rich in natural beauty that is also steeped in tradition. The project also aims to make locals and tourists aware of the need to protect the peatland for future generations.

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View of Orava Castle/Oravský hrad Castle housing one of the multimedia museums © Raised Bogs View of Orava Castle/Oravský hrad Castle housing one of the multimedia museums © Raised Bogs

" The peatland in the Polish-Slovak border region has a rich natural and cultural heritage. Visitors of all ages can learn more about this through interactive displays at two new museums. With a focus on sustainability, this project also make locals and tourists alike aware of the need to protect the peatland for future generations. "

Michał Jarończyk , Secretary of the Municipality of Czarny Dunajec

The peatland shared between the border regions of Małopolskie in Poland’s south and in central Slovakia is a unique natural phenomenon. The raised bogs are important for biodiversity and home to rare vegetation and protected wildlife. The peatland is also a big part of the local culture and daily life in this area, yet it remains largely underappreciated.

The “Raised Bogs – a unique European area” project is making this natural and cultural heritage of the cross-border region better accessible to tourists and residents alike through the creation of two museums, one in Poland and the other in Slovakia. Both use modern multimedia tools to make the peatland come alive for visitors young and old – and help preserve it for generations to come.

Museums with a modern touch

The museums are being housed in specifically renovated and adapted heritage sites. One is a century-old, traditional wooden building in the Polish town of Chochołów. In Slovakia, the 17th century parsonage in the courtyard of Oravský hrad Castle  was picked for this purpose.

Visitors can learn about the peatland via multi-lingual, interactive displays and touchscreens that play to their senses. These include multimedia maps, simulators, real-size models and even an experiment involving microscopes. Visitors to the museum in Chochołów are guided through the exhibit by a representation of the peatland’s mascot – a grouse. At Oravský hrad Castle, meanwhile, they can get a close-up look at peat as it grows beneath their feet.

Workshops specifically for children, as well as an animated cartoon, aim to ensure that the youngest of guests also have a worthwhile, educational experience. For a trip back in time, people of all ages are encouraged to round out their museum tours with a visit to a railway carriage once used to transport peat in times past and which was restored as part of the project.

Protecting the peatland

The project involves an extension of a cycling route passing by historical, cultural and natural sites around the Tatras mountains, enhancing the border region’s recreational infrastructure and making it more attractive to tourists. This, in turn, is creating jobs and boosting the affluence of the local cross-border community. With visitor numbers up, the project is already making an impact on multiple fronts.

The project also focuses on sustainability and addresses the challenge of reconciling larger-scale tourism to the area with properly conserving the peatland and related heritage sites from potential damage. It serves an important role in raising awareness among residents and tourists alike – especially school-age children – of the significance of the peatland and the need to protect it for future generations.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Raised Bogs – A Unique European Area” is EUR 1 245 529, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 058 699 through the “Interreg V-A – Poland-Slovakia” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.


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