• Slavomír Červeň

Unesco in Slovakia – Top 5 spots in Banská Štiavnica

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If you enter the combination “UNESCO” and “Slovakia” into the search bar of Wikipedia, Google or Bing, they will tell you that that Slovakia has 7 sites registered by this prominent organization and they are correct. We have 7 registrations in total on this prestigious list of most significant sights in the world.

Wait a moment, sights? If that´s the case than there are considerably more. One registration often contains a larger amount of “sights”, or attractions if you will. So, we at Expedition have decided to guide you around these abundant places in Slovakia.

We will begin with Banská Štiavnica which was recently described by a journalist of the Washington Post as a rival to any Italian medieval mountain town. Believe us when we say that she is absolutely right .

The first part of “UNESCO in Slovakia”: a medieval spirit of a golden history in the crater of an extinct volcano – Banská Štiavnica and 5 places which are definitely worth a visit. Know that it list is far from exhaustive; after all, Banská Štiavnica, in our opinion, is one of the most beautiful and magical historical towns in Europe.

 

IMPRESSION OF A RENOWNED TOWN

If you are looking for something similar to the House of St. Elizabeth in Košice, the Old Town Hall or the House of St. Martin in Bratislava, St. Egid´s Cathedral in Bardejov or Trenčín´s castle, in Štiavnica your search will not ne a success. You will not find the luxuriously decorated altar of Master Paul of Levoča in the house of Košice, Nardo di Cionne from Bojnice, world renown tapestries of Bratislava, the statue of St. Martin, nor the charming cloisters in Hronský Beňadik. Not to worry, you will not miss any of it in Banská Štiavnica. None of these sights would be at home in this magical town. Štiavnica´s magic stems from its medieval and historical atmosphere. Rather than focusing on individual aspects, its charm and genius loci as a whole are what constitutes its magnificence. You will struggle to find a worthy competitor. It is possible to write about it forever without being short of a muse.

Štiavnica engulfs you as you simply sit in front of the Immaculata on the Holy Trinity Square square casually observing a lazy cat sleeping on the window sill of a medieval house, tourists admiring medieval frescoes on churches and palaces or an old lady slowly making her way down a cobblestone path to the church of St. Catherine. The town, compressed into a narrow cannon, always offers new images and you are always guarantee to feel the spirit of its famous history and a strong medieval atmosphere. Once you get to know it, you will want to return again and again.


 Coat of Arms

TOP 5 SPOTS OF BANSKÁ ŠTIAVNICA 

 


5 NEW CASTLE

New Castle in the night
Slavomír Červeň

Its name is slightly misleading. It is not quite a castle and it definitely is not new (it dates to the 16th century). It stands on the Frauenberg hill as an anti-Turkish fortress and a warning tower simultaneously and has “guarded” Štiavnica for centuries. A reminder of the days when the famous Štiavnica, as the Treasury of Hungary, had to prepare itself from invasions of troops from Asia. Turkish troops. This function has remained until today. It is no longer a refuge from the rattling of Mohammedan weapons, but it is a reminder of its acclaimed defensive function in the form of a museum with the best views of the town´s medieval center.

4 BOTANICAL GARDEN

Mining Academy and entrance to Botanical Garden

In a town where you can only go up or down hill is a botanical garden full of mammoth sequoia, cedars of Lebanon and over 200 species of other plants and trees. Strolling across rolling hills through such a “forest” is the perfect way to relax. What´s more, the property is also home to the Forestry Academy which is part of the famous mining academy, founded by Her Majesty, empress Maria Theresa, as the first university of its kind in the world.

3 THE CALVARY OF ŠTIAVNICA

Štiavnica Calvary illuminated
Tomáš Mlynárik

When Jesuit František (Francis) Perger at some time in the middle of the 18th century fiercely promoted the building of this Calvary on a hill overlooking the entire valley of Štiavnica, he couldn´t have imagined the future negative attitude of the communist regime towards it. Their hatred and contempt fueled many attempts at destruction. Inevitable deterioration and neglect of the Calvary of Štiavnica “earned” it one of the top spots on the list of most endangered UNESCO sights in the world and Slovakia was on the verge of an international embarrassment. Luckily, Slovak natives and people who understand the importance of culture initiated a unique way to save this masterpiece so that today we are able to saunter uphill through nature, admiring the biblical illustration to bask in the sunrise or sunset over Banská Štiavnica as you reach the top of its amazing historical symbol – the Calvary.

2 OLD CASTLE

Old Castle area
letecké zábery

A medieval castle which has many “features” that are not common among castles of its kind: its own church, a medieval basilica, its own medieval cemetery, character of an anti-Turkish fortress and a beautiful Gothic courtyard and rooms for nobility at the same time. It is no wonder; today, the so-called Old Castle was rebuilt many times in its long history to serve a new function. A significant medieval character can be felt in every wall, hallway, brick, courtyard, arch or staircase of this compelling sight. In Štiavnica you will not find a dominant which represents it more than the Old Castle.

 

1 HOLY TRINITY SQUARE

Holy Trinity Square

A neuralgic point and the heart of the city. A place where medieval spirit embodies buildings such as the famous Berggericht, Jozef Kollár Gallery or the interior of the beautifully decorated church of St. Catherine. The atmosphere of this unique places (of course, placed upon a hill) is completed by the magnificent baroque Immaculata – the pillar of Holy Trinity after which the square is named.

 


ON THE MAP   

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Top 5 spots of Banská Štiavnica

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Old Castle (2): 48.459633, 18.891292
Štiavnica Calvary (3): 48.461710, 18.913822
New Castle (5): 48.455776, 18.896184
Botanical Garden (4): 48.459412, 18.899810
Holy Trinity: 48.459609, 18.892576


© Expedition Slovakia 2016 

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