Orava Castle – History of cinematography

Dramatic and impressive sceneries of Orava Castle attracted filmmakers from the early 20th century. That is why we decided to create a special exhibition focusing on film history of the castle. On 21st July 2015, there was a grand opening of Mediateka (Media Library) located at the upper part - the Citadel. Some famous actors and actresses also attended the ceremony. The aim of the exhibition is to show the process of filming in historic environment and to present some of the most famous works of arts shot in the castle area. „Mediateka is a modern and attractive addition to standard exhibitions of Orava Castle. Its interior and exterior were inspiring backdrop for several films made in the former Czechoslovakia. Even today, the castle is an attractive location for domestic and foreign film crews,“ explains Maria Jagnesakova, director of Orava Museum.



A film is the final result of a long-term process. What is special about it is the fact that it can attract thousands of people and make them watch TV or visit a cinema. Together with the actors, we experience joy, pain, fear and hope in a good and justice ending. But not everyone knows that behind these series of images, there is a difficult, detailed and precise work of the film crew. The film can be literary, fictional or just a simple human story transcribed into the script. Enriched with high-quality sound and visuals, it can receive the right breathtaking atmosphere. It is a story that enters our soul and mind, through words, images and sounds.


There were several films shot at Orava Castle or nearby:


Koza Lapka, 1970, directed by Karol Ruth
Adam Šangala, 1972, directed by Karol Spišák
Kráľ Drozdia brada, 1984, directed by Miloslav Luther
Rozprávka rozprávok, 1991, directed by Ľubomír Fifík
Matúš, 1996, directed by Martin Kákoš
TV series Škriatok (episode 10), 1995, directed by Ľubo Kocka
Sokoliar Tomáš (Tomas and the Falcon King), 1999, directed by Václav Vorlíček (+ coproduction partner)
Láska na vlásku, 2014, directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská


Nosferatu (eine Symphonie des Graunes), 1922, directed by F. W. Murnau
TV series Janosik (episode 7), 1973, directed by Jerzy Passendorfer
Sorellina e il Principe del Sogno, 1997, directed by Lamberto Bava
Dragonheart II., 1998, directed by Doug Lefler
Michele Strogoff, il corriere dello zar, 1999, directed by Fabrizio Costa


Interesting facts about the films:

Kráľ drozdia brada
The leading role of Princess Anne was given to a girl who came to audition only to support her friend. Nevertheless, the director chose her from a number of other candidates.

Thomas and the Falcon King
The film received tremendous success at the International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Colombia (it was given the Special Jury Prize). It was screened in the original version with simultaneous translating into Spanish performed by 15 Colombian actors. The film immediately gained so much attention that it had to be screened a few more times.

Láska na vlásku
Some of the objects used on the film set might have already been noticed in the TV series The Borgias. The throne, on which Tomas Hanak is sitting, is exactly the same papal throne of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), played by Jeremy Irons. The bed of Prince Matej had belonged to Lucrecia Borgia before.

Dragonheart II
When shooting this fantasy story, the whole surroundings of the village Oravský Podzámok was adapted to a medieval village. Bridge over the river Orava was modified beyond recognition and covered with wood. Also a brand new settlement was made from wood and straw to perfectly fit the scenario.

Historians believe that some of Thurzo’s descendants from different countries, especially Germany, might have recommended Murnau to use the location of Orava Castle. In order to achieve a certain mystery, most film locations were carefully selected so that they could not have been identified.


Limited space options in the newly established permanent exhibition allowed us to present only a few selected films. This was done in the form of large-format banners and 3D mannequins.

DSC_3700+ (1335x2000).jpg
IMG_4064 (2500x1667).jpg
IMG_4107 (1667x2500).jpg
IMG_4139 (2500x1667).jpg
IMG_4138 (2500x1667).jpg
IMG_4140 (1667x2500).jpg
photo 8.jpg
photo 12.jpg
photo 16.jpg
Princezna a zobrak.jpg
TV serial Skriatok.jpg

Castle Run - Orava

Orava Castle was introduced in the sixth episode of the documentary series about Slovak castles called Castle Run. The project aims to raise awareness of our country worldwide. Slovakia has many remarkable castles and castle ruins. Therefore, guys from the Born to Trick group decided to present castles as creative background for tricking, dancing, parkour and workout. And Orava Castle, as it is one of the most significant heritage sites in our country, could not be missing.

Fairytale film Láska na vlásku

At the royal castle, Prince Matej feels like a prisoner. His father forces him to get engaged with the unloved princess Beatrix. One day, Matej accidentally meets a wanderer Tomas - his identical double. The boys exchange their clothes and agree on trying to experience one day living the life of the other. In the morning, Matej is falsely accused of theft and jailed. Tomas is forced to stay in the castle. However he tries to persuade everyone that he is not the right one, no one believes him. Both boys have to face an unknown world. They must learn to be mature and responsible for their decisions. As a reward, they will find true love.

Upírov návrat (The Return of a Vampire) – documentary

This documentary, produced by Žilina Television, provides interesting information about the film Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror. Certain film sequences that took place in Transylvania in the scenario, were actually filmed in Slovakia. Dracula´s Castle is represented by Orava Castle. Some of the local people participated as extras in smaller film roles. Not surprisingly, an indisputable similarity between the film and Stoker´s novel soon let to a legal case. The studio lost the case with Bram Stoker´s widow and her lawyers. According to the court decision, the original version plus all copies were supposed to be discarded. This, however, failed, because number of copies had already been distributed all over the world. Somehow, they found their way into many countries and the film won great reputation.