Orava Castle

This fascinating landmark of the Orava valley belongs among the best preserved Slovak castles. The oldest reference to the castle governing the Orava district is from the year 1235. Its attractive location was conditioned by the relief of the sloping rock massif which rises up above the surface of the river Orava. Its oldest part is the upper castle with fortifications. Its prism-like defence tower was later included into the middle castle. During the 15th and 16th century when it was adjusted in the late-Gothic style by various owners, it was extended by a middle castle and fortification of the lower castle. František Thurzo had the damaged upper castle rebuilt in the middle of the 16th century. His son Juraj continued to modernise the castle. He enhanced the entrance protection by building a bastion called the Archive tower. In this period he also completed the castle chapel of the St. Michael with stucco net vault. It has a richly decorated interior with a remarkable Renaissance epitaph of Juraj Thurzo, Orava hereditary district chief and palatine from the Augsburg sculptor G. Menneler. After the death of Imrich, the only son of Juraj Thurzo, who did not have any offspring, the Orava dominion remained under the administration of a joint ownership, it was not divided among the families of his seven daughters. The joint ownership was always led by a descendant of the Thurzo family. Despite the fact that in the 17th and 18th century the castle went through disorders and uprisings, its current form stabilised at the beginning of the 17th century. Other works, e.g. after a destructive fire in 1800 or from 1906 when it was adjusted to the Romantic style by the Pálffy family, had only a local character. The castle, which many times became an authentic historical setting for historical films, opens to the public museum expositions of the Orava museum related to the history of the castle and the region.

Heritage > National cultural monuments