It belongs among the largest Slovak castles. Its origins date from the late 13th century. The castle was most likely built by the Balaš family. At the end of the 15th century, the owner of the castle was Pavel Kiniži, who oversaw its most extensive rebuilding. The last major owner of the castle was George Thurzo.
The spa town Rajecké Teplice is located in the southern part of the Rajec Basin. The history of the spa town dates back to 1376. Nowadays the spa offers not only therapeutic, but also relaxation and wellness services. A stroll around Swan lake with its fountains and rock creations is particularly pleasant.
Rajec is the oldest settlement in the Rajecká valley. The oldest written historical mention of Rajec dates back to the 12th century. In the Middle Ages, Rajec was an important centre of craft life. Among the most important monuments of Rajec belongs its quadrilateral square with the old Town Hall and the Church of Saint Ladislav (Ladislaus).
Since 1993, the Municipal Museum Rajec has been housed in a burgher’s house, which used to serve as a brewery. There are two permanent exhibitions - one of natural science and the other an ethnographic exhibition. The ethnographic exhibition is devoted to the history and craft traditions of the town, the natural science exhibition is divided according to habitats into three separate units.
The village of Rajecká Lesná is a famous pilgrimage place of national importance. In the village, we recommend that you visit - the movable wooden Slovak Bethlehem, unique in the world, as well as the Basilica of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Frivald Calvary.
The picturesque village of Čičmany, with the highest altitude in the Žilina district (655 m), is located near the source of the River Rajčianka in the Strážov Hills. The first historical mention of the village dates back to 1272. The village is renowned for its ancient and unique architecture.
The castle with corner towers, arcades and terraces with an external staircase was built by Count Ballestrém in 1914-1916. The facilities of the castle were very modern and comfortable for that period. During the SNP (Slovak National Uprising), the castle was set on fire. Since its reconstruction in 1959, it has been used for medical purposes.
The movable wooden Slovak Bethlehem is a masterpiece by Jozef Pekara, a carver native to Rajecké Teplice. It took the skilled master more than 15 years to create the original, unique Bethlehem. It is situated in the pilgrimage village of Rajecká Lesná.
Považské Museum in Žilina manages two buildings of folk architecture in Čičmany. In Raden’s house there is an exhibition dedicated to folk customs, folklore and the typical embroidery of Čičmany. In House no. 42 is installed an exhibition of typical folk-lifestyle from the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries.