The City of Vrútky

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Matušovièovský rad 4
038 61 Vrútky

+ 421 43 4241803
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Origins of the Settlement of Vrútky

As to the oldest settlement of the Turiec region and the Vrútky territory, attention can be brought to the existence of settlements of the Lusatian culture (in the location of Rendezovo) and also settlement in the Latin, Roman provincial (Fortress above Vrútky), Great Moravian and other time periods. Immensely important for the medieval history of Vrútky and the entire Turiec region is the yeoman (or feudal lords) colonisation with which medieval transportation networks connected to Vrútky , above all, the "Považská Road," are related. It is mentioned in relation to the determination of the borders of Vrútky in 1285. Vrútky became (as before) a significant transportation junction on the Považská Road in the area between Streeno Gap protected by the Old Castle and fortresses in Lower Turiec..

Medieval Vrútky

The first written record about the existence of Vrútky and surrounding settlements belonging to the Sueany castle and landholding dates to 1255. Vrútky was mentioned for the second time in 1271. The first written information about the existence of the Vrútky yeomen -landholders (Mikuláš, son of Štefan de Ruthk, Mikulᚠand Berlík, Benedict's son Budken and Mikuláš, son of Ján) comes from the mid-14th century. Vrútky was divided into two parts: Lower and Upper Vrútky in the second half of the 14th century. Upper Vrútky belonged among the numerous manorial settlements. A land dispute among Vrútky landholders in the 15th and 16th centuries led to the creation of separate lines of several families: Matušovie, Nedecký, Miklian, Daukovský and later - in 1461, also Eachovský. The Kordovský family is also mentioned, after 1500. An Early Gothic 13th century church buried under the contemporary Roman-Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist proves the spiritual development of Vrútky. The first written record about the church itself is from 1332 and the name of the first known priest was Pavol. This peaceful village was only scarsely exposed to any serious external war conflicts. However, at the end of the medieval era the Husit spiritual movement, which found its expression in several Husit crusades, hit the Turiec region and it is expected to have caused some damages in Vrútky too. Especially the 4th crusade, during which about 8,000 armed men came to Slovakia from the Little Poland area. They also came to Turiec and there are records of their destroying several surrounding villages of Vrútky.

Aristocratic Vrútky of the New Age Era

The oldest document - the coat of arms of Vrútocký (the surname of the lower aristocracy from Vrutky; frequently using the Hungarian form Ruttkay or Ruttkai) - comes from the beginning of the 17th century (seal of Ján from 1605), as does the Armales of Vrútky landholders. Each landholding family used their own special surname together with the Slovak prefix Vrútocký (Vrútecký) until the notary, Jan Ruttkay, published the Hungarianized name "Ruttkay," in documents from 1577 and 1581. This tradition continued into further time periods. Several written records about the landholding settlements - manors and contemporary Vrútky cottagers come from the end of the 16th century. By the end of the 17th century there were 4 landholding manors in Upper and Lower Vrútky: in Upper Vrútky - Nedecký and Matušovie, in Lower Vrútky - Miklian and Daukovský. In 1709-1841 64 landholding families lived in Lower Vrútky alone. The most numerous were Ruttkay-Daukovský. Although the lower aristocracy from Vrutky belonged to the richest aristocratic families in the region of Turiec, regular floods of the Turiec and Váh rivers caused many trubles and losses to them. A part of the dependents of the landholding families later graduated to the status of fieldworkers and cottagers. In 1720, in addition to the landholders, peasants and cottagers, there were millers (the first record about a grain mill comes from 1668), oil extractors, weavers, salters, butchers and other entrepreneurs and, of course, a brewer.
Protestantism reached the Turiec region and Vrútky very quickly as it was adopted by one of the strongest new aristocratic families in the region - the Revai family. The first Protestant congregation (established in 1599) was the second Protestant congregation in the Turiec region after Martin. Its first minister was Matej Rechtinius. Anti-reformation in Turiec also led to the persecution of Protestant preachers in the 17th century. Of course, the waves of Protestantism and Catholicizm were also connected with armed uprisings and very often the changes in the religion of some population were reached by force. Any time some army crossed Vrútky, its soldiers robbed the locals of everything they could take. In 1842 there were also 7 Jewish families in Vrútky besides 46 Protestant and 27 Roman-Catholic Families. Their descendants lived here until the Holocaust at the beginning of the 1940s. Besides armed conflicts connected with the religion, there were several other catastrophes that reached Vrútky in this period. As to regular floods of the Turiec and Váh rivers, those of 1813 must be metioned at least. 1831 brought epidemics of cholera to Vrútky when 54 inhabitants died.

