Idea # 243 – Visit the town of Banská Štiavnica Slovakia
Banska Stiavnica is the most important mining old town of Slovakia; the blazon of the city, which dates 1275, is the oldest on which we find the symbol of the mine. The city is situated on the abrupt slopes of Glanzenberg in mounts Paradajz. The fields of gold were exploited from the end of the bronze age, in the Xth century before J.C. then later during the Iron Age, to the ” big Moravian period “, in the IXth century AD. Is almost certain, and continued during the Middle Ages. A document of 1156 makes a reference by quoting there “the land of the miners” when miners come from Tirol settled down in this region. Banska Stiavnica acquired the status of city and mining concession by Adalbert IV during the first half of the XIIIth century.
According to a legend, two salamanders covered with glitter of gold and with silver had met in front of the miners, indicating them a golden vein which made the wealth of the city. The XVth century lives the beginning of a remarkable prosperity for the region; installations of defense were built around the city, the parochial church was reconstructed and strengthened and numerous new residences were reconstructed. The Place of the Trinity, at the heart of the city, is significant this whole period. However, the beginning of a slow decline at the end of the XVth century, owed essentially to problems of supply of mines in water and to price drop of precious metals, aggravated the political difficulties.
The technological progress continued and in 1627, Banska Stiavnica was the first place where the gunpowder was used in mines, what constituted a real progress. Paradoxically, this technique contributed to the economic decline quickly by exhausting fields. However, important works in the field of the application of the hydro-electric power and the ancillaires processes in the mining of big depth were realized in the XVIIIth century.
During this period, which lives an increase of the profitability of the mining activity and during which Banska Stiavnica became the first center of exploitation of precious metals of the empire of the Hapsburg, of numerous metallurgists and engineers native of whole Europe worked in this city. Banska Stiavnica was also from the end of the XVIth century an important European center of formation in mining technics : the Academy of Mines, created in 1762-1764 was the most important of all the Austria Hungary Empire.
With the interruption of the mining activity at the end of the XIXth century, the city kept its ascendancy regarding formation until the Academy is transferred to Sopron in Hungary after the World War I. The current vestiges are rather very damaged, and the city is in a state which requires of true restoration. Let’s go underground.
Where is it ?
Stiavnica Banska, Slovakia