Turiec is a region in the south-west of the Žilina Self-governing Region defined by the high-altitude naturally-formed Turiec Basin. It is surrounded by a wreath of mountains – to the east the Veľká Fatra Mountains, to the south the Kremnica Mountains, to the south-west Žiar and in the west and north the Malá Fatra Mountains. The River Turiec forms the axis of the basin as it flows down to join the River Váh. The region is full of natural treasures, which have earned it the nickname “Turiec Garden”. At the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century the region was the cultural heartland of Slovakia. Many important writers, artists and dramatists lived and worked here. There are several national cultural heritage monuments in Martin and the wider Turiec region, the most important of which is the Matica slovenská.