Žilina is a city in north-western Slovakia, around 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the capital Bratislava, close to both the Czech and Polish borders. It is the fourth largest city of Slovakia with a population of approximately 80,000, an important industrial center, the largest city on the Váh river, and the seat of a kraj (Žilina Region) and of an okres (Žilina District). It belongs to the Upper Váh region of tourism.

Main sights

The historical center of the city, reconstructed in the early 1990s is protected as a city monument reserve (SlovakMestská pamiatková rezervácia). It is centered on the Mariánske námestie and Andrej Hlinka squares. The Mariánske námestie square has 106 arcade passages and 44 burgher houses along the whole square. It is dominated by the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, the old building of the city council, and the baroque statue of the Virgin Mary. Nearby is the Church of the Holy Trinity, a sacral building built around 1400, which is since February 2008 the cathedral of the Diocese of Žilina.

The Church of Saint Stephen the King (SlovakKostol Sv. Štefana krála) is the oldest architectural relic of town Zilina, located just 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) southwest from the center. It is one of the first Romanesque churches in Slovakia, dating back to the years 1200–1250, by the experts. The legend goes that the Hungarian King István I himself ordered to build it. Valuable is the inner decoration of the church. Wall paintings originate from approximately 1260; in 1950 they were discovered and later on restored by the Žilina fine artist Mojmír Vlkoláček. Nowadays it is a popular place for wedding ceremonies.

Other landmarks around the city include:

  • Budatín Castle, housing Považie Museum with its tinker trade exhibition
  • The wooden Roman Catholic church of St. George in the Trnové section (one of the few outside north-eastern Slovakia)
  • The Orthodox synagogue, which now houses the Museum of Jewish culture
  • The New Synagogue, now a cultural centre

The city is a starting point for various locations of western and eastern Slovakia, including hiking trails into the Lesser Fatra and Greater Fatra mountains. Other locations of interest include Bojnice CastleStrečnoOrava region, and the villages of Čičmany and Vlkolínec.


Square of Victims of Communism 1 011 31 Žilina
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