Turany, Bölleny? Slovak ox wins

TURANY, a village in the Turiec region, is one of the oldest settlements in the territory of today’s Slovakia. It seems that its long history is suggested also by its name - tur, an ancient type of ox that lived in the surrounding woods but became extinct in the early Middle Ages.

TURANY, a village in the Turiec region, is one of the oldest settlements in the territory of today’s Slovakia. It seems that its long history is suggested also by its name - tur, an ancient type of ox that lived in the surrounding woods but became extinct in the early Middle Ages.

Turany was accorded the privileges of a town in 1397 - a sign that it had considerable wealth and prosperity. In 1715, it even became the largest town in the Turiec region with 540 inhabitants.

Chronicles from 1906 reveal an interesting fact: In times of fierce Magyarisation, a high-ranking Hungarian officer came with a proposition to change the town’s name, at that time Turáň, to the Hungarian word Bölleny, also meaning ox. The obstinate Slovaks responded by making the town’s name sound even more Slovak - Turany. The Slovaks were obviously victorious in the linguistic battle, as the town’s name has remained unchanged ever since.

This postcard from the 1920s shows a drawing of a church in Turany by Janko Alexy. The Church of Saint John the Baptist was built between 1300 and 1304 on the ruins of a more ancient sanctuary. Its most precious treasure is the Gothic altar allegedly brought to Turany on a raft from the village of Spišská Kapitula.


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