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HISTORY TALKS..

A mountain haven for bandits

THE VACATION VILLAGE of Oravice, whose roots go back to 1608, lies north of the Západné Tatry (Western Tatras) mountain range. In that year, the owner of Orava Castle, Juraj Thurzo, began to colonise the heavily-forested region.

THE VACATION VILLAGE of Oravice, whose roots go back to 1608, lies north of the Západné Tatry (Western Tatras) mountain range. In that year, the owner of Orava Castle, Juraj Thurzo, began to colonise the heavily-forested region.

The first settlement, Bystrá, was founded in 1643 but the lord of the castle, Štefan Thököly, dispersed the settlement after 16 years because most of the settlers, due to the harsh living conditions, earned their living through poaching and banditry. The territory lost almost its entire population, a development which was welcomed by the town of Tvrdošín as the lord allowed its citizens to continue to graze cattle in the area, scythe grass and harvest wood. Tvrdošín did not, however, begin a new settlement in the area and it remained virtually uninhabited until in the 19th century.

Increased interest in this beautiful area caused a minor building boom in the 1930s when 15 family vacation homes were built.

But at the beginning of 1945, Oravice stood on World War II’s eastern front for nine weeks and all its buildings were levelled except for the chapel.

This postcard dating back to 1950s shows the meadows of this region framed by the Magura mountains.

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