906 05 Sobotište, Slovakia
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High “Haban” roof

A special feature of the traditional architecture of the anabaptists was the houses with a high roof structure called haban roofs. They were covered with straw shingles thatched with clay. This type of roof made it possible to make better use of the attic spaces that were occupied throughout the year. Their advantages were especially fire resistance, good insulating and thermal properties.

The material for the production of straw shingles was straw and clay. They were made in forms called mustry. They were narrow wooden boards approximately 120 cm long and 60-70 cm wide. Long straight rye straw was used to make thatch and cleaned and threshed with flails. A handful of straw was tied about halfway through its length. Two to three ties were then placed in the wisps along the bar with the cob facing out of the mold. Part of the straw projecting over the bar was smeared with a thick layer of muddy clay. For this, they laid new ties to the brim over the partition and poured the mud again. At the place where the join  was , so-called a “stick“ 1.5 cm diameter was crossed across the stick, which overlapped at both ends. An uncleaned thatched ear cobbled over a stick and stuck into the mud of the broader thatch. The shingles thus prepared were tied to wooden battens, nailed to the trusses at a distance of 30-35 cm.

The side with which the shingle was facing the mold plate was placed on top, the erased side of the top remained in the bottom. Thus, there were steps on the roof. The shingles were hammered together (a similar tool was used by basket-makers  when knitting  wicker in wagons ) so that there were no gaps between the shingles. The hazel stick remained in the shingle, the boards from the bottom not nailing. The shingles lay on the roof from the eaves to the ridge, side by side, with a straw layer up. They made the roof ridge by casting a crumble of straw on the gap between the highest rows of both sides of the roof, which they smeared with mud on top. It  hacked into the top rows of shingles to be heavy and withstand the wind. They connected the shingles on the ridge from both sides of the roof tightly together and filled the joint with  so-called   „hardening“ loosely paste clay. At the end, the roof was lined up with a clay loft until a smooth ceiling was formed and bleached. As heavy roofing required a solid construction, the walls were often reinforced by angled solid pillars in the corners. The last manufacturer  so-called „Haban roofs“ in Sobotište was Anton Pullman, from which he also preserved a detailed description of their production in 1944.