Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quirky and Unusual Sights # 3 - The Andy Warhol Museum, Medzilaborce, Slovakia

In a remote corner of eastern Slovakia stands one of the country's stranger places of interest - the Andy Warhol Museum in the town of Medzilaborce. Andy Warhol (whose real name was Andrej Warchola) was born in Pittsburgh, USA, but his parents originally came from the small Rusyn village of Miková, 17km north-west of Medzilaborce.
After fame and fortune arrived, Warhol never publicly spoke about his Slovak/Rusyn origins, even though he could speak Rusyn fluently. He always claimed that he "came from nowhere". The museum was founded in 1991 by members of Warhol's family, despite strong criticism from the conservative local community at the time. Many neighbouring residents wanted nothing to do with a decadent American artist and his images of blatant capitalist excess.
The townsfolk were later won over by the potential of the museum to attract tourist visitors, and today the museum sits in Andy Warhol square (formerly Lenin square), and a Warhol soup tin-shaped bus stop shelter faces the road in front of it. Mural paintings of Warhol's silkscreen designs can also be seen on the sides of several buildings in the town.
Medzilaborce is best reached by train from the town of Humenné, which has transport links to most parts of the country. Local buses run between Medzilaborce and Miková a few times per day.


  1. Thank you for this item. It may interest you that Rusyn-identiity expert Dr. Paul Magocsi has published a book called "The People from Nowhere." Thanks also for spelling Andy's name right, although in village birth records I saw the variant "Varchola." Your tone is perfect. The blog is great, and I wish I had known about it before my 3 "Rusyn roots" trips to Slovakia and Ukraine. Congratulations!

  2. Thank you Ron, I'm glad you like the blog. I'm very interested in Rusyn history and culture, and have made many trips through the Carpathian regions of Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine to experience it firsthand. I'm particularly interested in the architectural styles of tserkvas (wooden churches), and regularly post details on this blog about some of the most interesting ones I've visited. I'm fortunate enough to be based in Bratislava for my work, so it's quite easy for me to travel around Slovakia and the Carpathian region when I have some free time.
    Thanks again for your kind words, I'll be posting more Rusyn-related material soon from a trip I made to Bardejov and Svidnik region in June.