Liptovský Mikuláš is situated in the northern part of Slovakia, in the
central part of the Liptov basin. From the south, it is surrounded by the Lower
Tatras (Nízke Tatry) and from the west by the West Tatras (Západné Tatry), and
the Chočské hills (Chočské vrchy). The longest river in Slovakia, the Váh, flows
through the town, and a water reservoir, Liptovská Mara, is nearby. Liptovský
Mikuláš has 33, 500 inhabitants.
The town was first mentioned, in written form, as Mikuláš, after a saint called
Mikuláš, the patron of the saint Mikuláš church. This church dominates the
historical center and is the oldest building of Liptovský Mikuláš. Around the
church, there is a symbolic wall, the remains of original walls, which were built in
1443 by Pongrác II. Inside the walls, Pongrác built for himself a mansion. At the
present, it is the seat of the Koloman Sokol gallery (Centrum Kolomana Sokola).
One can admire here works of a worldwide known painter Koloman Sokol, who
was born in Liptovský Mikuláš in 1902. The house he was born in, is situated
next to the train station, and you can find there a pub and a cafeteria type of
restaurant. Koloman Sokol later lived and worked in the United States of America.
Nearby, one can find another mansion, Illészhazyovská kúria, which is typical for
its architecture. Nowadays, The Museum of Janko Kráľ is found there, however,
the museum was named after an important slovak poet, Janko Kráľ, only a
smaller part of the exposition belongs to his presentation. The biggest part of the
exposition is dedicated to the history of the town, from 1286 to the present. We
can find here many precious items: bronztreasure, a saint Mikuláš statue, and
original tools of the craftsmen from Mikuláš. The museum building used to be the
main seat of Liptov. It is said that in 1713 the legendary outlaw Juraj Jánošík was
sentenced to death here. In the historical centre you can see the county seat
building and other historical sights, as well as a syngogue. Art admirers can visit
the second biggest gallery in Slovakia, The Gallery of Peter Michal Bohúň,
where they can enjoy his work, as well as art from the gothic and baroque
periods, and the 18th and 19th centuries. Originally, the building served as an
Evangelical school with Peter Michal Bohúň as a teacher. Right across from the
gallery you can find an evangelic
vicarage, where Matúš Blaho, Michal
Miloslav Hodža and Jur Janoška lived
and worked. It was exactly here, in
1848, that they wrote the first political
and cultural program for Slovaks
“Žiadosti slovenského národa“. These
wild years are rememebered in the
expositions “Tatrín“ and “Žiadosti
slovenského národa“. The gallery
together with the vicarage form a nice
little square. Just one street away one
can find the Slovak Museum of
Nature Protection and Speleology.
Another popular museum is the Liptov
museum which introduces the history
of hunting and fishing in the Liptov
The historical centre went through
a complete renovation, during which
they built a fountain Metamorfózy
(Metamorphosis) dedicated to the prominent Liptovský Mikuláš natives. Its surroundings
are a favorite place of rest for locals, as well as for visitors. The
pedestrian area is very lively especially in good weather. There are many restaurant
with outdoor seating, where you can have piece of a sweet cake, a cup of
coffee, or a glass of cold beer. Many cultural meetings and celebrations are held
in Liptovský Mikuláš all year long, for example the traditional market, the pantomime
showcase PAN, or “Cheese Days“ (Dni syra a bryndze).
Mikulášania (Liptovský Mikuláš locals) are closely connected with sports.
Many top Slovak sportsmen live here. One of the most famous is Michal
Martikán, an Atlanta Olympic Games winner. You can also find here a hockey
club, a soccer club, an airplane models club, and even a Slovak tourists club.
There are plenty of sports opportunities in Liptovský Mikuláš for both locals and
visitors: fitness and squash centres, tennis courts, an ice skating stadium, gymnasiums,
an indoor pool, and outdoor thermal swimming pool. The thermal
pools are filled with thermal mineral water (60,7 °C) from springs more than
2500 meters underground. In the southern part of the town a water slalom area
was built, as a place for slovak and international competitions, such as the
Medzinárodný liptovský slalom and Medzinárodný tatranský slalom.
In one of the Liptovský Mikuláš districts, Podbreziny, one can find a small ski
resort, which is maintaned with artificial snow and includes night skiing. After
a long sport day everybody can rest in a sauna, solarium, or enjoy a massage.
