Do you know Oľšov? A small village situated at the boundary between the Spišsko-Šarišské Pohorie mountains and the upper basin of the Torysa River has seven hundred years of history behind it. The first written record of it dates back to the April 19, 1309 when Magister Herikus sold lands known as Olsowa to Michal of Spiš for 80 marks. Today, the village with just under ninety family houses has a population of almost four hundred and boasts complete infrastructure and newly rebuilt local roads. And it is also home to a great community project that convinced the joint U. S. Steel Košice and the Carpathian Foundation’s ‘Together for the Region’ project committee so much that it approved 1 074 euros of funding for it. The restoration of Švec’s Well could start.
Pavol Hovančík, Oľšov’s Mayor, reveals more: “We were concerned in the past that we had an unpleasant-looking well in the centre of our village. Removing its old frame and closing it would have been a great shame. The land around it belonged to the four daughters of the now deceased Štefan Švec, hence the name ‘Švec’s Well’. So I thought it would be a good idea for the village to buy it. The owners of the land, Margita Hovancová, Irena Krajňáková, Cecília Goliášová and Sabína Hurtuková, happily agreed and assisted as much as they could,” says the Mayor and adds that the land was bought from them for a symbolic euro, for which he is deeply grateful to them.
On removing the old frame, the crystal clear water in the stone well revealed two old buckets dropped inside. Volunteer firefighters from the village then removed sediment from the bottom of the well and cleaned the stone walls. This was followed by restoration of the upper part of the well’s foundations, which the skilled volunteers reinforced with welded wire mesh and lined with natural stone.
“Dušan Bučko, from U. S. Steel Košice’s Blast Furnace Division, was involved in the work,” explains the Mayor. “The roof over the well and the bench made from solid wood were supplied by a carpentry firm from the neighbouring village of Torysa, while some parts of the project were carried out by a subcontractor.”
The opening ceremony took place on August 13. “Even though the well will not be in use, it will certainly bring back memories for our older residents, whereas the younger ones will be taken back to one aspect of the traditional way of life that existed when there were no water supply systems,” points out Pavol Hovančík. The centre of the village has now gained a new dimension. It breathes history.