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Slovakia celebrates 325 year anniversary of national hero Juro Jánošík

IN 2013, Slovakia will celebrate the 325 years since its national hero, the legendary outlaw Juraj Jánošík, was born, and 300 years since he was executed. Every Slovak knows the story of the bandit from Terchová, who, according to legend, made his name stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Ján Kulich - JánošíkJán Kulich - Jánošík (Source: Sme - Tomáš Benedikovič)

IN 2013, Slovakia will celebrate the 325 years since its national hero, the legendary outlaw Juraj Jánošík, was born, and 300 years since he was executed. Every Slovak knows the story of the bandit from Terchová, who, according to legend, made his name stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

A record showing that someone named Juraj Jánošík was baptised on January 25, 1688, can be found in the registry in Varín, the TASR newswire wrote, although his exact date of birth is unknown.

As a young man from an agrarian family, Jánošík joined the revolutionary army of nobleman František Rákoczi and later ended up in the emperor’s regular army. After his father paid for his release, Jánošík returned home and embarked on a life of banditry, eventually becoming known as the Slovak version of Robin Hood and a symbol of struggle against oppression. At 25 he was caught – allegedly due to a betrayal – tortured and sentenced to death in Liptovský Mikuláš on March 17, 1713, by hanging from a hook.

Jánošík has since become a national folk hero and a popular subject for countless writers, artists, composers and filmmakers.

In a poll conducted by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) in 2011, Jánošík ranked among the 10 most important sources of national pride in Slovakia.

Several events are planned to commemorate the anniversary, the SITA newswire wrote. In Liptovský Mikuláš, there will be an educational tour, a torture chamber and the Radošinské Naivné Divadlo ensemble will stage the play Jáánošíík. Moreover, a costume parade across the town will be organised in March, culminating in a reenactment of the hero’s execution. The local library will prepare several Jánošík-related events for children in April, and in May, the bandit will be commemorated at the traditional Night at the Museum of Janko Kráľ. Many more events are planned for the high tourist season, both in Litpovský Mikuláš and in other towns that are connected with the legendary bandit.

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