The importance of Juraj Jánošík (1688 - 1713) to Slovak folklore cannot be overstated. Countless songs, musicals and poems feature his exploits, and his garb appears on folk memorabilia and at folk festivals throughout Slovakia. The influence of the man who is often described to English-speakers as a "Slovak Robin Hood," even extends to neighboring Poland.
"Some Polish people think that Jánošík was born in their country," says Pavlina Jančová, who runs Terchová's museum.
Most details of Jánošík's life come from court proceedings of his trial in Liptovský Mikuláš, which resulted in the decision that he be hanged by his left ribs at the age of 25.
In the early years of the 18th century, Jánošík served on both sides of the uprising against Habsburg rule led by Ferenc Rákóczi. While a guard at Bytča castle, Jánošík befriended TomášUhorčík- the imprisoned leader of a gang of highway robbers. When Uhorčík escaped from Bytča, he visited Jánošík in Terchová and persuaded him to join his band of merry men.
After Uhorčík decided to change his name, marry and settle down, Jánošík took over as the group's leader. Soon after, however, Jánošík was caught while visiting Uhorčík and both were taken to Liptovský Mikuláš for trial.
Pavlina Jančová hints at the reason why Jánošík is so important to Slovaks: "Although Jánošík only carried out 12 robberies, it is thought by many that he was organizing a large army to revolt against the feudal lords. After his death, they found a large horde of weapons and military clothing, gathered and hidden for future use."
Sights & Sounds Travel Tips
Take the express trains which run frequently from either Bratislava or Košice to Žilina. From Bratislava - Cost both ways: 236 Sk. Time: 2-3 hours. From Košice - Cost both ways: 276 Sk. Time: 3-4 hours. Once you arrive in Žilina, take a bus to Terchová. Cost both ways: 36 Sk. Make sure you leave Terchová by 20:30.
Accommodation and food
Hotel options are limited in Terchová. The Penzión Covera (089/695 263) has rooms for 200 Sk per person per night but fills up quickly. The only other hotel is the Jánošík (089/695 185), which is to be avoided if at all possible but has plenty of rooms at 120 Sk per person.
The best bet is to try one of the privát/zimmer frei signs in the village, at around 120-200 Sk per person. Some may provide food too. The hotel Diery (089/695 322/3 is situated 2 km out of the village on the road to Zázrivá, at the entrance to Jánošíkove diery.
If you can't get food with your accommodation, the Penzión Covera has a small restaurant, but it's the only one in the village and gets busy quickly - get there early!
In Vrátna dolina there are many more options:
Hotel Boboty, 089/695 227/8
Chata pod skalnym mestom, 089/695 363
Chata na Grúni, 089/695 324
Chata vo Vyhnanej, 089/695 343
Chata Vrátna, 089/695 223
Slovenská Kartografia numbers 11 or 12 are useful; as is a local map with plan of Terchová, which is available at the newsstand in the center of the village.
The chairlift from Vrátna chata to Chleb runs all year round and is 30 Sk one way. The other lifts depend on how much snow is around.
Although it is not indicated anywhere, it is recommended that Jánošík's holes be tackled from top to bottom (i.e. starting from Terchová); they are not for those of faint heart or those wearing the wrong type of footwear.
Allow plenty of time - the lower holes are easier; the more attractive but demanding upper holes can be avoided by taking the orange path to Štefanová. The red path to the summit of Veľky Rozsutec is closed from October to March/April.
The Považie Museum is dedicated largely Jánošík, but it also documents the history and customs of the village. Open from 8:00 until 16:00, Tuesday through Sunday, the museum can be phoned at 089/962 56. If you find it closed during designated open hours, the curator lives at 484 Vrat˙eanská ulica.
27. Oct 1995 at 0:00 | Paul Kaye and Jana Bernátová