BANSKÁ STIAVNICA, Slovakia (AFP) – In a small medieval Slovak town, couples are getting ready today to make a “deposit” about their romance in a place dedicated to love stories.
The ‘Love Bank’ is the main attraction of an exhibition commemorating the world’s longest love poem, ‘Marina’ by Slovak poet Andrej Sladkovic.
Written in 1844, the 2,900-line long poem tells the tale of the doomed love between the poet and Maria Pischlova.
They were star-crossed lovers but, unlike Romeo and Juliet, their tragic romance is a true story. Marina’s parents shunned the poor poet and forced her to marry a wealthy gingerbread maker.
The house where Marina lived in the former silver mining town of Banska Stiavnica is now known as the ‘Epicentre of Love’ and features an interactive exhibition inspired by the poem, including a ‘love-o-metre’ measuring the strength of a couple’s affection.
“Our visitors say they are amazed by how a part of history and a poem that was on their elementary school compulsory reading list has been turned into a hands-on experience,” said Katarina Javorska, spokeswoman for the NGO running the exhibition.
For many couples, it’s the ‘Love Bank’ that attracts them to the site where they can store and preserve mementos of their romance.
A long tunnel in the basement of the house has been turned into a vault with exactly 100,000 tiny drawers, one for each letter, gap, and punctuation mark of the original, 174-year-old manuscript of “Marina”.
Lovers can only make “deposits” a few times a year – the next date is today.