Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia

Banská Štiavnica – Slovakia’s Silver Jewel

Banská Štiavnica is one of the most beautiful towns in Slovakia. Let it not embarrass you that a few centuries ago it was a mining town, because not coal was mined here, but silver, precious stones, and even gold. That is why the status of the town was special; Banská Štiavnica was the main silver supplier of Austria-Hungary. Nowadays in Banská Štiavnica there are preserved old architecture, two defensive castles, the Plague Column – the biggest in Europe, the original mines from the 13th century and many other things that make this city one of the most attractive for tourists in Slovakia.

Banská Štiavnica, surrounded by the Štiavnica Hills, is considered a true gem of Central Slovakia. It is full of interesting historic monuments, centuries old history and the unique atmosphere of the prosperous mining town, which was one of the richest and most attractive towns in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire due to its silver, gold and precious metal deposits.

The royal mining town

The first records of finding silver, gold, non-ferrous metals and precious stones on the territory of Banská Štiavnica date back to 1075. The status of free town and legal right to mine was given to Banská Štiavnica already in 1238. After that the town started to develop very rapidly and it was given the status of a free royal town with the seat of royal mining authority and educational, scientific and research institutions in the field of mining. At that time only a few cities in the world could boast of such status.

Thus, in 1735 the first mining school in Austria-Hungary (at that time modern Slovakia was on the territory of Austria-Hungary) was opened in this region. And in 1762 by the order of empress Maria Theresia the Academy of Mining was founded in Banská Štiavnica, which became the first higher educational establishment in the world, teaching mining. Soon the Banská Štiavnica Academy of Mining became the model for the founding of the Polytechnics in Paris. The academy functioned until 1919 and during that time it produced hundreds of professionals in the fields of mining, forestry, technical and natural sciences.

Holiday Adventures in Kuala Lumpur

The historic center of Banská Štiavnica was proclaimed an urban architectural reserve in 1950. In 1993 it was included together with the surrounding area to the list of UNESCO cultural and natural heritage.

Sights to see in Banská Štiavnica

Many who have traveled to Slovakia claim that Banská Štiavnica is the most beautiful city in the country. It is an open book of history, architecture, craft and science in Slovakia. It is a town untouched by time, as if frozen here. We offer magnificent houses and palaces of rich owners of mines, various temples, defense buildings, Kalvaria Stiavnická – one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Slovakia, mines and museums – this is only a general description of the places of interest in Banská Štiavnica.

Old Castle

The dominant feature of Banská Štiavnica is formed by two castle fortifications: the Old and New Castles. This is not surprising, as a town with such rare rusurs had to be well defended. The old castle from a small wooden basilica from the 13th century was gradually transformed first into a stone church and then to the scale of a serious fortification, which was able to withstand the Turkish invasion in the 16th century. The castle was rebuilt and modernized up to the 19th century, acquiring all the then known architectural styles: Gothic, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque.

Now in the Old Castle are unique museum expositions, one of the most interesting is the museum of smoking pipes and their production. Not only many samples of pipes of different shapes and sizes are preserved, but also the equipment for their production, firing and drying. Pipes were very valuable at that time, only rich people or royalty could afford them.

There is also a collection of shooting targets, a museum of clocks, a blacksmith shop, and an archaeological exhibition “Miners Come”, from which you can learn all about the life of miners at that time and the minerals they produced, which were silver, gold, precious stones and non-ferrous metals.

One of the rooms of the castle contains a really impressive series of old wooden reliefs and sculptures from the 18th century describing the last days of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion. This collection was moved to the castle for safekeeping and to protect it from vandalism from the Calvary complex, reproducing Christ’s journey to Mount Calvary, about this place will be written below.

9 ways to entertain kids in Cesenatico, Italy

Do not forget to climb the castle bell tower, from there you can see a beautiful panorama of Banská Štiavnica, Kalvaria and the New Castle. Viewing all the exhibits of the castle together with a visit to the observation deck on the bell tower costs 3 euros.

New Castle

It is a symbol and one of the landmarks of Banská Štiavnica. The castle was built in the years 1564-1571 as a watchtower in the defensive system of the city. In times of Turkish expansion cannons were placed near the castle, which protected the roads leading to the city. Inside the New Castle on several floors is an exhibition devoted to the history of the liberation of the city from the Turkish invaders – various objects, maps, documents, weapons.

White, elegant, with a dark roof, it is visible from almost anywhere in the city, and every hour from the castle to the entire Old Town you hear a horn, signaling the new hour. This tradition goes back to ancient times. When the Turkish dangers passed, the castle was home to a fire station, and firemen beat their horns every 15 minutes to let the town know they were there and ready to help. The bells on the town hall tower, like a public clock, rang every full hour. In addition, the Klopaczek tower warned the miners’ shifts in the mines by tapping its hammers. It is not known how the townsfolk endured the sound system, but Nový Chateau became so famous for its “livestock clocks” that it has kept the tradition up to the present day, fortunately, the chime is heard every hour instead of every 15 minutes.

