History of Žilina
Although traces of the settlement of Žilina can be found even before the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century, a more continuous settlement originated around the 9th century. The first written mention of Žilina is in 1208 mentioning the "terra de Selinan" ("land of Žilina / Žiliňany"). At that time, Žilina was already inhabited in several places, but today's city developed from the original settlement at the end of the 13th century. The town developed near Žilina Castle, which existed until the middle of the 15th century and has not yet been discovered. Already in the 13th century. two churches were built, which still exist today - the older Church of St. King Stephen and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (also known as the Parish Church).
Žilina received the first city rights and the coat of arms from King Andrew III. around r. 1290. Slovaks and Germans from Tešín lived in the town, whose rights were taken over by Žilina. The first written mention of Žilina as a town dates back to 1312. The document granting the slander to the citizen of Žilina, Henrich in Kolárovice, states: "civitas Zylinensis" ("the town of Žilina"). The first existing city privilege is from 1321 by King Karol Róbert. City privileges were extended in 1384. At that time, Žilina also took over the rights of Krupina - the Magdeburg Law, the transcript of which from 1378 can be found in the Žilina Book, which contains a set of legal regulations of the city of Magdeburg, which governed Žilina. The Žilina Book is an important cultural monument of Slovakia, similarly to the document of King Ľudovít the Great from 1381 known as the Privilege for Slovaks, by which it equalized the Germans and Slovaks from Žilina.
Žilina had from the 15th century. own walls - ramparts that protected today's historic core of the city around Mariánské náměstí. This core was declared a city monument reserve in 1988. Mariánské námestie is the only one in Slovakia that has preserved Renaissance arcades (laubne). The Renaissance appearance of the square was created after a fire in 1521, but some of the cellars under the houses were still built in Gothic architecture.
The city was a crossroads of ancient trade routes and became rich thanks to the transit trade with wool abroad. There were many guilds in the city, the production of cloth remained dominant. A great benefit for the city was the Žilina law, which was used by several dozen municipalities and towns in northwestern Slovakia. After the Hussites stayed in 1431 and 1433, only Slovaks lived in the town. The development of the city lasted until the end of the 17th century. As a result of the fighting, the city was weakened and began to develop again in the second half of the 19th century. after the construction of the railways in 1873 and 1883. In 1891, the largest Hungarian textile factory was built in Žilina - a cloth, which had up to 1,600 workers and exported products abroad.
With the construction of additional plants, shops, banks and infrastructure, the population also grew. While in 1850 the city had only 2,326 inhabitants, in 1911 it was 10,000 inhabitants. Today, almost 85,000 people live in the city, and thousands more people come to Žilina every day to work.
Žilina has, in addition to the Church of St. Stephen the King, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, the Franciscan Church of St. Barbara and the Jesuit Church of St. Paul, as well as many other architectural and cultural monuments. These include, in particular, Budatín Castle from the 13th century, a number of Art Nouveau and functionalist buildings from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. and others. After 1945, the city underwent various changes. Other industrial plants and housing estates were established - Hliny, Vlčince, Solinky and Hájik. Since 1960, the present-day University of Žilina has been located here. The city is a center of industry, transport, education and culture. In 1996, the city became the seat of the region and thus gained the same status as other important Slovak cities. Since 2006, the production of cars of the important car plant KIA has started.
Today, Žilina is the center of northwestern Slovakia, where a rich history and architecture intersect with modern and dynamic development. Due to its historical development, traditions and present, Žilina is undoubtedly one of the most important cities in Slovakia.