Liptovski Mikulasz is a picturesque city with an interesting history. It is also surrounded by magnificent caves, hot springs and mountain hiking routes. In addition, this is the city in which a legendary Slovakian outlaw, Janosik, was imprisoned and sentenced to death.
Janosik’s last sight might have been of the Tatra mountain range, a mountain stream, the merry companion of his comrades and the face of his beloved. However, he wasn’t executed in the nineteenth century in Podhale, as one of the most popular Polish TV shows wants us to believe. These events occurred approximately one-hundred years earlier in the Slovakian region of Liptov.
Some people may be wondering if the entire story of Janosik that they know was a myth. Let’s just say that the adventures of authentic Janosik were set in the realm of Podhale, so that a Polish viewer could relate to them. Plus, his biography has been slightly ennobled. The truth is that Juraj Janosik was Slovakian and it is said that he wasn’t as eager to share his loot with the poor as the character known from the TV.
From a convict to a hero
The famous Slovakian bandit spent his last days in a dungeon in Liptovski Mikulasz. The city still owns the documents from his trial, as well as the set of instruments of torture used to torment Janosik. You can also find there gallows, which have been recreated and embellished with a memorial plaque to honor Janosik, who is now considered the national hero.
Juraj Janosik was born in 1688 in a village known as Terchova. This is where his statue stands. Before he became a legend, he went to join the army at the age of nineteen. When serving in the Bytca castle, he became friends with the leader of the bandits who was imprisoned there. Later, Janosik helped him to escape the castle and shortly afterwards he joined his companion in 1711 and became its leader. However, his outlaw days didn’t last long. At the beginning of 1713, he was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging from a hook in his left rib. The public execution of the twenty-five year old outlaw took place in March 1713, at the same place where the “Janosik” hotel is located.
It is said that prior to hearing the sentence, Janosik confessed that he had been sharing the stolen valuables with young women. The trial documents do not indicate that he robbed the rich and gave to the poor. However, this myth has prevailed in the minds of the Liptov region inhabitants, who have yearned for freedom. They were charmed by the courage, suffering and sad fate of this young rebel. Both the tales and the songs created a legend, which reached many other areas.
Each year, on March 26th, the Catholic Church celebrates St. Dismas day, who was also known as the Penitent Thief. Likewise, this day is celebrated as Janosik’s day in Slovakia, as well as in Poland.
One of the main tourist attractions of Liptovski Mikulasz is the route of the famous outlaw. However, the city and its outskirts have much more to offer. One of these attractions is just 13 kilometers away from the city and is the Demanovska Cave of Liberty. This is the most popular cave in Slovakia. It was officially discovered in 1921. But is there a chance that Janosik and his comrades had been using it as shelter 200 years before?
Two out of eight kilometers of the cave’s interior have been opened to the public. You can choose one out of two sightseeing options – traditional (60 minutes) or extended (100 minutes). Inside, you can find underground lakes, waterfalls, stalactites, stalagmites and unbelievable colors. Tickets cost 8 euros for the traditional option and 15 euros for the extended.
The Liptovski Mikulasz area also offers hot springs. Approximately 4 km away from the city lies the Tatralandia Holiday Resort. This is the largest year-round water park complex in Slovakia. It has swimming pools, saunas and many more attractions. However, if you don’t appreciate Tatralandia’s grand scale, you can always check out other holiday resorts, which are located within the range of 10-22 km from the city center.
Liptovski Mikulasz is also a wonderful place to start a mountain hiking trip. However, before you decide to leave the city, it’s worth visiting all of its important attractions. This will be easier with a free mobile app that will guide you through the city’s eleven interesting locations. This list contains historical temples, a torture chamber and interactive presentations, among others.
Liptov Region Card
In order to attract even more tourists, the Liptov region offers the Liptov Region Card, which guarantees up to 50% discount on tourist attractions, restaurants and accommodation. You can buy it for 5 euros in the tourist information center or receive it after booking at least one night at a hotel, which is included in the Liptov Region Card partners database.
You can save even more money by favorable currency exchange. - Slovakia’s attractiveness has increased recently, due to the zloty strengthening. In March 2016, the euro was at the level of 4.40 PLN. Currently, it’s at a level of approximately 4.30 PLN. The zloty exchange rate against the euro shouldn’t change significantly in the forthcoming weeks – estimates Marcin Lipka, Cinkciarz.pl senior analyst. Cinkciarz.pl online currency exchange allows you to perform currency transactions safely, favorably and twenty-four hours a day.