Historical exhibitions

Orava Castle as a National Cultural Landmark is a historical complex which documents the architectural styles of different historical periods, its original use, and transformation in the spirit of the times.
The exhibitions are focused on documenting the styles of medieval and modern housing, historic types of military technology and the artistic styles of each century, shaped by artistic and commercial interior accessories and fine art.

View of the second castle gate

The second castle gate with a drawbridge was built in 1543 by John from Dubovec who made more reconstruction works.

Main courtyard view

The main courtyard with a view of lower, middle and upper part of the castle.

The first castle gallery

Representative room of Thurzo's Palace - aristocratic renaissance residence. The palace was built in the 2nd half of the 16th century by Francis Thurzo and finished by George Thurzo in the early 17th century.
Here you can see an example of neo-rococo parlour furniture from the first half of the 19th century.

Portrait of Edmund Zichy

He took the initiative to the establishment of the Orava composesorat's museum and materially supported him. To be director of Orava estate was elected 15.11.1862.
The image is part of a series of oil paintings of I. castle gallery.

Ground of western bastion

Round tower with loopholes cannon, built by John of Dubovec in the 1st half of the 16th century .
Exposure of weapons and armor in the context of particular historical types and kinds.

Courtyard of the Middle castle

Well was excavated by Francis Thurzo in the 16th century and should solve the problem of water supply in these parts of the castle.

Knight's hall

One of the most interesting rooms of Korvin palace, which imitates the style of medieval furniture housing. Korvin palace was built by Matthias Corvinus late 15th century using Neo-Gothic architectural elements.

Detail of wall painting in Knights's hall

Paintings dates from the neoromantic reconstruction of the early 20th century and made ​​bz painter Maximilian Mann from Munich.

Wall emblems in Dubovec palace

Painted wall emblems of Francis Thurzo and his first wife Barbara Kostkova from the mid-16th century and situated on one of the walls of the palace of John Dubovec, which was built in the 1st half of the 16th century.

Upper castle view from north

Winter scenery of the Citadel with snowy West Tatras in the background.

Interior of the Citadel

The oldest and the highest part of Orava Castle - Citadel, which was built in the 2nd half of the 13th century as a military, security and defense strength in the Romanesque style building.

Médiathèque

Dramatic sceneries of Orava Castle have been very attractive for the film producers almost hundred years. Médiathèque is original exposition which is focused on the film-history of the castle. This exposition brings to light secrets of film producing and documents the fairy tales and movies made at the castle.

Natural history exhibition

- As part of a visit to Orava Castle, a walk through nature awaits you
- In addition to the basic natural characteristics of the Orava region, which are illustrated with rich photo-documentation, specimens of minerals, rocks and paleontological findings are displayed
- Do you want to see what life looks like in the River Orava and the floodplains which exist near human settlements, and which are characterized by grasslands, forests and alpine sites in the Orava region?
- Welcome, we look forward to your visit.


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Ethnographic exhibition

The Orava region is considered to be an area rich in folk culture, both material and spiritual. This multiplicity of traditional values, with an emphasis on visual perception, is offered to visitors of the Orava Museum via a new ethnographic exhibition, installed at the Dubovský Palace at Orava Castle. Through the selection of ethnographic exhibits, significant and meaningful specific features of Orava folk culture present the individuality of their creators according to local specificities, impressively highlighting symbolism and decorative motifs.

 

An exclusive part of the ethnographic exposition "Orava gentry" presents, through selected exhibits, the status, culture and traditions of the Orava gentry with an emphasis on their new social acceptance and activities. The gentry, as part of the ruling class of Orava in the past, directly affected the public life and leadership of Orava. As a result, the squires of Orava certainly now deserve to be represented at Orava Castle. Each year this new exhibition provides space for the presentation of events associated with the activities of Orava's nobility. Descendants of the old families of Orava complement the valuable artefacts that connect them with a glorious past.
The third, open part of the exhibition is designed as a variable and alternating space, adapted for practical and simple changes by the installers. The proposed concept provides space for selected topics of traditional Orava folk culture, which are varied and updated. As a multifunctional space with a separate sound system, it is used to implement "expositions vivum" - live exhibitions, linking the past with the present.


