Upper Váh Region

Basic information

The third largest region in Slovakia is also known as “Juraj Jánošík Country”. Jánošík was a Slovak outlaw who became a national legend. He and his band lived in the forests between Žilina and Liptovský Mikuláš and held up travellers. No one was ever hurt or killed in his robberies. He then shared his loot with the poor, which earned him the name the Slovak Robin Hood. The outlaw captain later became a synonym for the fight against human oppression and injustice. Jánošíkove diery – one of Slovakia’s best known gorge systems, which is situated on the north-eastern edge of the Malá Fatra mountain range, takes its name from him. The longest river in Slovakia – the River Váh – cuts through the Malá Fatra range dividing it into the Lúčanská and Krivánska parts. The fascinating rock spires in the Súľov Mountains have inspired people to give them fantastic but fitting names: the Monk, the Camel, the rock mushroom Little Spruce, the Owl and the Little Owl, Organs, Rock Eye... etc. The most eye-catching are the caves and gateways. Winter visitors will find a welcome at many ski centres. Besides its natural beauties, the region is full of historical monuments from medieval castles to manor houses. The most important of these are Strečno Castle and Budatín Castle.

In the past the region was famous for the craftwork of its travelling tinkers. Their ability to work with wire is something unique to Slovakia without parallel in other countries. Tinkers initially worked in the home market but this quickly became saturated, with the result that they spread to Western Europe and even further afield.  A tinker was usually accompanied on his travels by an assistant who was learning the craft – known as a džarko. This type of tinker was most common and also the least affluent. The tinkers’ wirework gradually became an artistic craft and an art form in its own right. Works of art in wire from the region can be found in the wire craft museum at Budatín Castle.