in the upper reaches of the castle you have the personal space of the lord of the castle, or the castellan appointed to be in charge of the castle while the lord was away. The interior of the castle would be disappointing if you come expecting some grand fairytale castle where the lord lives in luxury. For example, if you compare this castle to...more
As mentioned before, Orava castle's main function was the administration of Arva County. At the time it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. Today the area runs from northern Slovakia to Southern Poland. The main town on the Slovak side is Dolny Kubin, the main town on the Polish side is Jablonka. The area of the county (until 1910) was 2,019,...more
One of the main functions of Orava castle was as the seat of the region. As such, administrative functions were important. One of the essential functions of this sort of castle in the middle ages was the administration of justice. We in the modern age continue to be fascinated by this aspect, the seeming arbitrariness, the dungeons, the hideous...more
Orava Castle has, like most of the other castles you will see, fallen victim to accidents and natural disasters over time. The usual culprit has been fire. So in most castles you will see gradual changes that reflect new work done in a new style as a reflection of a new owner's tastes or needs. What is different about Orova castle is that you there...more
Once you have come in the main gate, you head up the cobblestone way in the previous pictures. Once you have crossed the plank that might have been the drawbridge (I'm not sure if its still used) you are in the castle proper.Look above, your eyes will first gaze in wonder at the upper castle, how it hugs the rug, you start thinking of how...more
There is Zamocka4 at an entrance of Orava Castle according to the name. You must go along in front of this restaurant to enter a castle. We have a clean feeling in this restaurant and am delicious even if a meal eats anything. Will not tableware used in a shop be a Hungarian thing? I will not forget a brown, simple pattern if I look once. I always...more
Sorry, we didn't eat in Bistro "Pod Hradom" ("Down the Castle"). But I noticed that they served typical Slovak dishes there. I found Slovak cuisine delicious and more spicy than Czech or Polish one. Various kinds of roasted meat dominate.There are a couple of dishes that are typically Slovak that I want to bring to your attention. The first is...more
Do not look for a toilet or a restroom / bathroom in restaurant Toliar and generally in Slovakia. Look for WC (water closet :-) instead - look at my picture.There were usually small statues of a woman/lady or a guy/gentleman put on the doors to sign a gender of WC users. Sometimes there was written: MUZI (guys) or ZENY (women) instead. Zemiaky v...more
There was a table for max. 6-8 persons placed in the corner of Toliar restaurant with the sign "FAJCIARI" hanging above as on my picture. It meant: for smoking. Haha, next table was for non-smoking but the smoke from cigarettes was surely spreading through the whole interior. Our waiter noticed our surprise and explained that there was a special...more
There was a restaurant in the ground floor of Hotel Oravan which served some Slovak food. We didn't eat there. Why? Hmm... whenever I chose a restaurant in low or medium class hotels (esp. larger and old ones) in Slovakia I was somewhat unsatisfied, they were usually more expensive and offered hmm... not the best food. But if you want... your risk...more
It's simple restaurant and pub/bar which served some local food like "halusky" (noodles with goat cheese) and "pirohy" (pierogis). Add homemade Slovak soups.The Slovak diet relies mainly on pork. The most popular traditional dishes are bryndzove halusky and Hungarian dishes including goulash, I think. Wine, beer, slivovice (plum brandy), and...more
It gave me some inconvenience to take this picture - read more in my Warning Or Danger tip.Never mind, you must pay for something which is called parking lot (Parkovisko) but in real it's neglected asphalt square with no lanes painted where cars and tour buses parked. How much was it?- motorcycle - 20 Sk- passenger car - 40 Sk- passenger car with...more
We noticed a few tourist buses on parking lot we stopped in Oravsky Podzamok although we were there in October that was out of the tourist season. The buses were from Slovakia and Poland as well. I think that many tour operators offer bus tours around this region of Slovakia with a castle tour included.Contact:Slovak Tourist Board Slovenska...more
Walking or driving in Oravsky Podzamok follow a few direction signs put there. Look at my picture: haha, it seems that Slovak language is similar to English:Parkovisko = Parking LotHotel = HotelPosta = Post OfficeIt's not true, Slovak language belongs to Western Slavic languages together with Polish and Czech and these 3 languages are quite similar...more
There was a nice souvenir shop next to where you paid your admission to the castle. Prices were probably average. Please be mindful of labels- I bought a DVD, checked to make sure it was compatible with what we use here in the States. Brought it home and put it in and nothing, they coded the DVD, might work in Europe but not here!. now i wish i...more
You can buy various t-shirts and hats in that store - enlarge my pic. Most of them with inscription Slovensko (Slovakia), heraldic arms of Slovakia and Oravsky Podzamok etc. Not great choice to be honest and limited choice of sizes as well. White T-shirt with Slovak heraldic arm if you like. 208 Sk for a T-shirt for me - XL now :-(. You could buy...more
There is a store called Suveniry/souvenirs in the same wooden cottage where ticket office is located. There are numerous small gifts to choose from there including: paintings and drawings of the castle and the village, pottery, various figures and statues of... witches and medieval knights, T-shirts and so on.Hmm... rather kitschy items although if...more