From 1848 to the end of World War 1

The revolutionary years in 1848-1849 enabled the spread of capitalism also in the region of Turiec. In case of Vrútky the revolution of a much larger extent then that of the late 1840s was brought in 1871 when the first train crossed Vrútky on its way from Poprad to Žilina, on a newly built railroad connecting eastern Slovakian city of Košice with the Czech city of Bohumín. Not even two years later a new railroad connected Vrútky with the Hungarian capital Budapest. After 1869 the two landholding villages, Upper and Lower Vrútky, had already been transformed into a large railway centre, which was reflected in the rapid growth of inhabitants "connected" to Vrútky (in 1869 there were only 917 inhabitants, in 1910 there were 6249). Vrútky became a residential-industrial agglomeration with the largest number of inhabitants in the Turiec regional government territory, so called "Tureianska župa". It also became a nationally, uncommonly diverse village, aspiring to obtain the designation of "Great Village Vrútky." The first industrial companies were founded, a Food cooperative of employees of the Košice-Bohumín railway with branches also other than Vrútky, rail Consume, and in 1903 also the association, Brotherhood, Bratstvo. All of this also significantly influenced the cultural-social life of Vrútky. Several societies, clubs and associations and also an organized health service were created. In 1913 the Vrútky Health district was established (at this time there were only eight doctors living in the Turiec regional government territory).
Preparation and building of the said railway lines, the beginnings of railway service, train stations, railway repair workshops in Vrútky and the electrification of these objects in the last decade of the 19th century led to the growth of a new centre in the Lower Turiec area. This economic growth was also connected with the rapid increase in the numbers of population while many nationalities arriving in tky made it a multinational spot in a relatively clear Slovak area in the Turiec region. Brick architecture of the city, several storied type, was pushed forward as a result of the construction of the Košice-Bohumín railway and the railway workshops after 1870. The creation of workers' colonies (KB-colony, Rendezovo) and a special "Banhof" - of the new main urban class of Vrútky are related to the railway.

Inside the new Czechoslovak republic (1918 - 1939)

After the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 many rail men of Hungarian nationality left Vrútky in a relatively short time. At that same time many Czech rail men moved to Vrútky. The economic and housing crisis became more complicated by the invasion of the Hungarian army in May 1919 and the following struggle for the wresting of the Vrútky railway hub from the pro-Hungarians. Both railway administrations in Vrútky were combined under the Czechoslovak Transportation Company (April 1921). In the 1920s and 1930s the railway hub was developed further and it was made into a two-track railway line. In 1921 Vrútky already had 6807 inhabitants and 637 houses, 5712 were Slovaks, 252 were Germans, 359 were Hungarians, 266 were Jews, which marked the political and cultural-social life of Vrútky. More than 100 former landholders and peasants cultivated only 364,84 ha of arable land. Most of the time in the period between the two World Wars the city of Vrútky was led by its mayor Karol Kalocsay. By the beginning of the 1920s the village of Vrútky had received electricity. Until then oil lamps lighted the streets. In 1925-1926 the contemporary city hall was built (builder, Stanislav Zachar). As a result of the housing crisis, the Residental Building Association of Railway Employees was created. The tradition of cooperative life was rejuvenated in which the Food Society, Brotherhood, dominated.
Other trade-entrepreneurial operations were also created. In 1921 new political parties were made active and were established. The socio-political movement in Vrútky intensified after the forming of a social democracy in 1906. It also resulted in co-ordinated contact between workers in Vrútky and Martin. After the revolution it was even more active. Several strikes were conducted aimed at the fight against high prices, lack of supplies, the housing crisis and salary requirements. The fight climaxed with the December strike of the Vrútky proletariat in 1920, after which followed the hard persecution of its organisers and participants.

Vrútky in the Slovak state and World War 2

In the mid-1930s, when the economic and political situation became even worse in the Czechoslovak Republic, confrontational and decentralising tendencies led to the destruction of the Czechoslovak Republic and the creation of the Slovak State (14. 03.1939). Leftist parties were dissolved. A large part of the Czech employees of the Vrútky railway and workshop had to leave Vrútky. The Vrútky depot felt the lack, especially, of qualified engine drivers, and Vrútky, in time, lost its rail men prestige. The municipal council was also dissolved. Governmental commissar, František Straka, was named to the forefront with an advisory board. Their activity was affected by political conditions and by the military status of the country at that time. Despite the situation, the municipal administration built a workers' colony (the contemporary Partizánska street) and several production companies.After 1942 the persecution of Jewish citizens and the confiscation of their property in Vrútky almost entirely destroyed their population in the city. Over 200 Vrútky Jews perished in concentration camps and another 64 citizens died violently.A big part of the Vrútky rail men participated in illegal and armed anti-fascist activities within the Slovak National Uprising, for which many paid with their lives.
Citizens of Vrútky helped to transport munitions to the firing positions built in the Malá Fatra and also as guides in the rear guards of fighting units. Vrútky was liberated on the 11th of April 1945 by units of the 1. Czechoslovak Independent Brigade, together with divisions of the 3. Czechoslovak Brigade and Soviet and Romanian Armies. Help was provided by the 2. Czechoslovak Partisan Brigade of M.R. Štefánik, under direction of V. Žingor. Ten soldiers of the 1. Czechoslovak Army Corps were killed and 42 were wounded in the battle for Martin and Vrútky. From among the inhabitants of Vrútky, more than 330 individuals actively participated and more than 45 citizens died in the Slovak National Uprising. Altogether 144 soldiers and officers and 7 citizens fell in the time from the 16th to the 25th of April 1945 in the territory of Vrútky. Among the fallen were also young students, Evžen Karvaš and Vladimir Bláhovec, whose names grace one of the streets in Vrútky.

Post-war period

The growth of the Communist power in post-war Czechoslovakia consequently led to the new totalitarian era to the east of the Iron curtain. In this context the course of the May elections in Vrútky in 1948 is clarified, the creation and operation of the action board of the National front, which also caused the destruction of the Democratic Party in Vrútky, re-organized the Local National Committee and subordinated the community political influence of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in detriment to further democratic development of society. It resulted in the creation of a regulatory plan for a "Great Martin" and to the consolidation of Vrútky and Martin, which truncated the democratic structure of the municipal council at this time. Consequently it resulted in the socialization of the private sector, but currently also to the construction of heavy machinery industrial works in Martin, which positively and negatively affected the economic-social and communal development of Vrútky. The building of a new bridge across the Turiec, the creation of bus transportation in Vrútky-Martin and, especially, the development of railway workshops in Vrútky at the beginning of the 1950s and in following years were the first post-war investment events in Vrútky. In 1952 the first stage of the electrification of railway lines in Slovakia was started, moreover, the technology was secured from Vrútky (the stage from Vrútky to Žilina was finished in 1953). The last steam locomotive left the Vrútky workshop in 1962.
Vrútky became the headquarters of the railways and a warehouse of rail as well as an important centre of modernization of the railway network in Slovakia. In 1959 a research institute for railways in the area of electrical engineering was created. 2232 workers worked in the Vrútky railway workshops and its subordinate company, under which also the factories in Košice and Trnava belonged. Fifty years presented a radical inroad also to Vrútky agriculture. The United Agrarian Cooperative (hereinafter referred to as "JRD") in Vrútky with 84 members was created in 1951. The mass housing development, to which several valuable objects of folk and municipal architecture from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century (Fig. 260, 261) fell victim, resulted in the new look of the city. Vrútky was combined with Martin in 1971 and became its peripheral area until the start of the 1990s. The mass housing development caused a rise in the growth of the inhabitants of Vrútky in the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s (8730 - in 1980). In the second half of the 1980s an emigration of inhabitants happened - around 1200 individuals (in 1991 only 7523 inhabitants lived here). There were a total of 1082 houses with a number of 2753 flats, from which 427 were cooperative and 115 state. The greatest growth of flats occurred during 1971-1980. New radical changes happened at the end of 1989 and in the following years.
Vrútky once again became a self-governing unit with its own local government and a democratically elected city council. It became independent on the 26th of September 1990. RSDr. Jozef Nagy became the first city mayor. Ing. 1ubomír Bernát was elected in further communal elections in 1994. He was also elected in the elections in 1998, and 2002. Since 2006 Ing. Miroslav Mazúr is the mayor of the City of Vrútky.