History of Geceľ settlement

The Orava region is among the most historically and culturally preserved areas of Slovakia and offers unforgettable family stories and quality services in summer and winter. It is a region with traditions, a lasting touch of history. In the same way, TILIA writes a story of history reaching back to the 13th century. Our ancestors left behind a majestic English park, cultural monuments and important historical events that reveal the lives of our ancestors in this unique place.

The settlement is first mentioned in a document from 1415, but its origin is much older, as it had fertile land that did not go unnoticed. The name of the village Geceľ comes from the name Gac, which belonged to a family from Vyšný Kubín.

The yeoman’s settlement belonged to the property of the Orava manor, which rented it to Vavrinec Jarábek during this period. Another member of the Jarábek familyJuraj, is mentioned in the 15th century in the censuses. In 1557, František Thurzo became the head of the Orava manor. The accession of the former bishop of Nitra to the Orava See threatened the property rights of the Jarábková family in Geceľ.

Ownership conditions changed in 1573, when the fate of the village was no longer decided at the Orava Castle, and Sebastián Bajcsy received possession of Geceľ and part of Beňová Lehota from the sovereign Maximilian II. The descendants of Sebastián Bajcsy kept the estate in possession for more than 200 years. They were adherents of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg confession and helped to spread it on Orava.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, one of the most socially successful residents lived in Geceľ – Šimon Čaplovič. He worked as an Orava district administrator, as well as a Turiec district administrator, and his manor became the centre of Orava’s political and social life.

In the 19th century, the Zmeškal family also entered the property relations of the Geceľ village. This family tried to settle directly in the Zeman settlement, built a large residence, but fate did not favour them. The death of only 26-year-old Vojtech ended the period of the Zmeškal family.

After the death of Šimon Čaplovič, life in Geceľ did not slow down. Based on the will of Šimon Čaplovič, Margita Ganzaughová gained influence on the further development of events. On her initiative, František Izsóf and his sister Alžbeta, married to Stanislav Dziewicz, became the owners of the manor. František acted as the chief legal representative of the Orava See. The mansion and its surroundings were well taken care of until the Second World War, when in 1948 the communist party came to power in the Czechoslovak Republic. The Izsóf and Diewicz families, despite these events, kept their property until 1973.

Geceľ existed as an independent settlement until 1960. After this year, together with Poruba – Zábreža, it merged into one municipality – Oravská Poruba.

During the 20th century, the character of Geceľ changed fundamentally, and the former village turned into a recreation centre. In 1974, the Dolný Kubín District Tourism Administration took over the manor and its surroundings. In 1976, the Department of Construction and Planning issued a zoning decision approving the reform of this place, which started the construction of the Tília Gäceľ Camp. It still welcomes its visitors and it can be said that the launch of the Tilia Resort project represents a long-standing “Tradition on a new path”. 

Some majestic monuments in Geceľ have been preserved to this day. A unique and at the time highly valued English park was built on Orava near the original noble manors, which flowed smoothly into the surrounding nature. The historical park has preserved its features until today. The natural scenery is completed by the Orava River, which in 1998 was included in the list of internationally important wetlands protected by the so-called Ramsar Convention under the name “Orava River and its tributaries”. At the same time, this photogenic place was included in the territories protected by the European Union in the program: Natura 2000 as Orava.

As a remnant of the mansion of the Bajcsy family, there is a Stone Tower from the 17th century, which has been declared a National Cultural Monument. For our history, it is important in connection with the events that started the “The Demands of the Orava People” in Orava in 1848. The tower was given a new look in 2019 and, in addition to historical memories, offers visitors the opportunity to spend free time in its interior in the form of exhibitions and events. Šimon Čaplovič’s manor house is today one of the most well-preserved noble houses of the former curial village. Even though it has been converted into a service facility, its decorative details have been preserved to this day. Jozef Čaplovič’s manor house and Šimon Čaplovič’s winter residence have also been preserved.

In the forest above Geceľ, there is a cemetery with several gravestones, which are marked by the ravages of time. Most of the commemorative plaques cannot be identified, but the rest belong to the names of family members of the families that inhabited this unique place.

The history of Geceľ still hides a lot of precious information, which was described in his book by Michal Čajka and the collective under the name “Geceľ – The Pearl of Orava”. You can get the publication directly at the reception of the TÍLIA GÄCEĽ CAMP.