Maybe it's not at all local custom of Oravsky Podzamok but the flowers looked very nice. And I was a little surprised to see flowers put outdoors in flower-boxes in October there. Hmm... a little cold weather for flowers that time, I thought.When you come from June or even late May to August expect to see many more flowers there.more
There were a few direction signs put on tourist trails in Oravsky Podzamok. Hmm... all were exclusively in Slovak language but I could easy get to know what was written there: Informacie (information) and posta (post office). "K hradu" means to the castle. "Hrad" means castle in Slovak language.more
We were looking for a toilet/restroom when we came back to the parking. And we found one at the back of a wooden building which housed a bar/pub close to the parking but the door was locked and we noticed the piece of paper on the door as on my picture."Poplatok za WC je 5,- Sk" means: fee for toilet/restroom is 5 Sk. Hmm... go to the bar/pub, pay...more
We were looking at goods sold in the first store we noticed located just by a parking lot. Hmm... the salesman was very busy reading newspapers and he didn't pay any attention to us. So, we ignored him as well. Was he a friend of a monster-lady from a parking lot?I noticed that in some esp. old and not renovated (= usually not private in real)...more
What is HUI? Hiking under influence (of booze).In contrast to DUI (driving under infuluence), HUI is allowed by law and even socially accepted unless you don't behave and get too drunk to move alone. But remember: hiking trail to the top of the castle maybe to difficult while HUI. We didn't do HUI in Oravsky Podzamak although Kathy drank her funny,...more
It is not so easy to take a good picture in bad weather, dark daylight and in sunny days as well if you notice large contrasts between shadows (trees for example) and sun-lighted areas. My top 5 advices:1. on sunny day avoid taking pics in midday, better just after sunrise or before sunset,2. avoid making pictures with objects of large contrast...more
Comfortable walking shoes preferrably water-resistant: like good trainers or better special walking shoes (Danish Ecco are very comfortable and... expensive but worth the cost).
Sun-glasses esp. in winter and summer and always a rain coat.
Read info on climate in Slovakia:
Climate of Slovakia
Check 10-day weather forecast for Sliac (110 km south of Oravsky Podzamok): Weather forecast for Sliac Region
Check weather (4-day forecast) for Dolny Kubin (10 km south of Oravsky Podzamok, in Slovak language):
Weather forecast for Dolny Kubin
Remember that the weather changes very fast in this mountaineous area!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toilet paper, soap (small bottle of liquid soap), paper towels or tissue papers. Usually available in public toilets (restrooms) but... not always.
Photo Equipment: For pictures at night and bad light (weather) take a tripod.
Miscellaneous: If you are going to climb the mountains buy good map of the area, detailed with mountain trails marked. There are maps covering whole Slovakia by VKU (Vojensky Kartograficky Ustav) which are numbered (area by area) and the best in my opinion. Available in bookstores in Dolny Kubin/Zilina and sometimes (rarely) in bigger petrol/gas stations.
I didn't know this, but I was told that the 1922 movie Nosferatu was filmed in part at Orava Castle. I haven't seen the film so its hard for me to say, though its not hard to see why the directors chose this castle if they wanted something a bit mysterious, wild, dark, almost foreboding.Orava castle would have all those qualities. They really...more
This building on my picture was located on the left side of the main highway to the castle. Its walls were made of wood and the house was roofed with iron sheet. It didn't look nice in my opinion. I noticed that there were quite many such houses in Oravsky Podzamok. I thought they had to be relatively cheap.more
I found commemorating plate dedicated to Karel Anton Medvecky (in Slovak language) on this quite new and nice house on my picture. The plate was put there in 1995. Medvecky was Slovak, a catholic priest, actor, historian and ethnographer. He was born in nearby village Dolna Lehota in 1875 and he grew up in Oravsky Podzamok. Died in 1937.more
Many public footpaths pass through the village of Oravsky Podzamok for walking all the year round. The mountains around are not very high: the highest summit of Oravska Magara called Cisty grun is only 1082 m (3550 ft) above see level high. But, never mind, the mountains looked really very nice especially in autumn/fall (early October).
Anyway, first you must climb up to the top of a hill to visit the castle.
Equipment: Good walking shoes.
I saw beautiful, tiny, small houses (sometimes a little neglected) roofed with red ceramic tiles in Oravsky Podzamok. But I saw ugly buldings as well. I didn't like especially too massive, cube-shape with flat roof houses like this white one on my picture with almost no windows on its wall - looked like a jail hehe. I think they were designed and...more
The oldest part of Orava Castle is located on the top of the rock and is called the Upper Castle or the Citadel. It looked impressive from the village down and it was partly open to the public.The Citadel was built in the middle of 13th century at the place of wooden watch tower. Like most castles in northern Slovakia it was probably built after...more
This part of Orava castle was built later than the Upper Castle, at place of a few wooden houses located there as early as in 13th century. This part of the castle looked a little chaotic but lovely with its numerous towers, turrets and walls.The middle part constisted of a mediaeval donjon (a square two-storied salvage tower) and two medieval...more