Over a hundred years ago, in this area on the sloping terraces above the river Váh there was a cemetery, rectory and parish garden encircled by a stone wall. The wall was demolished in 1869 to improve the pathway between the church and the school, situated where the theatre now is. It was the only direct pathway leading from the square through Burianova medzierka to what is now Pivovarská Street. Once the Košice-Bohumín railway had been built, proper access from the station to the main square was required. This did not happen until 1912, when the Parish Steps were built. In 1912, the slope below the church at the former cemetery had to be reinforced, and so the retaining walls were built. The construction work was completed in 1921. An extensive two-level terrace with two sets of steps and a paved footpath were built. The terrace had a stone balustrade running around it, and later stone columns were built and electric lighting was added and a flower garden and fountain added a splash of colour. The result was a new architectural masterpiece that undoubtedly improved the aesthetics of the surrounding area.
From 1941 to 1944 the mayor of Žilina, Vojtech Tvrdý, had the terraces rebuilt in the form that they are today. They were designed by architect Otto Reichner. The new two-level terraces are lent character by two stone staircases with railings and round holes reinforcing the walls and retaining the slope. On the upper level, there is carved a relief of Žilina’s Baroque coat of arms, used in 1683. The new terraces are wider than the original ones and come to an end directly under the town theatre near Grosmann house on Pivovarská Street. Previously there had been steps between the house and the balustrade.
When southern Slovakia was occupied by fascist Hungary in October 1939, a statue of the Roman Catholic priest and linguist, Anton Bernolák, by the sculptor Joseph Pospisil was brought to Žilina from the occupied town of Nové Zámky. It was erected on an enormous stone pedestal on the lower terrace. During the reconstruction of the balustrade from 1941 to 1945 the statue was placed in front of the secondary school on Hurbanova Street. Once the occupation of Nové Zámky had ended, the statue was returned. A "Slovak National Uprising" relief by the Žilina sculptor Ladislav Berák was installed below the terraces in 1979. It was moved to the Soviet Army Military Cemetery at Malý diel after 1990. In the 1960s the terraces were partially reconstructed because the travertine blocks had fallen into disrepair and a side entrance from the Parish Steps was built.
On the lower terrace almost exactly where the statue of Anton Bernolák used to be, there is currently a bronze statue of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, which was ceremonially unveiled on 20 December 2000. This statue was also sculpted by Ladislav Berák. The four-metre high bronze statue stands on a pedestal lined with purple granite, inscribed: "The town of Žilina dedicates this memorial in gratitude to the holy apostles of Cyril and Methodius as a permanent reminder of their blessed work in spreading God's Word among our ancestors, as the basis of spiritual and moral uplifting, and the Christian and national awareness of our ancestors, but also among us, our contemporaries and followers. In the Year of Our Lord 2000, Ján Slota, Mayor of Žilina." The "balustrade" and Holy Trinity Cathedral are the most famous landmark in the town.
Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský and Milan Novák
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: B4