A castle like you would find in fairy tales

Oravsky Podzamok Travel Blog

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So, I went on to the main attraction….Oravsky Podzamok! The signs told me that I was close. I kept a look out. I approach the Orava River and know what side to be looking on. The elevated highway I was on made a turn to the left and around the side of a mountain was a clearing and perched high upon it’s craggy peak was Oravsky, as dramatic as in the tourist ad. The highwas continues it’s curve and you get the same sort of curving arial view as well. It’s an awesome sight. There is no equal to this, and I’ve seen many.

I had to go many kilometers to find a point to exit this highway and on to a back road. Then it was along the Orava River, through two towns to get to it.

I did stop at one due to it’s wooden pedestrian suspension bridge across the river.

It was creaky and swaying and really cool. I wish the views from it were more interesting but, it was fun anyway.

I reach the base of the Castle and found a parking lot (3 euro). It was lined with cheap goods for al the kids that they obviously get. It was over run with yelling youth running back and forth trying to make up their minds.

I walked along the river path to try to find my way up. There were a few buildings (restaurants and a souvenir shop) but signage for the castle. At the end of the little pedestrian area there was a big sign with tiny writing. There it was pricing for the castle. To the left, attached to the souvenir was a small window. I paid and she wrote on a piece of paper (13:00). I thought….ok, it opens at 13:00. She said to go up to the castle.

I walked up the steep, steep path with boulder sized cobbled stones……actually not really cobbled, just stones.

At the “front door” of the castle their were several people waiting. I decided that this must be a guided tour. I knew I was going to loose out on the information but was happy to get to see all of it.

Within a short time the door opened and a girl started taking the tickets. With all of us inside, she shut the door and gave a brief introduction, which I didn’t understand……I’m used to it.

The most attractive tourist attraction of northern Slovakia is the Orava Castle lying on the river Orava near the village Oravský Podzámok, below impressive cliffs. In 1370, it became a county castle and the seat of the Orava Castle estate, which included almost the whole region of Orava.

The castle, much like others in Slovakia, stands on the site of old wooden forts and it was constructed after the Tartar invasion in 1241. Originally, it was built in the Romanesque and Gothic styles and later reconstructed in the Renaissance and Neo-Gothic styles.

It consists of several buildings copying the shape of the castle rock. In 1556, the Castle fell into the hands of the Thurzos' who were the authors of the most extensive reconstruction of the castle's history. The Orava castle acquired its present form in 1611.

After the Thurzos' died out, the castle was owned by several landlords who did not take much care of it. The biggest disaster affected the castle in 1800 when it burnt down, and became useless. The most extensive reconstruction was made after the Second World War.

Today the Castle is a remarkable compound of buildings of the lower, central and upper castles with palaces, fortifications and towers. Visitors are intrigued by its three entrance gates communicated by a tunnel, under which there is a dungeon.

In the Castle itself, the Orava Museum was established and a series of expositions explores different aspects of castle life and its inhabitants.

In the oldest part of the upper castle, an archaeological exposition documenting the oldest history of the Orava settlement is displayed. Natural history exhibition is shown in the bottom floors of the central castle with samples of fauna and flora. On the upper floor of the central castle, an ethnographic exposition is available.

The historical exposition consists of a group of medieval and Renaissance buildings with their original furniture.

I saw a sign for “posta” and went that direction. I found a little church and a wooden sculpture garden but no posta….oh well, the wooden chicken was cool.

I decided that before I ventured on I must eat. I choose a log cabin looking restaurant with 3 waitress having their lunch. I had gnocchi with sheep’s cheese and it was delicious. I had a large portion and with a drink was 5 euro, not bad.

On the road back to the highway, I stopped for another wooden roofed manor house. It wasn’t as special as the one in Lestiny but, deserved a little of my attention.

When I got to the highway, I decided that I had driven all this way and waited a very long time to see this magnificent sight. I must do a drive by again. I went passed Oravsky, turned around and went by one more time for a last good bye. It lives up to any hype you might feel from all of the superlatives it is given. It is a castle. It is a fortress. It is a palace. It is some kind of Slovak special!

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Oravsky Podzamok
photo by: euphemy