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Banska Stiavnica

Country
Slovakia
State
Banskobystricky Kraj
City
Banska Stiavnica
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

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Places to Visit
How to Reach

From Bratislava:

By bus :( 2 or 3 buses a day) 185 km. By train: Take a quick-train to Hronska Dúbrava ( Direction Zvolen), in Hronska Dúbrava take a train to Banska Stiavnica, 220 km

From Prague: Take a bus or train ( preferably) to Zvolen ( 580km) and then to Banska Stiavnica

From Vienna: Take a bus to Bratislava ( 75 km) , then see above

From Budapest: Take a train to Zvolen (215 km from Budapest Keleti) then a bus or a train to Banska Stiavnica

From Krakow: Take a bus to Zvolen ( 320 km) From Zvolen ( 35 km far from Banska Stiavnica) By bus: Direct connetion established By train: Both direct+indirect trains run, for indirect change at Hronska Dúbrava railway station

Key places to visit
Spatial Characteristics of the World Heritage Area, THE OLD CASTLE, THE NEW CASTLE, The Town Monument Reserve, BOTANICAL GARDEN, CHURCH OF ASCENSSION OF THE VIRGIN


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Places to Visit

Spatial Characteristics of the World Heritage Area

The area innscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List includes a wide territory surrounding the town of Banska Stiavnica, located in the centre of the Stiavnica Hills. They are the largest volcanic mountain range containing minerals and rock from all the periods of neovolcanism (andesites, rhyolites, rhyodacites, dacites, whinstones, their tuffs and pyroclastics). Older rock strata from the earlier Paleozoic and Mezozoic time periods appear on the surface in the tectonic window of HodruSa - Vyhne. This area is known as a mecca of minerals with nearly 150 types of them. Gold and silver bearing ores as well as other polymetallic deposits were continually exploited in the district of Banska Stiavnica as early as the 11th century. In 1156 this area was called „terra banensium", i.e. the territory of miners (in 1217 Bana), and the richness of silver ores gave rise to the name „Argentinofodina" in the 12th and 13th centuries. The prevalent form of the terrain is a cut off fluvial plateau, a highland and upland fork-like relief, stepping down to pediment hilly country. Weathered remains of funnels and mineral veins often stand out as cliffs with stone seas (in Vyhne).

THE OLD CASTLE

In the early 13th century a Romanesque basilica with three naves was built on a projection shooting off the Paradajz hill - the Church of Saint Mary. In the 15th century a wall was erected to protect the church and the cemetery next to it. In the 1540s the church was rebuild so that it could function as a fortress against the Turkish raids. The vault above the main nave was pulled down - the present courtyard of the castle emerged. Later the walls were fortified. The building complex of the Old Castle includes also the Chapel of St. Michael. This Romanesque rotund building has two parts: the above-ground carnarium was used as a place where dead bodies were laid before burials, in the underground ossarium bones extracted from old graves were kept. There are interesting fragments of 14th century frescoes on the walls of the Chapel. The nearby „Himmelreich" bastion also dates back to the 14th century and it has a history of serving as a prison.

THE NEW CASTLE

This is one of the most elegant architectural dominants of the town. It stands as if on guard near the entrance to Banska Stiavnica. The New Castle is a whitevashed Renaissance fortress on the Frauenberg hill and it was built in the period of 1564-71 with the purpose to protect the town against possible invasion of Turkish army. The fortress was rebuilt then, but without significant changes. Nowadays it is a six-floored building with four corner bastions and several embrasures. It used to be a part of the town fortification system. It is also known sa the Virginal or Maidenly Castle, however, this name is of later origin and it was most probably derved from the name of the hill where the buildind stands. Later the New Castle served also as an observation point.

The Town Monument Reserve

The archeological researches have been implemented several times in the historic core since 1968, especially in connection with renewal of the important cultural monuments. The finds have documented the settlement of the town connected with mining activities since the end of the 12th century (indirectly since the 11th century). This is proved by the finds of mining tools (instruments, technical ceramics, mining lamps) and production objects (a smelting furnace, mining galleries worked by hand with a hammer and a chisel and only one side vaulted). Following are the specific localities which yielded the archeological information: the Chamber Court at Kammerhofska Street 2 and 3, A. Kmeťa Street 20, Radničné Square 8, Holy Trinity Square 2, Radničné Square 16. The archeological researches also contributed to delineate the oldest urban core of the settlement agglomeration - the future town, preserving the character of the dispersed building structure along the main roads until the 15th-16th centuries and conditioned by the rugged landscape relief.

BOTANICAL GARDEN

This garden of 3,5 ha was completed in the period of 1838-61. College teachers like R. Feistmantel, K. Wagner, F. Illés, ľ. Fekete and E. Vadas were the main initiators of its foundation and development. The garden is divided in two parts by a road. Both parts contain a variety of domestic and exotic plants, there are altogether about 250 specimen, here. Come and enjoy a rare sight in this climate: gigantic redwoods, Lebanese cedars, Atlantic cedars and other precious flora.

CHURCH OF ASCENSSION OF THE VIRGIN

Originally a Romanesque basilica with three naves, constructed in the 1230s, this church went through architectural changes. After a fire (1806) and reconstruction its Classical aspect emerged. The church belonged to the Dominican friars until 1536. In 1575-1669 it was used by the Protestants and later by the Jesuits (until 1773 when the Jesuit Order der was abolished). In 1776 the Church was transferred to secular elergy, becoming the ain parish church. It is called „German Church", because it hosted Cerman preachers.

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