Horné Považie

The territory called Horné Považie has a total area of 1097 km2. It is situated in the north-western part of the Žilina Region. Most of its surface is covered by mountains – Javorníky, Súľovské and Strážovské vrchy Mountains, Malá Fatra, Kysucká and Žilinská pahorkatina Highlands. The highest peak is Veľký Fatranský Kriváň – 1,709 meters above sea level.

The subregion was administratively integrated in the Trenčín County since the Middle ages until 1923. Then it became a part of Považská County. In 1996 Horné Považie was divided into two independent districts – Žilina and Bytča. There are 187 000 inhabitants, living in 61 villages and 4 towns.

The region features a lot of world famous cultural relics. There are 216 immovable and 192 movable cultural relics altogether in the region. The most significant ones are numerous castles scattered throughout the region. They include the national cultural monuments – renaissance Bytča Castle and medieval Strečno Castle. The other castles definitely worth visiting are Lietava, Starý hrad (Old castle), Hričov and Súľov Castles. The Budatín Castle is renowned for the largest tinker art exhibition in the world. The Castle is located on the confluence of the rivers Váh and Kysuca, in the capital of the whole self-governing region – Žilina. The capital offers another attraction especially for visitors keen on arts – the exhibition of the famous Slovak painter Vincent Hložník. The representative masterpieces are exhibited in the reconstructed attic of the Považská Gallery of Arts. The restoration of the Gallery was awarded a prestigious prize for Architecture called CE.ZA.AR in 2010 and today is an impressive dominant of the centre of the town.

Other famous sights are the urban protected zones in Bytča and Rajec. Both domestic and foreign visitors admire the Mariánske square in Žilina with dimensions of 100×100 metres or the unique wooden log houses in Čičmany, decorated with painted folk ornaments, which were declared a Folk Architecture Reservation in 1977. Tourists are also attracted by the Slovak Betlehem in Rajecká Lesná, executed by maestro Jozef Pekara. This woodcarving masterpiece depicts the Nativity Scene and it is the biggest moveable monument of its kind in the world.  The house of the Baroque writer J. I. Bajza in Predmier is included in cultural relics as well.

Regarding travel and tourism, Horné Považie is considered one of the most attractive regions. It features numerous cultural and historical sites, excellent world famous spas and is blessed with natural beauties and many places of interests as well. The rivers, lakes and dams offer a lot of opportunities for bathing, fishing and also for water sports. Malá Fatra National Park is very popular with tourists for its 230 km of marked hiking trails and important summer and winter tourist centres in the Vrátna dolina Valley. The attractive and well known National Natural Reserves Tiesňavy and Rozsutec are the tourist must-see within the whole Slovakia. The starting point of the trips to the Malá Fatra range is a village of Terchová, the birthplace of the legendary Juraj Jánošík. The village is known for its distinctive folklore and folk art as well as for the International Folklore Festival held annually.

One of the top attractions in the region is Súľovské skaly rocks. This romantic world of bastions, towers and columns makes up several rocky towns and belongs to the most beautiful places of Horné Považie, only 20 km far from Žilina.

The Protected Landscape of Kysuce (Javorníky Mountains) and Strážovské vrchy mountains also provide great hiking trails. The network of the cycling routes between the towns Žilina and Rajec has contributed to the development of travel and tourism in the region as well. The swimming pools in Žilina, Stráňavy and the thermal swimming pools in Rajec and Rajecké Teplice offer very good possibilities for swimming and water sports. Other popular tourist attractions include sailing, hang gliding, and paragliding, rafting down the river Váh or crossing it by ferry operating under the Strečno Castle.

 


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