BRATISLAVA, Slovakia—Slovakia boasts an impressive list of historic castles, many dating back as early as the 13th century. But worn down over the ages, many of them are now in desperate need of restoration.
Slovak authorities have come up with a way to see the needed restorations come to fruition, while at the same time making an effort to curb unemployment. Starting this month, jobless people will be tasked with the renovation of 20 castles.
The initiative by the Slovak Ministry of Culture follows a pilot of the program last year during which two castles were renovated.
Aside from providing employment, and rescuing the important historic sites, Slovak authorities are hoping that getting the castles in good shape will be a boon to tourism.
One of two castles started last year is the 13th century Uhrovec Castle in Western Slovakia. The castle, originally owned by an influential family named Zay from Croatia, is an extensive estate in Romanesque style. Twenty men started the job last year and the project will continue in 2012.
A 620,000 euro ($807,000) donation from the Ministry of Culture is covering expenses for the restoration work itself on castle project.
The 3.3 million euro ($4.3 million) in salaries over 3 years are being funded by the European Social Fund, which has a mandate to create more jobs and better jobs in Europe.
“It is expected that a total number of 840 people will get short term-jobs” from the program, the spokesperson for Slovakia’s Central Office of Labor, Social Affairs and Family, Peter Zeman, wrote in an email.