Martin: Capital of museums

Some people may think that only capital cities can be cradles of history, change and moments of national importance. Not in Slovakia. Martin , the eighth largest town in the country, has accompanied Slovak people through their pain, modest successes and in their desire for freedom.

Visitors can choose from a fine selection of museums.Visitors can choose from a fine selection of museums. (Source: Jana Maťková)

Some people may think that only capital cities can be cradles of history, change and moments of national importance. Not in Slovakia. Martin , the eighth largest town in the country, has accompanied Slovak people through their pain, modest successes and in their desire for freedom.

Martin lies in the Turiec basin in the north of Slovakia, surrounded by the hills and peaks of Malá Fatra. The town is the historical centre of the Turiec region and was the location of numerous happenings of great importance in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The town’s Matica Slovenská is a Slovak cultural institution and one of the first grammar schools. Countless historical figures have lived in Martin, including artists, scientists, politicians, writers and members of the Slovak intelligentsia. The town was one of the candidates for capital city after both World Wars, mainly for its rich cultural and political life, and in 1994 it was declared a centre of Slovak national culture. According to the Slovak National Council, only the town’s lack of economic development and “weak” infrastructure has stood in the way of the town being known as the capital.

Doctor Alireza Matloobi, who was born in Tehran with American nationality, came to Martin to attend medical school. He spent seven years in the town as a student.

“After college I lived abroad, mostly in the USA, for 12 years, but I visited Slovakia every year for Christmas, Easter and summer break,” Matloobi said. “I knew I had to come back someday… I missed Martin and Slovakia in general. Now I have finally moved to Martin. It is beautiful town… I think my new and right life is just starting.”

Martin is also known as the capital of museums, featuring six indoor museums and one open-air. The Slovak National Literary Museum presents a permanent exhibition of the history of Slovak literature from the Great Moravian Empire to Slovak realism and contemporary texts. Visitors can see facsimiles of old books and letters and even imitations of printers from the 16th century.

The three permanent exhibitions of the Ethnographical Museum show Slovak folk culture from past times to the present, divided into sections called Man and Soil, Man and Clothing and Man and Resources. Two other museums map the lives of Slovak minorities: the Museum of Czech Culture in Slovakia and the Museum of Roma Culture.

There is also a museum contained within the house of the Slovak artist Martin Benka, and dedicated to him. The curator of the collections, Anna Oláhová, said: “Pictures of Martin Benka don’t have only artistic value, they are also a sort of documentary. Through his work you can see the history, culture, clothing and lives of Slovaks.”

Art lovers should also explore the Turiec Gallery in Martin, with a permanent exhibition of works of local artists.

The best way to explore the traditions of Slovak folk culture is to visit the open-air Museum of the Slovak Village. There are 131 objects from Orava, Liptov, Turiec and Kysuce-Podjavorníky regions. Every year the museum presents 16 events in which visitors may understand Slovak habits.

“Visitors appreciate the calmness of this place,” said Jaroslava Ďurdíková, PR manager of the museum. “So far it has not been commercialised… Many of our adult and child visitors just sigh and say: 'Oh, I would like to live here.' Even despite the fact there is no water or electricity they would like to experience living here.”

The Andrej Kmeť Museum, which contains the country’s oldest collection of herbariums, butterflies and some unique medical curios, including double-headed and three-leg calves, is currently closed for reconstruction.


This article was published in the latest edition of Spectacular Slovakia , which can be obtained from our online shop.

