Osturna is located in the former Spis County, Slovakia. The village stretches for about 5.5 miles along the northernmost road on the Polish border. The High Tatra mountains are visible from Osturna to the south and southwest, and the village is situated at an altitude of 2,500 feet above sea level.
The current mayor is Josef Smolenak. According to Josef, the population is down to about 500 from a high of perhaps 2,000 during the 1930s. He says that the village was founded in the 1500s by Lemko Rusyns, a subset of our ethnic group which is often referred to as Carpatho-Rusyn or Ruthenian. The Lemko homeland is across the border in southern Poland. By now, most of the villagers speak Slovak, though they probably also speak some Rusyn which is closer to Ukrainian.
The village is quaint and appears to have not changed very much over the last century or so. A number of the houses are older, still of traditional wooden construction and painted with folk motifs.
The local church was built in 1746 and enlarged in 1937. Those in the family who are familiar with the Carpatho-Russian church in Barton, Ohio would notice a strong resemblance between this church and the one in Osturna. Apparently, the sizable community of Osturna emigrants to Barton wished to replicate their old hometown church in their new country.
View a photo of Osturna. Submitted by Megan
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Last modified on Mon Mar 23 1998