Považská Bystrica

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Považská Bystrica
PB mozaika.jpg
Coat of Arms
Country Slovakia
Region Trenčín
District Považská Bystrica
River Váh
Elevation 288 m (945 ft)
Coordinates 49°06′50″N 18°26′30″E / 49.11389°N 18.44167°E / 49.11389; 18.44167Coordinates: 49°06′50″N 18°26′30″E / 49.11389°N 18.44167°E / 49.11389; 18.44167
Area 90.555 km2 (35 sq mi)
Population 41,697 (2009-12-31[1])
Density 466/km2 (1,207/sq mi)
First mentioned 1316
Mayor Karol Janas
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 017 01
Phone prefix 421-42
Car plate PB
Location in Slovakia
Location in Slovakia
Location in the Trenčín Region
Location in the Trenčín Region
Wikimedia Commons: Považská Bystrica
Statistics: MOŠ/MIS
Website: http://www.povazska-bystrica.sk

Považská Bystrica (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈpoʋaʃskaː ˈbistritsa]; German: Waagbistritz; Hungarian: Vágbeszterce) is a town in northwestern Slovakia. It is located on the Váh river, around 30 km from the city of Žilina. It belongs to Upper Váh region of tourism.


Veľký Manín mountain

Považská Bystrica is situated in a fold of mountain ranges Strážovské vrchy (1213 m) and Javorníky (1071 m a.s.l.). Mountains offer an attractive experience to trekkers and mountain-bikers in summer season, cross-country and skiing opportunities in winter season. Veľký Manín mountain (890 m a.s.l.) dominates the town skyline providing views from most places in the town. On the hill next to the town on the opposite side of the river Váh lies the ruins of Považský hrad castle with two manor houses beneath, to which the town's history is closely bounded.

Another popular tourist attraction close to the town is a breath-taking canyon Manínska tiesňava. Canyon splits Veľký and Malý Manín mountains. It is an internationally sought-after place-to-die for rock climbers. It is also less known as one of the filming sites for The NeverEnding Story (film) in 1984. Just a few kilometers away lies another highly challenging reef formation: Súľovské skaly. To sum it up one of the most famous Slovak spas Rajecké Teplice lies about 20 km from the town, few kilometres closer are the youngest spas in Slovakia in Nimnica. Town has mostly postmodern architecture meaning that most of the pre-20th-century buildings were replaced in the 1960s and 1980s.

Motorway viaduct above the town

Považská Bystrica lies on the major traffic route Bratislava - Žilina causing many traffic jams in the recent years. The motorway viaduct was built through the narrowest segment of the town, which was opened on 31, May 2010.

Považská Bystrica has one twin town Rožnov pod Radhoštěm in the Czech Republic.


Ruins of Považský hrad castle above the town

The roots of the settlement of the town roots to Baden culture, also Celtic coins were found on the castle cliff supporting the presence of previous settlers. However, the first written reference to the town comes from 1316, in connection with Matthew III Csák. The next known reference about Považská Bystrica is dated 13 July 1330. In 1432, the town was burned by Hussite troops. The history of the town is very closely connected with the nearby Považský hrad castle, built in the 13th century. The most famous owners of the Bystrica castle and the land were knights Ján and Rafael Podmanitzky, known for their robberies. The family of Podmanicki became rulers of the town in 1458, when King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary donated the castle, the town and 16 surrounding villages to Ladislav Podmanitzky. During their reign, which lasted almost 100 years, the town was flourishing. This was supported by important document Articulli Podmanitzkiani, which stated the statute of the town and establishing old Slovak language the only official language among congildones. Such a statute of usage of language did not have any town except Považská Bystrica and Varín.

Tombstone of Rafael Podmanitzky.
Seal from the 17th century.

As an example of the language could be used engraving on the tombstone of Rafael Podmanitzky in the Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Považská Bystrica.

The next one hundred years were hard for the town and the region, because of upheavals of several Hungarian noblemen. The town was plundered by troops of Stephen Bocskay (1604), Imre Thököly (1679), Bereczényi and Očkay (1707). Despite the hard times, the town obtained more and more privileges from Hungarian kings during the period, and it had a significantly higher status than the surrounding countryside. This ended in 1886, when a new Hungarian legislation canceled all the privileges.

In 1918, the town became part of the Czechoslovak republic. In 1929, an ammunition plant Roth transferred its production from Bratislava to Považská Bystrica, which significantly improved the employment situation. Starting in 1937 and continuing until 1945 rifles (vz.24 and K98k) and small arms ammunition were manufactured here. After World War II the munitions factory at Považská Bystrica continued to produce weapons and ammunition for both the military and for commercial purposes.

Since World War II, and especially in the 1970s and 1980s, the town grew significantly. New residential areas were built around the tiny town center. The town center itself was re-built completely, therefore you can hardly find any historical buildings there now. The main employer since the second world war was the engineering plant Považské strojárne. The plant mainly manufactured scooters and industrial bearings. Since the end of socialism, the company has not prospered. This has caused increased unemployment.


According to the 2001 census, the town had 42,733 inhabitants. 97.72% of inhabitants were Slovaks and 1.01% Czechs.[2] The religious make-up was 81.10% Roman Catholics, 12.18% people with no religious affiliation, and 2.56% Lutherans.[2]

Interesting places[edit]

Places of history[edit]

Coins found on the castle cliff, dated to the first century BC.

