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Považská Bystrica ( ; ; ) is a town in northwestern Slovakiamarker. It is located on the Váhmarker river, around 30 km from the city of Žilinamarker.


Považská Bystrica is situated in a fold of mountain ranges Strážovské vrchymarker (1213 m) and Javorníkymarker (1071 m a.s.l.). Mountains offer attractive experiences 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.

Another popular tourist attraction close to the town is a breath-taking canyon Manínska tiesňava. Canyon splitts 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 scenes for The NeverEnding Story movie back in '84. Just a few kilometers away lays another highly challenging reef formation: Súľovské skaly. To sum it up one of the most famous Slovak spas Rajecké Teplicemarker lies about 20 km from the town.

Town has mostly postmodern architecture meaning that most pre-20th century buildings were replaced in the '60s and '80s.

Považská Bystrica lies on the major traffic route Bratislavamarker - Žilinamarker causing many traffic jams in the recent years. Local government is looking for optimal solution to the situation considering many options guiding the motorway through the town. The final build is expected for late 2010. The motorway currently ends in 5 km radius from the town.

Považská Bystrica has one twin town Rožnov pod Radhoštěmmarker in the Czech Republicmarker.


The first written reference to the town comes from 1316, in connection with Matthew 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 Bystrica (or Považský) castle, built in the 13th century. The most famous owners of the Bystrica castle and the land were knights Ján and Rafael Podmanickí, 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 Podmanicki. During their reign, which lasted almost 100 years, the town was flourishing.

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 Bratislavamarker 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. The religious make-up was 81.10% Roman Catholics, 12.18% people with no religious affiliation, and 2.56% Lutherans.


Považská Bystrica has 9 boroughs. 75% of population live inside the town itself, 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.

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