National Geographic : 1968 Feb
(Cervena Skala), Upper Salty (Vysna Slana), and Lower Salty (Niina Slana). One-Stra tena-meant simply "lost." Many tidy cottag es were painted the color of peach ice cream. Finally I saw the distant smokestacks of Kosice, eastern Slovakia's largest city. At the East Slovakian Iron and Steel Works a brass band and ranks of Communist Youth massed before a speakers' stand draped in red bunting. The Soviet delegation again! The Russians had come to visit the most modern steel mill in Czechoslovakia-one day to be its largest, with an eventual capacity of 4,000,000 tons of sheet steel a year. Next morning I followed an official, Mr. Otto Slafkovsky, to the Furnace of the 20th Anni versary of the Liberation of Czechoslovakia. Whatever its name, a caldron of molten iron is an impressive sight-a weird, unearth ly thing that hisses infernally and showers sparks and soot. A burly Slovak stoker, 176 masked against the fierce heat, labored with a long iron to rake slag from the white-hot met al as it cascaded from the blast furnace. Proud of the plant, Mr. Slafkovsky showed me its great rolling mills, nearly a mile long, sleek electronic control panels, the huge cok ing plant, even a steelworkers' training school. The Czechoslovak-designed plant, he said, uses equipment from all over the world. At the workers' cafeteria I watched laborers ladle down gargantuan bowls of soup, gou lash, and dumplings-at 9:30 in the morning. "Isn't it early for lunch?" I asked. "This is just their midmorning snack, some thing like your coffee break," came the reply. Gypsies Thwart Socialist State A few of the steelworkers looked different to me, dark-haired, swarthy, slighter of build. "Gypsies," said Frank. Later he introduced me to a friend who could tell me more about EKTACHKOMEU N.G.S.