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Námestovo on the Map

GPS N49.40913°,E19.481592°
Namestovo is a small town in the northwest of Slovakia. It is touristic centre of upper Orava region, it lies on the bank of Oravska dam and it is surrounded by mountains – Oravska Magura in the south, Podbeskytska vrchovina in the west and northwest. The north part is created by Oravska hollow basin.

The Orava region started to be settled in the 16th century. The owner of Orava castle, Frantisek Thurzo gave so called soltyska listina to Ondrej Rand in 1557 and it was when Namestovo was established. The town lay on the salt trade route to Poland and it grew mainly in the 18th century. On 14 June 1776 Maria Theresia gave the town trade privileges. In the 19th century it was the centre of manufacturing and trading of linen, since the beginning of the 20th also political and cultural centre of Orava region. The town was destroyed in fights at the end of the Second World War and 64 people lost their lives then. In 1953 the construction of Orava dam was finished and 5 villages as well as two thirds of Namestovo were inundated (this is the reason, why Namestovo doesn’t have historical centre). The population of Namestovo is nowadays 8,100 inhabitants. The town has been the central town of upper Orava district since 1996.

Orava dam is the main reason of tourists coming to this region. There are many possibilities of sports here (swimming, fishing, surfing, yachting, hiking…). In summer Orava dam is the place where lots of national as well as international events take place (concerts or sporting events). There is an island in the middle of the dam (Slanicky island) with a roman-catholic church, that stood in one of the inundated villages, in Slanica. Nowadays it is the museum of Orava folk arts and there is a lapidary on the island as well. The dominant of Namestovo itself is roman-catholic church of St. Simon and Juda built in 1656 – 1659 as protestant church. Not far away, there is a baroque stone pillar of Virgin Mary dating back to 1758 and wooden cross from the year 1818. Hviezdoslavovo Square was renovated in 1998, the statue of Hviezdoslav (famous Slovak writer) was removed and new statue of bishop Jan Vojtasak was built.

Some of the famous people connected with this region are Anton Bernolak (the first codifier of Slovak language), Milo Urban (writer), Jan Vojtasak (bishop) and P. O. Hviezdoslav (writer, poet).

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