The city of Žilina, in cooperation with partners, each year organizes cultural events which have become a part of the city’s atmosphere. Many of its residents and visitors today can no longer imagine Žilina without the Old Town Festivals or without the Žilina Summer of Culture, favoured perhaps by all generations. Some of the regular events now have their own long years of tradition, while others are still building it and acquiring their own circle of enthusiasts.
Among the events which the majority of Žilina residents look forward to are the Old Town Festivals. This is the largest cultural event in Žilina and in northern Slovakia. Among the other events which are also an inherent part of the city, we can include the Central European Festival of Concert Art, the Žilina Puppet Festival, Carneval Slovakia Žilina, the Žilina Summer of Culture, Fest Anča, Medieval Day, Jašidielňa, Žilina Days of Health and others. Fans of the creative arts can visit the Museum of Art Žilina, while the Gallery Plusmínusnula is the creation of a young generation of creative artists, and Galéria M is focused on the sale of creative works and exhibitions.
You can also choose from several museums in Žilina. You’ll find the Považie Museum in Žilina in the grounds of Budatín Castle, and in the building of the former orthodox synagogue is the Museum of Jewish Culture. You’ll find the first private museum exhibition in the Lombardini House on the street Horný val. The oldest professional puppet theatre in Slovakia is the Žilina Puppet Theatre, while a Town Theatre also operates.
Fans of classical music certainly know the State Chamber Orchestra Žilina. You also have the opportunity in the city of using the services of the Regional Library, which houses a British Centre as well as collections of the French Alliance and Goethe Institute.
Each year the largest Shrovetide festival in Slovakia takes place in Žilina under the name of Carneval Slovakia Žilina. Throughout the entire event the streets of the city centre are full of masked figures, spectres, monsters and other creatures that are dancing, singing and having fun.
During the summertime many events that are a part of the Žilina Summer of Culture are held on Marian Square and on Andrej Hlinka Square. Visitors from different countries can enjoy entertainment in the form of concerts, theatrical performances, film screenings for all age categories as well as the exhibitions of creative artists.
The Old Town Festivals are the largest cultural event in Žilina and all of Slovakia. The history of this event began in September of 1995 with the name the Žilina folk arts and artistic crafts markets. It has had its present name of Old Town Festivals since 1997, from its third year of being held.
The international festival of animated films Fest Anča was held for the first time in 2008 and since then it is an inseparable part of the Žilina Summer of Culture. The places of holding the event are traditionally the Žilina-Záriečie Station, the Ster Century Cinemas, the New Synagogue, the Museum of Art Žilina and the Artforum Library.
The main idea of holding the event Medieval Day was to organize a thematic folk entertainment. Because Žilina is a significant historical city with a rich history from the medieval period, the selection of the main idea of the event was not difficult.
Christmas markets and the welcoming of St. Nicholas annually enliven the pre-Christmas atmosphere in the city centre. The rich Christmas decorations also contribute to the feel of advent in the air.
The Museum of Art Žilina originated in 1976 with its independence from the Považie Museum. At its beginnings it was oriented primarily on the medium of drawings and through regular exhibitions it presented contemporary Slovak drawing.
The museum prepares several cultural-educational events each year, among which are, for example, the Tinkering Festival, the Castle Games of Žofia Bosniaková, Rajecká Anča (rides on historical trains), the Budatín Square, and a night time tour of Strečno Castle.
The Záriečie Station is located in the original building of the old but still functional Žilina-Záriečie railway station. It is a cultural space in which people reflect, create and educate. The operator of the Station is the civic association Truc sphérique.
The oldest professional puppet theatre in Slovakia thus set off on the road of experimental searching for new possibilities of synthetic expression in a puppet theatre, with the aim of putting in a good word for new forms for children and youth.
The Žilina Town Theatre originated on 1 January 1992 after a long break and has become the first professional theatre in Slovakia which has not fallen under the authority of the administrator the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.
The State Chamber Orchestra Žilina originated in 1974 as the only orchestra of the Mozart type in Slovakia, and it remains so today. In a short time it has obtained a significant position not only in Slovakia, but also abroad. It was a festival orchestra at the Salzburger Festspiele, for which it obtained international acknowledgement in 1977.
The first year of the Valentine’s Day event at Lietava Castle was 2009, and the event has been held every year since. The idea of organizing a Valentine’s Day event at Lietava Castle came from the Association for the Preservation of Lietava Castle.