State Archive in Bytča

State Archive in BytčaState Archive in Bytča

The State Archive is situated in the Renaissance Palace in Bytča, established by the Decree No. 29/1954 Coll. on archives. The archive currently manages over 600 funds and collections between  the years 1263 - 2008. The territorial competence of the archive - territory (central Považie, Kysuce, Rajecká Valley, Orava, Liptov and Turiec) rich in historical events, was a valuable resource  for the archive. Among the most extensive and valuable belong the funds from  the historical counties of Trenčín (1481-1931), Turiec (1486-1922), Orava (1582-1922) and Liptov (1391-1922), four funds from  public service committees of these counties (1876-1918), 22 district office funds  (1849-1922) from their territory. The later  period is represented by the funds from  the Podtatranská county and Považská county between the years 1923-1926, the Tatras and Trenčín county from 1940-1945, and finally documents from the Regional National Committee in Žilina (1949-1960). From  justice administration are  the significant court funds from the  Bach’s era – as it came to be known, documents from the Regional Courts in Ružomberok and Trenčín (1871-1949), the Regional Court in Žilina (1949-1960) and the Regional Attorney Office in Žilina (1949-1960) amongst others.

The  archives of feudal estates, family archives, registers

A collection consisting  of the  archives of 12 feudal estates and 81 family archives is a very valuable and rich resource indeed. Particular attention is due to the estates of  Bytča - Strečno (1592-1950), Gbeľany (1618-1943), Lednica (1575-1946), Považská Bystrica (1667-1912), Pruské (1330-1937), Teplička (1737-1912) and Orava compossessorate (1442-1945). Church archives are represented  mainly  by  documents from the  Franciscan monasteries in Pruské (1607-1950) and Žilina (1701-1945) and a collection of church registers, which consists of  over  1400 volumes of registers from 1628 - 1955.
Registers provide a rich source of data for genealogical exploration, as well as the  study of regional history. In the collection is stored one of the oldest registers in Slovakia. It is the Register of the Roman Catholic parish office in Bytča, stored here  since 1628 and which includes very valuable information about the Evangelic High School in Bytča. Of special significance are  registers  for the administration of the state and non-state forests, but also written accounts  and estate archives  regarding a variety of important people  that the archive has obtained through  its current acquisition activities. The latest collection of funds is being created from the archives of economic/business organizations (water companies, construction companies, research institutes, engineering, companies and  trading companies  amongst others), that  ceased their operations due to liquidation or bankruptcy.

Exceptional of the archive documents
Each archive  document is exceptional and  unique in every sense. Nevertheless, many of them are for various  reasons  more significant than others. The funds of the Bytča archive has a rich representation of such unique documents. For example, the Liptov  Register from 1391, which relates to the fraudulent activities of  Ján Literát of Madočany and is one of the oldest monuments of county literature in existence. The Slovak document referring to the landlord of Lednice, Bielik, from 1435, is significant from a linguistic perspective.Several family armales (family coat of arms) – Jakabházi (1557), Dubovský (1599), Lamoš (1600) and other families, are remarkable, in their execution. Among the more  curious documents belong the diaries of the Palatine George Thurzo and his son Imrich from 1596-1617. They contain various matters of interest, such as information on the earthquake  that shook  Bytča on 8th November  1607. Of particular  European importance is the correspondence addressed to George Thurzo and his family members. The senders of these  letters included the very learned and aristocracy from both home or abroad;  for example  university professors in Wittenberg, the Saxon Earl John George, the Earl Ernest of Austria, Gabriel Bethlen and others. There are  also carefully  preserved letters personally written by the "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory.

Document about lawsuit with Jánošík, card which was written of Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav...
In the "Urbár" - a land register recording land and estate ownership - of the Lednice estate there are records of the  devastation of the Púchov Valley by the Turks in 1663, as well as references to the Czech and Moravian exiles after the battle of White Mountain. Among the rarities of the archive we can include  the minutes of the Liptov county from 1710-1714, which records the lawsuit against  Jánošík in March 1713. A coloured military map from 1742, showing the Považie region between Žilina and Trenčín, which is most surprising in its detail.  From the numerous unique documents of periods following  the collapse of feudalism, those deserving of mention include: The demands of the Slovak nation (1848), preserved in a contemporary print form, An invitation to the Memorandum  Assembly in Martin (1861), Articles and regulations of Živena (1869), Minutes from the II. General Assembly of Matica Slovenská (1864), Documents on the abolition of Slovak grammar schools (1875). Among the exceedingly  rare documents belongs a photo album of the Svatojánsky family  from Liptovský Ján, which contains photographs from 1861 and is beautifully bound in an oak wood cover.  A very precious card also exists, which was personally written by the Slovak national poet Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav in 1920; there are of course  numerous articles of interest besides these.

The  archive reading Room  is utilized  by both  domestic and foreign researchers. To assist  orientation in the archive, guides, lists, inventories, and catalogues relating  to each processed fund are used. Visitors  are free to use the archive reference library, which contains over 12 thousand volumes on  history, archival science, auxiliary historical sciences, law, regional religious history, philosophy, sociology, geography, demography, linguistics and so on. The archive also organizes field trips, during which visitors can learn more interesting information about the history of the castle and the archive. This  lecture is combined with unique archival samples.  The Reading Room is open to the public on weekdays from Monday to Thursday from 8.00 to 15.30. On Friday it is closed.

distanceDistance from Žilina: 19,4 km

Source: PhDr. Jana Kurucárová

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