Považský hrad[edit]

Považský hrad is a landmark of the town and witness of the history (e.g., Celtic coins were found on the castle cliff). It went through many reconstructions, therefore it represents many different architectural movements. The towers of the town were accepted as the symbols to the coat of arms of the town. Nowadays some minor works are done on the castle by voluntary organization Zdruzenie hradu Bystrica, but castle needs more complex reconstruction.


The Burg was built in the first half of the 17th century, and is representative of Slovak renaissance culture.

Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Povazska Bystrica[edit]

The Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Povazska Bystrica is the main church in the town, situated in the heart of the town gives the crossection between 14th-century architecture and the architecture of the first half of the 20th century in Slovakia. It was built by Ján Podmanitzky, the owner of the castle in gothic style. In 1913-1914 the tower of the church was covered with baroque "onion like" construction. From the original buildings only the presbytery and the northern perimetric wall still stand. Major reconstruction and enlarging began in 1940. Church's windows are filled with colourful stained glass filling created by Slovak artist Vincent Hložník and his wife Viera Hložníková in 1951. In front of the church is a sandstone statue of saint Mary to which church is dedicated. Inside are epitaphs of Zigmund Balassa, Alzbeta Zborovska, tombstone of Rafael Podmaintzky remains of caryatids and the depiction of the old town on the Balassa tombstone.

Orlove manor house[edit]

Manor house Orlove

Orlovsky kastiel, a baroque style building, was a museum, in the premises used to be a Civic Museum. It is build in part of the town called Orlove. In the interior of the manor, in a chapel, there are many baroque facilities (e.g., Organ, Pulpit, Altar). It has been closed for several years.

Kalvaria Povazska Bystrica[edit]

Kalvaria in Povazska Bystrica was mostly destroyed during socialist era. It has 11 stops leading to the main Chapel of Saint Magdalene on the top of the hill. Last reconstruction of the monument was done in 1937. In spite of its present state it is a part of national heritage. In the chapel of Saint Magdalene there were the statues of Jesus and two men on the hill Golgota, but because of the situation statues were moved to the main town church.

Manor Povazske Podhradie[edit]

Száparyovský kaštieľ is a rococo style building with granary and system of outbuildings, below the castle. A chapel was built inside between 1763-1764. Chapel was reconstructed in 1960. In the interior of the manor house were rococo paintings, stone coats of arms.

Chapel of Saint Helena[edit]

Chapel of Saint Helena in Považská Bystrica

The Chapel of Saint Helena was built in 1728 by count Peter Szaparay on the hill above the town, is surrounded by lindens of which one is more than 250 years old. The chapel was robbed and became a ruin until it was renewed in the 1990s.

Kostol Svateho Ladislava[edit]

Kostol Sv. Ladislava

Kostol sv. Ladislava v Povazskom Podhradi is the last fourth member of the four historical buildings build nearby the castle, creating the panorama of Povazske Podhradie. It was built in the 19th century.In the premises of the church is statue of John of Nepomuk, which was coincidentally brought to Povazske Podhradie on abandoned flatboat during floods in 1784. After the floods the statue was placed on the place of its founding with five lindens around. However, after some time lindens grew together forming one massive linden-tree. From this point people started to idolize the linden with the statue as a wonder of nature until the linden was cut down during the building of new manmade basin of the river Vah.


Manínska tiesňava[edit]

Manínska tiesňava

Manínska tiesňava is the narrowest canyon in Slovakia, lying 6 kilometres from Považská Bystrica. It is place of great tourist interest, because of its wild and rare flora and fauna. It is frequently visited by rock climbers.

Modern architecture[edit]


Opening day of the Estakáda viaduct

The Motorway viaduct, due to its size, conception and short time of building, can be counted between the top structures of civil engineering in Slovakia. On 31 May 2010 the town viaduct was opened for traffic use.


Administrative building of executive agencies (ABŠO)[edit]

The Administrative building ABŠO in Považská Bystrica is one of the most important buildings from the remarkably prolific period of the 1960s that united the then typical figure of office buildings and hotels with an original technical design and lightened construction and shell of the building. It surpassed the Slovak context and was in the given period unique at least in the context of Czechoslovakia.[3] It is part of the programme for recovery and protection of modern architecture heritage Docomomo

Building of RVP (Tatra banka building)[edit]

The Building of Tatra banka is one of the few traces left of old town centre which was demolished in seventies. It is the most important example of interwar modern architecture building in town. It is included in the list of monuments of the town.[4]


Považská Bystrica has 9 boroughs. 75% of population live in the town, most of them in the apartment blocks. 25% of the population live in the villages. Boroughs:

  • Centrum
  • Dedovec
  • Hliny
  • Kolónia
  • Lány
  • Rozkvet
  • Stred
  • SNP
  • Zákvašov

Villages near Považská Bystrica: Dolny and Horny Milochov, Jelšové, Industrial zone, Šuvarovce.

Other settlements within the district: Belažská Kopanica, Cingelov laz, Dvorského laz, Galanovce, Chodnické, Krekáčov laz, Líškovie laz, Matúšsky laz, Rybárikov laz, Tomankovci a Trnovie laz.

Notable people[edit]


In the town there are working some small local organizations trying to influence it

  • Bystricykel[5]
  • Zdruzenie hradu Bystrica[6]


External links[edit]

360° views[edit]