The headquarters of the Matica Slovenská in Martin.
Photos by James Thomson
Turiec region is known as the garden of Slovakia for its rolling fields, ringed by the mountains of the Malá and Veľká Fatra ranges.
Martin, the main town in the area, is regarded as the home of Slovak nationhood. It was here in 1861 that the Martin Memorandum was signed by Slovak nationalists, an early statement of the constitutional principles on which the nation might be based. In 1918, it was the site of a declaration by a later generation of leaders in which they committed Slovaks to becoming part of the nascent Czechoslovak Republic. It is also the home of a state-funded national cultural institution, the Matica Slovenská.
Martin was a very small town during the nineteenth century but underwent significant industrial redevelopment in the communist period. Outside the historical centre, which includes the striking modern Millennium glass building, there is not much to detain tourists. But the surrounding countryside around it is very pleasant, popular with walkers in the summer and skiers in the winter.