Town Hall Square and St. Catherine’s Church

The Town Hall, the Church of St. Catherine and the Evangelical Church form the ensemble of Radničné námestie (Town Hall). Since the Middle Ages the town hall has been the seat of municipal government, and took on its graceful architectural forms during its classic rebuilding in 1788. One peculiarity: don’t try to adjust the time on the Town Hall clock, the hour and minute hands are mixed up. It is not known exactly how the mistake happened, but there are several versions, according to one of which the watchmaker made a mistake and shifted the hands, and the town authorities just celebrated the completion of the Town Hall reconstruction and drank more than they should, without noticing the strange situation with the hands. When they came to their senses, the watchmaker had already left town, and no one ever corrected the hands, so they gradually got used to it The most impressive building was the Town Hall.

Unusual things that will surprise you in Japan

The most impressive building on Town Hall Square is the Church of St. Catherine. This early Gothic church, completed in 1491, is one of the most beautiful and most important in the city. Inside, the church is a valuable art gallery: the original stone baptismal font, reliefs on the crucifixion of Christ, a sculpture of the Virgin Mary with the Child, and a full-wall fresco depicting the Last Judgment are all works from the 15th-17th centuries.

Holy Trinity Square

We walk along the side facade of the Church of St. Catherine towards the Holy Trinity Square. In its center rises the huge Plague Column with the sculpture of the Holy Trinity on its top. In the Middle Ages plague columns (or pillars) were installed in almost all cities in Europe as a thank-you to the saints for deliverance from the plague epidemic. The Plague Column in Banská Štiavnica is one of the largest in Europe. This grandiose sculptural construction was created in 1764 in the workshop of sculptor Dionis Stanetti.

The square has kept its appearance from the moment of its existence, i.e. from the 14th to 16th centuries. Around the square there are palaces and houses of rich burghers and titled persons. In the past it was the main square of the city, so it has this status now. At the foot of the grandiose Plague Column almost constantly take place some cultural events: concerts, meetings, dances …

Banskoshtyavnitsky Betleghem

Be sure to stop by the courtyard at Radničné Námestie 11/20, not far from the Town Hall. Here, in an area of 21 m2 is an incredible work of art – a model of the medieval town of Banská Štiavnica, carved entirely out of wood. The model is based on the Bethlehem type (for Catholics, it is a reproduction of the scene of the birth of Christ). In addition to the recreated Old Town with all of its streets, houses and churches, there are 800 human figures moving around the city, 400 of them moving.

Journey for Two to Vienna, Austria

The movement of the figures is subordinated to a particular meaning, which reproduces the historical events of Banská Štiavnica, its essence and everyday life. Thus, pilgrims climb the mountain of Kalvarija, the nobility rides through the center, artisans work on their business, miners bring wheelbarrows from the depths of the hills, and near the New Castle the Turkish soldiers move, restrained by the defense of the city.

There is also a store with wooden crafts and toys made by the hands of the craftsmen of this stunning wooden town. To see the moving Betleghem costs about 1.5 euros per person and is open from 10 to 16 hours.

Banskostia Calvary

First, a little about what the term Calvaria means to Catholics. From the Latin Calvaria translates as Calvary. It is a complex of sacred structures on an elevated site that mimics Christ’s journey to Mount Calvary. All along the way, which is usually quite difficult and long, there are chapels, grottos, or simply tablets depicting certain scenes from the life of Jesus Christ before the crucifixion, such as saying goodbye to his mother, meeting his disciples, carrying the cross, whipping, and so on, and finally, at the top there is a temple with the Crucifix where you can rest after the hard journey up and pray. Calvary complex is primarily an important pilgrimage site for the faithful.

Banská Štiavnická Calvary is one of the biggest complexes of this type in Slovakia, and its baroque buildings (churches and chapels) are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The complex was built in the period from 1744 to 1751 and its area consists of 17 chapels, three churches (Lower, Middle and Upper), two buildings Dungeon and Coffin of God. In each chapel there was a wooden bas-relief with a scene from a certain stage of Christ’s Way of the Cross. These valuable bas-reliefs are now preserved in the Old Castle.

Vietnam is the Asian Maldives, is it really?

For many decades, the architectural complex was neglected and subject to vandals, many chapels and temples in need of reconstruction. Since 2007, after Banskošťavnica Calvary was included in the 100 most destroyed monuments in the world, programs and activities to restore and rehabilitate the complex have been carried out.

Miner’s Open Air Museum Skansen

This geopark in the wilderness will acquaint you with the history of mining in the surroundings of Banská Štiavnica. Authentic mining lodges, mining engineering structures, vehicles and much more, all from the Middle Ages to the present day. There is also an opportunity to visit the underground of the historic Bartholomew mine. The museum is located on J. Hella 12. The museum is open from April to November.

How to get there?

Banská Štiavnica is situated in the center of Slovakia in the Banská Bystrica region. If you do not drive yourself, the best way to get there is to go to Zvolen (Zvolen) where you can get from almost any city in Slovakia (you can find train and bus timetables at and then from Zvolen a bus or train will bring you to Banská Štiavnica in about one hour. From the bus stop (called Križovatka) you can walk to the historic center in 15 minutes.

It’s a town carved at the foot of precipitous hills, embedded in the wilderness. It is a nice place to visit at any time of the year; in winter there are a lot of ski centers around the town, and in summer you can enjoy hiking in the nearby woods or a trip to the town of St Anton (only 15 minutes from Stiavnica), where there is a large beautiful castle with fascinating interiors and the zoological museum exhibit.

Today, tourism and culture have become the main engine of Stiavnica: film, literature, music, theater, arts and traditional crafts. Banská Štiavnica is unique, authentic, magical, this town has a soul.

( No ratings yet )
Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: