Porac, Slovakia

A History by Stephen Hanuscin

Scenes of Porac, Slovakia Scenes of Porac, Slovakia

Clockwise: The view of the Red Stone above the Porac valley,
view of the church of St.Demetrius, autumn scenery in Porac,
folk group of Poracan, Church of St.Demetrius, Wood-cutting
in Porac forests, and the Porac cave called Dragon Hole.

The mining village of Porac has the altitude of 700 meters and is located in the eastern part of the Slovenske rudohorie - Slovak ore mountain range. The territory is bounded on the north by the Hornad River valley and on the south by the Hnilec River valley. Spis Castle, which is the largest castle in middle Europe, is visible to the north and the High Tatras, the highest mountains in Slovakia, are visible to the northwest.

Chapel in Porac, Slovakia Bell Tower, Porac Valley, Slovakia

The Chapel in Porac / Bell Tower in Porac Dolina

The Porac people are Greek Catholics. They have attended the church of St. Demetrius.

Saint Demetrius Greek Catholic Church Porac, Slovakia

The church of St . Demetrius

The first written records about this region were made in the 13th century. According to these records, this country was destroyed by a raid of the Tartar - Mongol tribes in 1241. After this devastation, Marko Mariassy who was the owner of Markusovce Castle, sent his sons Botis and Nicolaus to Galicia in 1277 to acquire new settlers. They returned with Ruthenian shepherds from the villages of Javorki, Slachtova, White Water and Black Water. These were the most western villages in Lemko Galicia near Nowy Targ on the Poland-Slovak border. It is supposed that the villages of Porac, Zavadka and Teplicka were established by these Ruthenian shepherds.

The first written record about the village was in 1382 when the name of the village was Red Hill. In some parish records written in Hungarian the name of the village was written as Vereshegy which is the translation of Red Hill. The name of Porac was first mentioned at the end of the 15th century. The village has developed since the 15th century by people who worked as peasants and miners.

According to census on Dec.31. 1869 most of inhabitants were peasants, some miners. There were 134 houses in Porac at that period. Below is a link to an actual copy of census sheet of house No.18, its owner was Georgius Hanuscin, born in 1823. There were 4 generations and 11 individuals who lived in house. The youngest was Stefan born in 1869 and the oldest was his great grandmother Maria born in 1790. Demetri Polkabla was working for annual pay. Stefan born 1846 and his wife Maria Vojtila born in 1850 both knew read and write. Hanuscins were peasants, they were breeding 2 horses, 2 oxes, 2 cows , 10 sheeps and pig.

Front side of census sheet - printed bilingually in Hungarian and Slovak.

List of inhabitants of house No.18 - 1869 Hungarian Census - Record written by Porac teacher, Andreas Danko.

The descendants of Georgius Hanuscin of house No. 18, Porac

The following passage illustrates the Porac dialect and was written in 1834:


Ja nizej podpisani uznavam timto pisanim ze sem z kassi cirkvi Svatej dvihnul na Capital 50 to jest pedesat zlati na legalni 6 procento interes od ktereho Capitalu obligujem se kazdorocni 6 od interes platit pre veksu pevnost pri pritomnosti richtarovej toto so sebe pismo davam a na assekuraciu Capitalu moju vlasnost zakladam v Poracu dna 22-ho novembra 1834.

x Macej Klucsarik Richtar
x Joseph Fiffik Burgar
x Dzura Schirilla Burgar
x Dzura Midlik Burgar
x Macso Czapak Gazda Poracki
x Janko Czebulya Porukomnik

Obligatia 1834 Porac, Slovakia


I below signed ( Mathias Czapak ) recognize with this signature that I have borrowed the value of 50 zlati ( currency ), fifty zlati at legal 6 percent interest from the church money-chest. I oblige annually to pay 6 percent interest from this value in the presence of the mayor for a bigger guarantee of this letter. I give my possessions for securement, in Porac on the 22nd of November 1834.

x Mathias Klucsarik mayor
x Joseph Fiffik deputy
x George Schirilla deputy
x George Midlik deputy
x Mathias Czapak Porac peasant
x John Czebulya guarantee

Old School Porac, Slovakia

School Used at the Turn of the Century in Porac

The first Ruthenian school in Eastern Slovakia was founded in Porac in 1594. It was founded by the church during the reformation that is evidence of the development of the village in that period.

Pictured above is the School in use in 1929. Below is a picture, of the students (born in 1920-1922) at the Porac Grade School with headmaster Kanuscak. The photo was taken in Porac circa 1929. This school had two classrooms. The first classroom held 1-3 classes and the second classroom held 4-8 classes.

The text on the sheet in front of the students reads:

Gr.-Cath. People School
In Porac
I. classroom 1-3 classes

grades 1-3, 1929, Porac, Slovakia

1929 Class - Porac Grade School

There were 82 students in I. classroom . Some names of them are:

1. Demeter Dursa
2. Mikulas Kolesar
3. Jozef Gulin
4. Jozef Durica
5. Barbus
6. Jan Hanuscin
7. Zekan
8. Michal Liska
9. Jozef Mydlik
10. Demeter Barbus
11. Stefan Kaffan
12. Vrabel
13. Stefan Kolesar
14. Stefan Volcko
15. Mikulas Dursa
16. Jan Kanuscak - headmaster
17. Jan Korchnak
18. Jan Vrabel
19. Jan Volcko
20. Michal Liska
21. Jan Bacinsky
22. Krajnakova
23. Maria Zulkovska
24. Anna Dubosova
25. Barbusova
26. Maria Hanuscinova
27. Helena Zulkovska
28. Maria Hanuscinova
29. Helena Bakosova
30. Vrablova
31. Bissova
32. Maria Duricova
33. Bacinska
34. Bakosova
35. Pocatkova
36. Sirillova
37. Polkablova
38. Bakosova
39. Vansacova
40. Julia Vrablova
41. Sirillova
42. Volckova
43. Helena Macalova
44. Maria Volckova
45. Maria Hardonova
46. Anna Duricova
47. Maria Volckova
*. Katarina Volckova (dark blouse)

New School in Porac, Slovakia

New school - in the middle of new part of Porac

The citizens of the king town of Levoca, who fought against the Mariassy during the antiHabsburgs revolts in the 17th century, occupied Porac in 1627. Eventually, a Paul Mariassy became owner of the village. The village suffered much from fighting in that period. Evidence of this is found in a letter written in Latin by Imrich Thokoly. Imrich Thokoly (1657-1705) was a Hungarian noble and leader of a revolt against the Habsburg monarchy.

 Letter from Imrich Thokoly - 1683

Translation of the letter:

This letter is addressed to Spis County in Levoca. It is in reference to Joannes Nyemerowski, the priest of the Greek Eastern Liturgy (Ritus Greci) in the Porac parish (Parochia Porachiensi Pastoris). Zigismund P., Zigismund Kira and Andreas Kira had executed an injustice against him and caused damage in 1682. The writer respectfully has again asked to save this event and undo the injury.

Kezmarok Castle 27 February 1683

(signed) Imrich Thokoly

Porac, after the neighboring settlements of Bela, Slop, and Lendava ceased to exist, extended its territory including the territory of Koterbachy (Copper Creek). Then Koterbachy, now called Rudnany, has existed on Porac territory for the three centuries. A Census of Koterbach was taken in 1831 giving surnames and house numbers for all the inhabitants.

Mining has been developed in the area of Porac for many centuries. At first copper ore , then iron ore and mercury ore were exploited. There were eight mine plants on the territory of Porac and Rudnany, two mine plants in Zavadka and one mine plant in Slovinky in 1890. There was large production of iron ore during World War II and the following 40 years. At present, only baryt ore (barium) is being exploited in Porac.

Mine Tower, Porac, Slovakia

Mine Tower in Porac

The mining tower is next to the cemetery in Porac.

Industrial depressions and hard conditions for living caused emigration of many people to America at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. For example, Porac had 1462 inhabitants in 1864 and only 889 inhabitants in 1928. Thus, many people in the USA and Canada had and have family roots in Porac.

Now their descendants are searching these roots in the "Old country".

Stefan Hanuscin, 1999

Porac Page

Tour of Saint Demetrius Church

People of Porac Page

Back to Genealogical Research in Slovakia

Postal Cards - Miroslav Dibak - Kurier Reklema
Midi Arr. Tancuj Tancuj - copyright 1996 - Randall Kopchak
History text, English translation and photos copyright 1999, Stefan Hanuscin