The first direct written reference to Vlkolínec comes from 1461 (the first indirect written reference is even earlier, from 1376). Vlkolínec is mentioned here as one of the so-called “streets” in the town of Ružomberok. Its name comes from the word “vlk” (wolf), as wolves were abundant in the surrounding woods.
However, this is not when the settlement of this territory began. Rising directly above Vlkolínec is the hill of Sidorovo, called “Žiar” by the local citizens. There was a Hallstatt hill fort standing on this hill already in the early Iron Age. It was protected by ramparts enclosing an elliptical area of approximately 150 by 70 metres. In the southern section, these ramparts were attached to the rocky walls of the massif. The hill fort was oriented in the north – south direction. The territory inside the enclosure was laid out in terraces. It was situated in a place with very poor accessibility at a relatively high altitude. The peak of Sidorovo hill is situated at an altitude of 1099 metres above sea level, the hill fort itself was situated at 1092 metres above sea level. Such location was very advantageous, as it made it very difficult for the enemies to occupy the territory. The hill fort did not have permanent residents, it was used only as a sanctuary in the times of impending danger. From this period, archaeologists have found two intact vessels and parts of ceramics. In a later period, a Slavic hill fort stood here. Archaeological finds from this period include parts of ceramics from the Great Moravian and post-Moravian periods.
In a document from 1340, which defined the territory of the town of Ružomberok, it says that the town also included the territory of today’s Vlkolínec. The village of Vlkolínec itself began to emerge in the second half of the 14th century. It was most likely built by the inhabitants of the nearby area of Biely Potok.
In 1625, there were four peasant farmsteads and five homes of tenant farmers. Tenant farmers were the poorest class among liegemen. Other areas in which people used to earn a living in this territory at the time, in addition to agriculture, included in particular sheep breeding and cattle breeding, bee-keeping, production of cheese, “bryndza” cheese and other dairy products, woodcutting, coal mining and production of shingles.
Also known from the 18th century is the conflict of “streets” with the town of Ružomberok, in which Vlkolínec was one of the participants. In this conflict, the inhabitants of the “streets” sought recognition of their rights by the town. Vlkolínec became a “street” of Ružomberok in the 15th century. Other “streets” were Villaludrová, Biely Potok and Černová. These “streets” were obligated to pay taxes to Ružomberok (Vlkolínec had to pay 52 gold coins) and their mayors were subordinate to the mayor of Ružomberok. Their inhabitants were not considered as townsmen by the town, but as lieges. These conflicts lasted almost the entire 18th century. In 1771, the “streets” wanted to become independent from Ružomberok, but they did not succeed. All inhabitants of the “streets” had to complete 21 days of work for the nobility every year. Inhabitants of the “streets” complained about the ill-treatment even to the emperor himself. In 1775, the Liptov County had to send soldiers to control a riot. Leaders of the riot were imprisoned and beaten on the rack. Conflicts continued in the 19th century as well. There were several long trials, which resulted in partial equalisation of “streets” with the town. “Streets” also obtained representation in the town’s council.
In 1770, a wooden belfry was built in the centre of Vlkolínec which is one of the most important buildings of folk architecture in Vlkolínec and which stands here still today.
In 1825, there were 334 inhabitants living here based on the population census.
Preserved from 1860 is a wooden well with a winch with depth of 13 meters. Church of the Visitation of Virgin Mary was built in 1875. It stands at the eastern end of Vlkolínec, near the local cemetery. At the end of the 19th century, a brick school was built in the vicinity of the church and the cemetery.
In 1882, Vlkolínec became a district of Ružomberok.
Life of the inhabitants of Vlkolínec was also affected by the World War I, in which 15 inhabitants of Vlkolínec who had been drafted lost their lives.
In 1944, there were already 82 houses in Vlkolínec. During this period, the lives of the local inhabitants were tragically affected by the war events of those years. During the Slovak National Uprising in October of 1944, several houses burned down at the upper end of the village after a mortar attack. It happened at the time of battles for the nearby hill Ostrô. Fortunately, most of the inhabitants of Vlkolínec had already been evacuated to the town of Liptovská Lúžna. They returned home only after the end of the SNU. However, five people were murdered in the village by the German commando.
Electricity wasn’t introduced in Vlkolínec until 1956.
Vlkolínec is situated at a relatively isolated location. That is one of the reasons why the outer look of the houses as well as the indoor arrangement of many of the houses have been preserved until today. There is no other comparable group of preserved original houses in the entire central Europe, which is what makes Vlkolínec so unique.
That is why on January 26, 1977, Vlkolínec was declared a monument reserve of folk architecture under resolution no. 21 of the government of the Slovak Socialist Republic. The main objective of the resolution was to protect the cultural value of this location.
Moreover, on December 11, 1993, at the UNESCO congress in Cartagena, Colombia, Vlkolínec was added to the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Addition to this list confirmed the uniqueness of Vlkolínec in a global context.