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Archaeological research and findings

Mikuláš Kubínyi worked at Orava Castle and in its immediate surroundings in the second half of the 19th and early 20th century. He carried out archaeological research under Orava Castle, which started to explore Lusatian burial culture. We do not know what led the researcher to archaeological study at the castle. His life was devoted to the romantic reconstruction of the middle castle, in which many interesting artefacts were apparently discovered; but these activities were not associated with deliberate research activity. In the 1950s and 1970s there was an extensive restoration of Orava Castle. This was partly construction activity, and renovation work on the buildings of the middle and upper castles, but also insertion of utilities, and other facilities. At that time archaeologist Pavol Čaplovič served as director of the Orava Museum, which administers the castle. Despite the sometimes very difficult situation, he tried to rescue archaeological material and, if circumstances allowed, map the finds. Under these conditions the first archaeological research activities were conducted at Orava Castle in the 1950s. Pavol Čaplovič's studies inform us that numerous finds came from the area of the main courtyard. Other finds came from the access road to between the first castle gate and the main courtyard. Archaeological material was discovered, but also other spaces in the castle and its immediate surroundings. Research at this time was focused almost exclusively on the prehistoric and ancient periods. After 1968, when the castle was ceremonially opened, archaeological research was paused for a very long time. A new phase of archaeological research at Orava Castle occurred at the beginning of the new millennium. In 2003, conservation research was conducted on the second terrace of the main courtyard. Research has confirmed assumptions about the merits of a systematic review of the castle area, and about its contribution to the elucidation of the history of Orava Castle. Further extensive archaeological research in the main courtyard and the middle courtyard of the castle was carried out in 2008-2010. These research activities have brought a wealth of valuable knowledge about the architectural development of the castle area. They found parts of unknown defunct structures, and documented prehistoric, medieval and more modern finds. Research activities obtained for the Orava Museum a quantity of archaeological material which not only multiplied the museum's collection, but some specimens enriched the exhibition that you can now see.

 

Settlement of the castle rock from prehistoric times to the modern era

The present appearance of the castle complex is the result of long-term architectural development, whose origins lie in the 13th century, with final stylistic adjustments being made in the last century. However, the strategic position of the castle, overlooking an important trade route leading through the Orava valley, had attracted attention before then, in the form of a modest but significant Romanesque brick castle.
The fate of the castle hill has been closely linked to the surrounding area. The oldest finds from the cadastral area of Oravský Podzámok come from the Early and Late Stone Age. But these are relatively rare and contentious findings, which do not yet allow more specific conclusions about this historical period. The beginnings of a more coherent settlement of this territory occur in the late Bronze Age, from which comes the evidence of Lusatian burial culture in the village. According to Pavol Čaplovič, the oldest evidence of settlement of the castle hill itself comes from the Hallstatt period, when a fortified settlement was erected there. The castle rock was populated in the late La Tène and early Roman periods (2nd century BC - 2nd century AD) by people of the Puchov culture. Construction activity in the 1950s revealed remnants of the prehistoric mound that protected the settlement on the castle rock. A defensive wall was discovered in the area of the Archív bastion and second castle gates. Puchov culture finds also come from the main courtyard, and from the slopes below the castle walls on both sides of the Račová stream. A short period of utilization of the castle complex in the late Roman period, specifically at the time of the Great Migration of nations (end of the 4th century AD - 5th century AD), is evidenced by fragments of pottery. In the main courtyard fragments of 9th-century Slavic pottery were also discovered, which are strong evidence of the settlement of Slavs in the area of the current castle. It is likely that the Slavs used the remnants of older fortifications on this site, but we have no evidence of this as yet. In another place fragments of pottery were discovered from a more recent period, dated to the 13th-15th century. That is, however, a period in which there was a stone castle, for which we have written sources. The earliest known written reference to the existing castle dates back to 1267.


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