The Liptovský Mikuláš region offers a very beautiful countryside, historical
architecture, thermal swimming pools, and caves. It is a meeting point for many
walks, cycling trips in summer, and winter sports in winter.
Mikuláš and Its
Liptov became a year-round holiday
region, mainly because of its
beautiful nature, mineral thermal water
springs, caves, great number of historical
sights, open air museums of
original architecture, and folklore traditions.
It is situated in the area of two
national parks, Národný park Nízke
Tatry and Tatranský národný park.
There are many opportunities for
spending free time and for relaxation.
Many ski resorts were built in the
surrounding mountains; one of the
biggest and the most famous is
Demänovská dolina – Jasná. The skiers
can use four gondolas, one cabin lift,
and twelve regular ski lifts. The capacity
of all the lifts is 20,150 per hour.
There are twenty eight kilometers of
slopes, including various levels of difficulty,
and eleven kilometers of
slopes maintened with artificial snow.
Snowboarders and ski-alpinists find
here space for their sports as well.
Additional popular ski resorts are Závažná Poruba, Liptovský Ján, Žiarska dolina,
the smaller Iľanovo, and Podbreziny. Most of the ski resorts are maintaned
with artificial snow, many of them include night skiing and complete services for
skiers: ski service, ski equipment rental, ski schools, mountain patrol, catering,
and accommodation. Especially in the summer season is Liptov suitable for hikers;
they can enjoy the perfect shape of the mountains, nature beauties, rare fauna,
and flora. There are opportunities for easy walks through valleys, as well as
mountain climbing. Tourists can chose from a variety of marked paths. Some of
the most popular trips are a walk through the Prosiecka and Kvačianska valleys,
and climbing the Choč, Ďumbier (the highest mountain of Nízke Tatry), Baranec,
or Poludnica mountains. A very popular trip is to Demänovská valley, or to the top
of Chopok, the second highest mountain of Nízke Tatry. You can take a lift to
about the middle of Chopok and then continue on foot, there is a gorgeous view
of the surrounding mountains. On the way back, most of the tourist rest by the
Vrbické pleso mountain lake. More and more often you can meet tourists on
bikes. A very popular trip is around Liptovská Mara water reservoir, and trips to
Demänovská and Jánska valleys are also quite popular.
After building the water reservoir Liptovská Mara, there are many possibilities
for water sports. Although the dam was originally built to defuse floods on the
river Váh and for producing electricity, it is used for relaxation. On its northern
bank there is a car camp, sports equipment rental, minigolf, beach volleyball and
streetball ground. Boat trips are available in the summer.
Liptov is rich in thermal mineral water springs. Springs in Liptovský Ján are
thought to be the biggest sources of mineral water in Slovakia. Because of the
thermal mineral water springs (about 60°C) outdoor swimming pools were built
in the region: in Liptovský Mikuláš and Bešeňová. Both of them are open all
year long. Another thermal mineral water spring, with temeperature of 28°C, fills
the indoor and summer outdoor pools in Liptovský Ján. Healing powers of the
thermal mineral water are used in the nearby spa Lúčky.
The Liptov region is full of underground caves, most of them not opened for
public, but three caves are visited by thousands of tourists every year. In
Demänovská dolina (Demänovská valley),there are two big caves, Demänovská
jaskyňa Slobody (Demänovská Cave of Freedom) and Demänovská ľadová
jaskyňa (Demänovská Ice Cave). The
third big cave located in Važec, is
Važecká cave. Many visitors of the
Liptov region are interested in its
original architecture. The Museum of
a Liptov village in Pribylina was
founded when Liptovská Mara water
reservoir was created. Into this open
air museum houses were moved from
the village underneath the dam;
a house of a poor blacksmith, a
school building, the mayor`s house
and a church. Another building that
was moved is a wooden church with a
capacity of 4000 people, it is the
biggest wooden building in central
Europe. The wooden church was
designed and built by master Lang
without any plans, and what is more,
he could neither read nor write.
A worldknown attraction is an open air
museum in Vlkolínec, listed in the
UNESCO World Heritage. In Vlkolínec
one can find tiny houses painted in
pastel colors with tile roofs. The
history of the Liptov region can be
learned in the open air archeological
museum, Havránok, situated near
Liptovská Mara. Renovated celtic
buildings show the life of Celts
who settled here during the first