Population: 58,228; Driving from Žilina: 30 km / 36 min.; Public transport from Žilina: , Train: 25 min., Bus: 35 min.
Divadelné námestie 1, Martin; Tel: +421 (0)43 423-8776;


Hotel Victoria (€ 70)
Tel: +421 43 430-4836
V. Žingora 9820, Martin

Hotel Turiec (€ 89)
Tel: +421 (0)43 401 2070
A. Sokolíka 2, Martin

Dining and Drinking

Pasáž (restaurant, café)
Tel: +421 (0)905 260-364
M. R. Štefánika 48, Martin

Rojo Marion
Tel: +421 (0)908 234-504
M. R. Štefánika 3, Martin; Open: Mon-Thu 8:00-23:00; Fri 8:00-4:00; Sat 11:00-4:00

Koliba 77 (restaurant)
Tel: +421 (0)908 926-510
Francúzskych partizánov, Martin – Priekopa,

Galleries and Museums

Turčianska galleria (Turiec Gallery)
Tel: +421 (0)43 422-4448
Daxnerova 2, Martin;
Open: Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00; Ticket price: € 1.50

SNM – Etnografické múzeum (Ethnographic Museum);
Tel: +421 (0)43 413-1011
Malá Hora 2, Martin; Open: Tue-Sun 9:00-17:00;
Ticket: € 2

Múzeum Martina Benku (Martin Benka Museum)
Tel: +421 (0)43 413-1390
Kuzmányho 34; Open: Tue-Fri 9:00-16:00; Sat 9:00-17:00; Ticket price: € 1

Slovenské národné literárne múzeum (Slovak National Literary Museum)
Tel: +421 (0)43 413-4036
M. R. Štefánika 11, Martin; Open: Tue-Sat 8:00-16:00; Ticket price: € 1

Múzeum kultúry Rómov na Slovensku (Museum of Roma Culture in Slovakia)
Tel: +421 (0)43 438 3294
Near Museum of the Slovak Village; Jahodnícke háje, Martin; Open: As for Museum of the Slovak Village; Ticket price: € 2

Múzeum slovenskej dediny (Museum of the Slovak Village);;
Tel: +421 (0)43 423-9491
Jahodnícke háje, Martin; Open: Nov.-Apr. Tue-Fri, Sun 10:00-14:30; May-June Tue-Sun 9:00-18:00; July-Aug. daily 9:00-18:00; Sep.-Oct. Tue-Sun 9:00-17:00; Ticket price: € 2

Shopping Centre

TULIP Center Martin
Tel: +421 (0)43 424-1500
Pltníky 2, Martin; Open: Mon-Sun 09:00-21:00
Tennis and Squash Centrum
Tel: +421 (0)905 554-437
V. Žingora 82, Martin Podháj

Winter Park Martinky
Tel: + 421 (0)43 430-6000
Driving from Martin: 6 km / 20 min The ski centre is located on the west side of the town of Martin (the 30km/h speed limit).

Events in the Slovak Village

February/March: Už sa fašiang kráti; Carnival with Slovak traditions;
April: Veľká noc na dedine (Easter in the Village)
May: Hasičské dni (Fire Days); Event celebrating the historical and modern techniques of firefighters
June: Turčianske folklórne slávnosti (Turiec Folk Feast)
August: Spoznajme sa (Get to Know Each Other); Habits, traditions, culture and craftwork of Roma
October:Keď sa zima opýta (When winter is asking); Traditional autumn food of the Slovak village
December: Vianoce na dedina (Christmas in the Village); Making Christmas ornaments, baking wafers, traditional Christmas meals

Cycling trails in Turiec
Vrútky - Chata at Martinské hole - Podstráne - Martin (22 km)
Vrútky - Sučany - Castle Sklabiňa - Blatnica - Mošovce -Turčianske Teplice (55 km)
Sučany - Turany - Krpeľany - Nolčovo - Pohradie (19 km)

Top stories

The Knihotaxi runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Bratislava.

‘Book Taxi’ – new service to sell old books launches

Novels need not end up in trash, says company behind scheme.

24. jun
Culture Minister Natália Milanová of OĽaNO on June 22, 2022.

New media laws could allow politicians to intervene more in output

Media ownership and funding should also become more transparent.

23. jun

News digest: Salvator pharmacy will resume its original function

Bratislava marks the 280th anniversary of Maria Theresa's coronation, what to do with unwanted books, and decommissioning a former nuclear plant might take longer than planned.

24. jun
SkryťClose ad