Banská Štiavnica is an old-time mining town situated in the heart of the Štiavnické hills. The foundation pergamen of the town was not preserved, but town privileges were awarded in the first half of the 13th century following some indirect facts. The oldest relic giving evidence of the existence of town is a round waxed seal from a pergamen from the year 1275. This seal is the oldest town´s seal with a town´s coat-of-arms on the area of the former Hungary and simultaneously the oldest seal decorated by archaic mining tools in the world.
Existence, prosperity and position of Banská Štiavnica are connected with mining and processing of precious metal´s ores. The golden age of town were the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries when Banská Štiavnica became mining centre of Europe. In 1740 there was mined approximately 600kg of gold and 23 000kg of silver. In this time there lived many outstanding mining technicians – Matej Kornel Hell and his son Jozef Karol Hell, and a scientist, matematician, cartographer and builder Samuel Mikovíni. Thanks to this man in the surroundings of Banská Štiavnica was built a system of water reservoirs – „tajchy“, energy source for mining and adaptation technique of the second half of the 18th century belonging to the top of mining technique in the mining.
An important economic and social position of Banská Štiavnica influenced ruler of the Austria-Hungary Maria Theresia to make decision about foundation of a mining academy in this town – for schooling of mining specialists and for metalurgists for all lands of the Habsburg´s monarchy. This mining academy was a centre for world-known scientists and specialists like Jozef Jacquin, Mikuláš Poda and other.
Economic life of town was the source of building up of an unique seat – Banská Štiavnica.
Singularity of monuments in the symbiosis with the environment is an object of social protection for contemporary persons and future generations.
Values concentrated on the area of town and its environment were registred into the List of the world cultural and natural heritage UNESCO on December 11, 1993.
Points of interest, remarkables and rarities
Námestie svätej Trojice (Holy Trinity Square):
This square is formed by a complex of citizen's houses built up in the 15th century and at the beginning of the 16th century. Mining tunnels lead into the most of these buildings. In the centre of this square stands a Baroque pestilential column with a sculpture of the Holy Trinity built in the years 1759-64 according to the proposal of Dionýz Stanetti. The sculpture was many times restored, the last at the beginning of the 1980s when the former statues were substituted by copies and originals were put in the exposition of the Slovak mining museum at the Old Castle.
Starý zámok (The Old Castle):
The Old Castle is a former Roman church built at the beginning of the 13th century and in the half of the 16th century integrated into a fortification system of town Banská Štiavnica and then rebuilt into a fortress against the Turks in the Rennaissance. The last important architectural modification was the rebuilding of castle´s tower into the Baroque. In the rooms of the Castle there is an exposition of the Slovak mining museum.
Kalvária (The Calvary):
It is formed by a complex of sacral buildings built in a beautiful natural environment of a stone hill – Scharfenberg which forms an unique architectural entity. It was built during the golden age of town in the years 1744-51 from donations of miners, traders and craftsmen. Their coat-of-arms are located in the chapels of the Calvary. Visit of the Calvary offers beautiful views of the environment of Banská Štiavnica. Dominant of this is Sitno hill emblazoned with legends.
Nový zámok (The New Castle):
It is the name of a massive guard and signal tower located in the western part above the town´s settlement and was built in the years 1564-71 in the Rennaissance. The tower was a part of a fortification system of town during the Turks attacks. After the Turks withdrawal the tower had served as a stock of the black powder for mining and as a fire-fighting device. Nowadays there is an exposition of the Slovak mining museum about the fight against the Turks in Slovakia. From the surroundings of this object are beautiful views of town and of the environment of Banská Štiavnica.
Tajchy (Water reservoirs):
An unique system of water reservoirs and ditches in the surroundings of Banská Štiavnica for accumulating of surface water was the source of energy for pumps, for metallurgical machines. Miners had been building it from the 16th century till the beginning of the 20th century. To the most important belong: Počúvadlo, Veľká and Malá Richňava, Veľká Vindšachta, Evička, Klinger, Rozgrund, Veľký and Malý Kolpašský, Ottergrund.
The Mining Museum in nature:
In the area of the Ondrej shaft there was built up the Museum with an exposition of mining technique and opportunity of mining in old mining rooms. Some of them, called „kresanice“, were tunneled by hands by curling-irons and gavel. In the machine room at the Ondrej shaft there is exposed the worthest exhibit of the Museum – a mining machine (water-column) from the shaft Lill in Hodruša. It is the last existing machine constructed according to the principles of Jozef Karol Hell.
Mining museum in nature.
Radničné námestie 1,
969 24 Banská Štiavnica
Phone: +421-45-16 186