In Žilina and its surrounding villages are many places where the past is linked with the present. The significance of some of the landmarks reaches beyond the borders of Slovakia and draws the interest of visitors to the city.
The first written mention of Žilina is from the year 1208. Among the important written documents are the Žilina Book (1378) and the document Privilegium Pro Slavis (1381).
The centre of the city today contains an urban landmark reservation, the core of which is Marian Square with its typical burghers’ homes. In the middle of the square stands a Marian Column from the year 1738. Žilina has three churches in its centre which are among the dominant architectural features of the city. The Rosenfeld Palace, from the beginning of the 20th century, is an important secession landmark that recalls the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. Opposite it is the Neologic Synagogue, considered by experts to be a unique building landmark. The Art House Fatra, the former Grand Bio Univerzum, is also a work of secession architecture. In 1921 the premiere of the first Slovak film, Jánošík, took place here.
Several castles – Strečno, Old Castle, Lietava, Hričov, Súľov and Budatín – are located in the surroundings of Žilina. Some of them have today fallen into ruin, while others have been reconstructed or are currently undergoing renovation. In addition to the castles the manor house Lietava Lúčka is worthy of attention. The administrative building of the Považie Museum in the grounds of Budatín Castle is the seat of the Považie Museum in Žilina. Its primary mission is to document the history of tinkering, and it also specializes in the history of transport. We can consider the Church of St. Stephen the King, located in the Dolné Rudiny part of the city, as the oldest landmark in Žilina. Experts date its origin to the beginning of the 13th century. Of particular value are the decorations on its walls, the oldest frescoes being nearly 800 years old.
Žilina‘s town centre consists of two squares: Andrej Hlinka Square and St. Mary’s Square which, with the adjacent streets, were declared an Urban Protected Area in 1987. There are several historical buildings that deserve your attention.
Near the centre of Žilina, we recommend that you visit the oldest monument in the town – the Church of St. Stephen the King located in the district of Dolné Rudiny, the Považské Museum in Žilina - in the area of Budatín castle and the most westerly wooden church in Slovakia, the Church of St. George in the district of Trnové.
The history of Žilina is closely associated with inhabitants of Jewish origin, periodically from the second half of the 19th century to the 40s of the 20th century. Jews significantly affected the city face and its events during the time interval in approximately one hundred years.
Functionalism is a modern architectural style, which derives shape from function. Unlike previous historicist styles, functionalism is exempt from excess decoration and ornamentation. Žilina was one of the main centres where modern architecture was created in Slovakia.
You know the history of the Marianske square home? Did you know for example, that townhouse 6 Žilina pharmacy was known as "The Golden Eagle" and townhouse 9 were collected for women "light morals"? History of individual houses at Marianske square can be found on the interactive map, which brings in this section.