History of town Banská Štiavnica


   THE HOLY TRINITY SQUARE  /Nám. sv. Trojice/
It was built in the early 16th century and it forms the architectural heart of B. Štiavnica. Its shape had been determined mainly by the Town Hall and the Church of ASt. Catherine. It is lined by splendid houses originally owned  by rich burghers and mining entrepreneurs. In the middle of the square the eye of each visitor is caught by the stately Holy Trinity Column. It was built out of gratitude for the end of the plague which had troubled the town from 1710 to 1711. Originally it was very simple – its current form is of later origin. I tis the work of the famous sculptor Dionýz Stanetti. The structure is embellished by figures of seven saints – protectors of the town and patron – saints of miners.

Nám. sv. Trojice 

   TOWN HALL  /Radnica/

This house, originally just a groundfloor building, dates back to the 14th century and it used to host the sessions of the town council. In the early 16th century the Chapel of St. Anne was pulled down to give way to the sculptural group of the Virgin. The Tonw Hall´s present aspect dates back to the period of 1787-88 when it was rebuilt. Int its celars, there used to be the town prison.



Kammerhof is one of the largest building complexes in the town and it dates back to the early 16th century. The whole complex went throrgh various stages of reconstruction and enlargement, therefore it bears traces of all architectural styles. It used to serve as the seat of the Mining Chamber and the Office of the Chamber Count – the administration of mines, smelting works and mints in the region of today´s Central Slovakia.


This tower-like building with Renaissance and Baroque features dates back to 1681. It contains a sound apparatus which used to remind the miners of the hour when they were to start work. Knocking was also used to announce various festive occasions, miners´meeting, funerals, even as a warning during fires. In the 18th century, the ground floor of this building was turned into a prison for miners convicted by the Mining Court.

 4.Banícka klo

   THE OLD CASTLE /Starý zámok/
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.

 banska stary zamok

  ST. CATHERINE´S CHURCH /Kostol sv. Kataríny/
The lategothic Church of St. Catherine was built in 1491. Its only nave is topped by a star-shaped vaulting. The nave is lined by lowerside chapels. In front of the Church there is a crypt where mayors and important burghers are buried. Since 1658 the Church of St. Catherine hosted Slovak preachers and was called „The Slovak Church”.


   THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY CHURCH /Kostol Nanebovzatia Panny Márie/
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.

Kostol_Nanebovzatia_Panny_Márie_(Banská_Bystrica) Kostol-nanebovzatia-Panny-Márie21

   THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH /Evanjelický kostol/
This church was built in 1794-96 by a native of Banska Stiavnica, the architect F. Sivák, according to the project of the Vienna-based architect J. Tallher. It has no tower and it is a part of a row of bulidigs lining the street. Only its facade and dome stress the fact that is a sacral buliding. Its aspect is largely due to the Tolerance Deeds of the Emperor Joseph II., specifying how Protestant churches should look.


   THE PIARG GATE /Piarska brána/
This Renaissance gate was adorned in Baroque style in the 18th century. It was built in 1554 as a part of the fortification system which had two parallel lines and connected individual houses by walls. The main roads leading to the town were protected by six gates, of them only the Piarg Gate has been preserved.


   THE NEW CASTLE /Nový zámok/
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 CALVARY /Kalvária/
This complex of sacral buildings set in a beatiful scenery is a superb demonstration of human art intertwined with nature´s charms. The corner-stone for the Calvary was set on September 14 th, 1744 and in almost exactly seven years, the complex was finished. The whole project was initiated by the Jesuit priest František Perger. The Calvary consists of 23 objects, representing a true gallery of sacral art, depicting the last moments in the life of Christ.

 kalvaria01 kalvarie-3-494x257-494x257-0x0

   ACADEMY OF FORESTY AND MINING /Banícka a lesnícka akadémia/
In 1762 Maria Theresa founded the Mining Academy in Banska Stiavnica – the first school of its kind in the Hungarian Empire. It functioned until 1919 and hosted important European experts and investors. Upon the Academy the Paris Polytechnic School was modelled. The Academy´s chemical laboratiories were among the best equipped in the 18 th century. It educate 10.000 experts who worked in the most important mining, smelting and forestry units around the world.


Photo©Ján Petrík


The Banská Štiavnica area is famous now for its unique hydro-system of artifical lakes – reservois. Its constructin had begun in the early 16 th century and lasted until the mid-19 th century. The whole system consisted of 60 artifcial lakes with the overall capacity of 7 mil.m3 . The reservois were connected by ditches. Given the fact that the area of Banská Štiavnica never abounded in natural water resources, the ditches were very useful – they collected and kept snow and rain and the resulting water then accumulated in reservoirs. Through a different sort of ditches it flowed to mining machinery. Important investors and technology experts like Matej Kornel Hell, Jozef Karol Hell, but most of all the scientist Samuel Mikovíni contributed largely to the construction of this system. Nowadays there are 23 reservois preserved. Amnog the best-known are: Počúvadlo, Veľká Richňavská, Klinger, Bakomi, Veľká Vindšachtská, Veľká Kolpašská, Veľká Vodárenská, Evička.



   BOTANICAL GARDEN /Botanická záhrada/

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.


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