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Orava Castle (Oravský Hrad)
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Set on a hill above the Orava River in northern Slovakia, the Orava Castle (Oravský Hrad) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. Built in the 13th century while the area was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, the castle stands on the site of an old wooden fortification that was built to protect from Mongol invasions. While it was originally designed in the Romanesque and Gothic styles, it was later rebuilt as Renaissance and neo-Gothic.

Today, the castle is home to the Orava Museum, one of the oldest in Slovakia. The museum features multiple exhibitions, including an ethnographic exhibition focused on Orava regional folk culture that is located in the Dubovsky Palace within the castle. The natural history exhibition displays photographs of the natural history of the region, rock and mineral specimens and paleontological findings. An archaeological exhibition features findings from excavations at the castle itself and the historical exhibition documents the castle’s transformation over time. Also worth seeing are the castle’s chapel, the Knights’ Room, the Painting Gallery and the Weapon Room.

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Pieniny National Park (Pieninski Park Narodowy)

Visitors come to Pieniny National Park (Pieniński Park Narodowy in Polish, or Pieninský Národný Park in Slovak) for its mountains and massifs - the most famous peak being Tri koruny (Three Crowns), standing high at 982 meters above sea level. It is possible to climb to its summit and take in the view from an observation deck, but the most popular way to admire the scenery of the Pieniny National Park is to navigate through the picturesque limestone ravine known as the Dunajec River Gorge. This is one of the most scenic canyons in Europe, with cliffs often as high as 300 meters. The rafting trips, which have been organized in the park since the first half of the 19th century, last two to three hours. Hikers and cyclists will also find interesting trails, totaling 34 kilometers. The fauna and flora is to be seen - around 6500 animal species have been proven to live in the Pieniny, but it is believed that up to 15,000 species actually live in it, along with the hundreds of plant species who thrive in the park thanks to its waterways, including 640 kinds of mushrooms. Even though Pieniny National Park is small in size at 23.46 km2, making it the smallest in Poland, it is the most visited national park in the country.

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