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Introducing Dukla

Dukla, 19km southwest of Krosno, is close to the Dukla Pass (Przełęcz Dukielska), the lowest and most easily accessible passage over the Western Carpathians. In the 16th century this strategic location brought prosperity to the town, which became a centre of the wine trade on the route from Hungary. Its heyday was in the 18th century, when most of its important monuments were built.

For history buffs, the Dukla Pass is best known as the site of an epic WWII battle in autumn 1944 pitting Nazi Germany on one side and the Soviet Red Army and Slovak partisan units on the other. The battle lasted about a month, with Soviet forces finally breaking through the German lines and crossing into Slovakia in early October. It was one of the fiercest battles of the war, leaving more than 100,000 dead on both sides, and is still commemorated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In strategic terms, it was a game-changer, bringing the Red Army south of the Carpathians, from where they eventually met up with other Soviet and Allied units coming up from Hungary for their eventual final push westwards to Prague.

In spite of the area’s historic role, these days Dukla is a sleepy place with little in the way of facilities. There’s a small tourist information office at the centre of the town, near the bus stop. You’ll find a branch of Bank PKO south of the parish church.