These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Terchová : Bandit country

By James Thomson

    A modern-day Juraj Jánošík.
 A modern-day Juraj Jánošík.
 Photos by James Thomson

Another place with authentic folk architecture is Terchová, east of Žilina . This is the home of Slovakia's answer to Robin Hood, Juraj Jánošík. In contrast to Robin Hood, who is variously claimed by about half a dozen towns in the English Midlands, Jánošík is definitely recorded as having been born in Terchová, in 1688.

After fighting on both sides in an uprising against the emperor in the early eighteenth century armies Jánošík, a son of peasants, decided to become a sole trader in the philanthropic highway robbery market. How much of what he stole actually went to the poor is moot, but his marketing was excellent and in little over a year he had successfully established a strong brand. Unfortunately for Jánošík, this attracted the attention of the competition - the local land-owning classes. They employed a legal procedure (capture and trial) to put him out of business which, this being 1713, ended in his very painful death.

But Jánošík's sacrifice was not in vain - the people of the region have been trading on his name ever since, and a large stainless steel statue of him now stands on a hill outside Terchová, lest anyone forget from whence he came.

South of Terchová, through a narrow gorge, is the Vrátna valley, a very attractive and popular walking and skiing area. There are numerous tourist facilities throughout the valley, which is part of the Malá Fatra National Park.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2009, which you can obtain from our online shop.

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