CANNON fire opened the tourist season at Strečno Castle, near Žilina, on May 1. The central theme of this year’s celebration will be the 400th anniversary of the birth of Žofia Bosniaková and her message to current generations. This Slovak noblewoman was famed for her care of the poor and ill, and also because her body had been preserved in an excellent, almost mummified, state for centuries after her death until it was destroyed recently in a bizarre act of vandalism .
“The memory of her kindness and good heart which survived for four centuries, has been the core idea of the whole programme and the whole season 2009,” said Boris Schubert, head of the Považie Regional Museum in Žilina.
Scenes from Bosniaková’s life were presented by the informal theatre association Dúha (Rainbow) at the season opening. Visitors to Strečno castle were also able to play the part of wedding guests at Žofia’s nuptials to Fraňo Vešeléni, the recreation of which was staged in the castle’s main courtyard by the dance group Saltarello from Bratislava. The Terra de Selinan Guild meanwhile prepared a medieval reception for all guests.
In the rooms of the southern wing, visitors toured the site of Žofia’s poorhouse and learned about her care of orphans and the ill. They also heard facts about the birth of Žofia’s first son, Adam, from an actor playing her talkative maid, Agneša. Finally, they could witness the scene of Žofia’s illness and death in the local chapel. A medieval doctor was also on hand with advice, as was an elderly herbalist. The air of life at the castle was further enhanced by fencers and bowmen, again from the Terra de Selinan Guild. There was also a firing display with period firearms.
An exhibition, Žofia – a Saint from Strečno, will be on public show at the castle until May 15, the SITA newswire reported.
11. May 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports