Personalities that brought fame to the Turiec region

The Turiec basin is the place of origin of many significant personalities famous in Slovakia and abroad that contributed to the formation of Slovak political history and became successful in culture, science and other spheres of social life. Given the wide range of personalities the Turiec villages and towns can pride themselves on being their birthplaces; it is clearly the longest route, which can be divided into several parts. It is not necessary to complete it in the proposed direction or along its entire length.

Because of good accessibility we start the route in the town of Turčianske Teplice. From here we can take the green-marked cycle route no. 5431 to Dubové village, the birthplace of the important Slovak director Andrej Lettrich His bust is situated on the building of the municipal cultural centre.

The bust of Andrej Lettrich - officially unveiled on 4th October 2008 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of his death. The bust was drawn up by the sculptor Martin Lettrich, his son.

Andrej Lettrich (1922 - 1993) - director, actor and screenwriter. His directorial debut is a film adaptation of František Hečko´s novel Drevená dedina (Wooden village) from 1954. Among his most famous director's accomplishments is film trilogy Červené víno (Red wine) the television series Alžbetin dvor (Elizabeth´s Yard) shot on the motives of the historical novel of another Turiec native, the female writer Hana Zelinová.

After returning to Turčianske Teplice we visit the Gallery of Mikuláš Galanda situated in the family house of the painter.

Mikuláš Galanda Gallery - established on 24th September 2002 in his own house. From 1991 it housed a permanent exhibition of Mikuláš Galanda´s works. On 26th February 2008 it has been opened to the public again.

Mikuláš Galanda (1895 - 1938) - painter, graphic artist and illustrator. Together with painters Martin Benka and Ľudovít Fulla promoted modern means of expression in painting which are appropriate to design the dynamic life of the 20th century. Among the highlights of his works are Matka(Mother), Stojaci ženský akt(Standing nude woman), Slovenská rodina(Slovak family) and Zbojníci( Brigands).

In Turčianske Teplice also performed and died the first vice-chairman of Matica slovenská Karol Kuzmány (1806-1866).

We continue our ride on the red-marked Turiec main cycle route (Turčianska cyklomagistrála) no. 032 to the village of Mošovce. The route will also pass along the village of Rakša (behind the Roman Catholic church of St. Michael built in 1264 with the support of the Premonstratensian order from Kláštor pod Znievom). Memorial room of Michal Miloslav Hodža / see The Slovak national history route/ can be found there. From this village also the politician Ján Ursíny (1896-1972) came. During the Slovak National Uprising he was a member of the Slovak National Council. After the World War II he became a founding member and vice-chairman of the Democratic Party. The memorial plaque situated at his birthplace reminds the locals of his life.

The village of Mošovce is famous mostly thanks to the personality of Ján Kollár. The memorial room of Ján Kollár and his statue in front the manor house confirms this fact /see The Slovak national history route/. Several leading figures of Slovak national efforts came from Mošovce. A priest, teacher and author of theological tracts Michal Institoris Mošovský (1635 - 1705), a poet, literary critic and translator Štefan Krčméry (1892 – 1955) as well as a founder of the voluntary fire brigades in Slovakia and the head of The Fire Unity of the Country (Zemská hasičská jednota), whose native house is located at the Kollárova street Miloslav Schmidt (1881 - 1934) must be mentioned. In Mošovce also lived the Lutheran pastor, poet and translator Eliáš Láni (1570 - 1618), or preacher, teacher, historian and linguist Daniel Krman (1663 - 1740), the author of the Basic Slavic Grammar (Základy slovanskej gramatiky) (1704).

Before leaving Mošovce we can visit the municipal office where the Memorial room of Frico Kafenda, its native, composer and teacher.

The Memorial room of Frico Kafenda –full of finds and documents reminding artist's life and work, including objects and furniture from his office, his music manuscripts and printed editions. It is located in the building of the municipal office and is open to the public by appointment on 043 494 41 00.

Frico Kafenda (1883 - 1963) - a native of Mošovce who studied in Vrútky, Ružomberok and Leipzig and worked as a conductor in Germany. After the First World War he returned to Slovakia where he worked as a music professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of Comenius University in Bratislava. His attempt to write the first Slovak opera was not successful because of for the outbreak of The Second World War. He composed the cycle Tri mužské zbory (Three men choirs). His piano student was another important composer Eugen Suchoň.

Following the red-marked cycle route we continue to Blatnica, the village of oil-makers and saffron peddlers. It is the birthplace of the politician Matúš Dula (1846 - 1926), the chairman of the Slovak National Party and the Slovak National Council that on 30th October 1918 adopted the Declaration of the Slovak nation. Maša Haľamová, its native and writer (1908 – 1995) came from an important family of herbal oil and medicine makers. The Siakeľovci brothers, local natives as well, in 1921 shot the first film about Jánošik that is inscribed on UNESCO´s World Heritage List. The first Slovak botanist Textorisová Izabela (1866 - 1949), who collected a rich herbarium of the Tlstá mountain surroundings, lived here as well. The House of Izabela Textorisová, where the botanist lived and served as the postal clerk is open to the public. In Blatnica it is also possible to discover the life and work of another important figure, the photographer Karol Plicka. His museum is located in the former Prónai manor house.

The Museum of Karol Plicka - the exhibition was established in 1988 in Prónai manor house, which was reconstructed for this purpose. Today it is one of eighteen specialized museums of the Slovak National Museum. The special attention is devoted to Plicka´s ability to catch the traditional folk culture of Slovakia. The libretto and the script of the permanent exhibition Plicka personally opposed.

Karol Plicka (1894 - 1987) - an artist, cinematographer, photographer and folklorist. Although Plicka is not the native of Turiec and had never visited Blatnica, he can be viewed as one of the leading figures of the region. In the 20´s of the 20th century worked as an employee in charge of ethnography. He was the founder of the archive of documentary photography. In the 80´s of the 20th century it was his initiative to establish the fund of folk culture in the Slovak National Museum in Martin. The widest space is dedicated to the photographs of Plicka. He received the first video camera from the president T.G. Masaryk, the highlight of his film carrier is film Zem spieva (the Earth is singing). He participated also in shooting of Frič´s film Jánošik (1935).

The next village, to which the red-marked Turiec main cycle route takes us, is Folkušová. Continuing further we reach the village of Necpaly. Let us mention at least three important natives of the village. The first one is Juraj Lahner (1795 - 1849), one of the generals of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 - 1849. His memorial is located in the vicinity of the Lower manor house, nowadays the private property. The plaque of Mária Hrúzová (1791 - 1849), a poet and mother of the world-wide famous Hungarian poet Sándor Petőfi, can be found in the foyer of the Lutheran church a.v. in Necpaly. While visiting the church we also recommend noticing the wooden altar Speculum justification (1611) of the Palatine Juraj Thurzo. Originally was situated in the chapel of the Orava castle. The third personality to be mentioned is Štefan Reindl († 1908) a notary, music pedagogue and collector of folk songs. In the building of his home that served as Notary is nowadays the municipal museum.

The Municipal museum and Notary in Necpaly – opened on 17th July 2009 in Reindl authentic house. The notary office insured agenda for the villages of Necpaly, Žabokreky, Belá-Dulice, Košťany nad Turcom and Turčiansky Peter. Today it is possible to see period furniture, Reindl´s typewriter, old books and other notary agenda situated in the museum.

The exhibition is open to the public on Sundays from 16:00 to 19:00.

Štefan Reindl (1867 - 1908) – was a Catholic teacher, later notary, musician, collector of folk songs and a publicist. He came from the Spiš region. Reidl published the songbook of Christmas songs, which he personally collected.

In order to obtain more information about the significant members of the Necpaly gentry we also recommend you to read the part about Necpaly in Turiec nobility section.

We continue to the village of Belá - Dulice, the birthplace of a poet, violin player, polymath, polyglot and pedagogue Michal Buľovský († 1720) and Miloš Buľovský, ethnographer and pedagogue (1849-1945). Our next stop is the village of Turčianske Jaseno. The village is connected to the significant squire family of Jesenskovci. The most significant members of the family are introduced in the permanent exhibition entitled A memorial room of the Jesenský family (Pamätnica Jesenskovcov)

A memorial room of the Jesenský family- was opened in 1996 on the occasion of the 435th anniversary of the death of Ján Jessenius. It is located in the cultural house in the part called Horné Jaseno. It is opened to the public by appointment on 0908 938269.

The exhibition contains the documents about the family members. Among them are Ján Jessenius (1566 - 1621), the first doctor who did the public autopsy in Prague, Ján Baltazár Jesenský Gašparé (1825 - 1889) an organizer of the Slovak national assembly, Ján Jesenský(1874 - 1945 ) a poet, writer, Zora Jesenská (1909 - 1972), a founder of a women´s organisation named Živena and other important representatives of this family.

Continue along the red-marked cycle route via the village of Horný Kalník, the birthplace of the writer, collector of folk songs and national revivalist Juraj Rohoň (1773-1831). The following village is Dolný Kalník passing through which we reach the village of Dražkovce. The Slovak politician, attorney and signatory to the Declaration of Martin Ján Vanovič (1856-1942) was born here.

In Dražkovce we leave the red-marked Turiec main cycle route and the green-marked route no. 5415 takes us to the town of Martin. In 2006 the Lexicon of the personalities from Martin recorded 980 entries. Consequently, to get acquainted with the most significant figures of the town is impossible within the framework of the description of this route. That is why are highly recommended the visits to the Turiec Gallery presenting the works of representatives of the Slovak modern art of the 20th century, the Slovak National Museum - Museum of Martin Benka with a collection of works of art and other documents dedicated to life and work of this important painter, graphic artist and teacher and the visit to the Slovak National Museum - Museum of Andrej Kmeť. It houses the exhibitions originally collected by this founder of the Slovak museum tradition. For more information about the most important personalities of Martin is recommended to see The Slovak national history route.

The Turiec Gallery is situated in the building of the original County House. Its permanent exhibition presents the process of formation of modern Slovak art in the first half of the 20th century. Special emphasis is laid on Martin and the Turiec region. The documents describing lives of artists such as Martin Benka (1888 - 1971), Janko Alexy (1894 - 1970), Miloš Alexander Bazovský (1899 - 1968), Mikuláš Galanda (1895 - 1938), sculptor Fraňo Štefunko (1903 - 1974) and many others are presented there.

Martin Benka Museum – arose as the gallery founded in 1973 in the house where he lived and worked from 1958 until his death. Benka´s studio and gallery were partly opened to the public as early as in 1960.

Martin Benka (1888 - 1971) painter, graphic designer, illustrator and teacher, born in Kostolište, died in Malacky, buried at the National Cemetery in Martin. In 1939 he settled down in Martin. He was the founder of modern Slovak artistic expression in painting and drawing. He was a violin player as well. In a series of images he monumentalized Slovak country; later it was the figurative element to dominate in his work. He was awarded many significant national awards. Among his works are Rieka Orava (the Orava River), Jeseň na Spiši (Autumn in the Spiš region), Pri stavbe plti (Building a raft) , na pole (To the field), Dve ženy (Two women) and many others.

Andrej Kmeť Museum – is located in the first building of the Slovak National Museum. It was built in 1908 to design of architect M. Milan Harminc. Since 1994 this building has been the National Cultural Monument. It houses two exhibitions- Kmetianum dedicated to the work of Andrej Kmeť and Príroda Turca (Turiec nature).

Andrej Kmeť (1841 - 1948) – the archaeologist, botanist, zoologist, ethnographer, Catholic priest and founder of the Slovak museum tradition. He was born in Bzenica. In 1906 he settled down in Martin, where he died. He collected the unique herbarium with 72 thousand units, found and saved a mammoth skeleton; he published folk songs, tales and myths. He has merits on establishing the Slovak Museum Society in 1893, as well as the construction of the museum building, to which he donated most of his collections.

After visiting Martin we continue on the yellow sign posted route no. 8412 in the direction of the town of Vrútky. It is the birthplace of prominent Slovak personalities. We should mention the officer Alexander Korda (1907 - 1958), participant of the Slovak National Uprising and the victim of communist repression, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major General, the writer Ján Bodenek (1911 - 1985), the author of literature for children and youth, the opera singer Ľuba Baricová (* 1935) and Magdaléna Blahušiaková (* 1943) or actors František Zvarík (1921-2008) and Radoslav Brzobohatý (* 1932). The architect Stanislav Zachar (1867 - 1939), the knight of the Order of St. Sylvester granted by Pope Pius XI lived part of his life here as well. The building of the Municipality Office in Vrútky and the Roman Catholic church of Ján the Baptist are the examples of Zachar´s work. The composer and teacher Frico Kafenda (see the description of the personalities from the village of Mošovce) was another significant personality as far as the history of Vrútky is concerned. It was lady writer Hana Zelinová (1914-2004) who brought fame to the town of Vrútky. Her memorial room is located on the premises of the Municipal Office.

The Memorial Room of Hana Zelinová - established on 26th September 2003 in the building of the Municipal Office. The room contains the authentic furniture of the writer, writing desk, the collection of her works issued in various languages and other valuable exhibits. The room is open to the public by appointment on 043/4241800.

Hana Zelinová (1914 - 2004) - the lady writer, playwright and journalist. By her work she brought to sight the history of Vrútky and Turiec. The best known is her trilogy Alžbetin dvor (Elizabeth´s Yard), Volanie vetra (Calling of the Wind) a Kvet hrôzy (The bloom of Horror) adapted into film shot by the film director Andrej Lettrich. In 1990 - 1992 she was the deputy of the Slovak National Council for the Democratic Party.

From Vrútky we continue in northerly direction to the village of Lipovec. We take the red-marked Turiec main cycle route which begins at the Vrútky Municipal Office. Alžbeta Lamošová († 1806) Lipovec native, was mother of the first collector of poems and books Matej Hrebenda - Hačavský (1796-1880). The opera singer Jaroslav Lamoš (* 1943) was also born in this village. Follow the red sign-posted route we reach the village of Turčianske Kľačany. Here worked and died the teacher, publisher and editor Ferdinand Viliam Jesenský (1844 - 1911).

Another village on the route is Sučany. Here we can see a permanent exhibition dedicated to its native, politician and the first Slovak Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia between the two world wars Milan Hodža (1878-1944). It is located in the building of the Bilingual gymnasium of Milan Hodža, to whose construction he contributed. Sučany is also the birthplace of other important personalities. One of them is Juraj Langsfeld (1825 - 1849), the officer and volunteer participant of the Slovak National Uprising (1848 - 1849), where he was killed. His native house with the memorial plaque on it can be still found in the village. Among the other prominent natives were the writer and editor Rudo Moric (1921 - 1985) and Ondrej Kožuch, (1911 - 1944), the partisan officer. The poet, teacher and preacher Augustin Doležal (1737 - 1802), or the priest, politician, signatory to the Declaration of Martin and translator Fedor Fridrich Ruppeldt (1866-1979) lived in the village as well.

Passing along the blue-marked route no.2412 we reach the village of Turany, the final destination on our route dedicated to Personalities that brought fame to the Turiec region.

The village is the birthplace of Miloš Alexander Bazovský (1899 - 1968), an important representative of Slovak painting and graphic of the 20th century. The permanent exhibition dedicated to his life and work can be found in the local museum. During the visit of the village we also recommend you to visit the early Gothic Roman Catholic church of St. Gál from the end of the 13th century, which is another example of building activities of the Premonstratesians from the monastery in Kláštor pod Znievom and thematically complete Turiec Gothic route.

The local museum in Turany - preserves and presents the documents about the history and present of Turany as well as the collection of flora and fauna of the Turiec region. The exhibition entitled Bazovský and Turany was opened to the public on 14th January 2009. The visit of organized groups can be agreed on 043 / 42924, 043 / 4,292,648.

Miloš Alexander Bazovský (1899 - 1968) – the painter and graphic artist, one of the most important representatives of Slovak Modernism. His work was inspired by folk art. His friend was Ľudo Ondrejov (1901 - 1962), who lived in Martin from 1934. Among Bazovský´s works are: Pohľad na Prahu z Letnej (Prague´s view from Letná), Smrť v stromovke (Death in the woods), Súmrak (The twilight), Detvianska melódia (The melody of Detva).