City of central Slovakia
Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity
Mining and technology
Location and site
In the Carpathian Crescent, the town of Banska Stiavnica is at the centre of the Stiavnica mountains, a volcanic chain that is rich in minerals. Around the city, the World Heritage Site includes the old town of Glanzenberg, Stiavnicke Bane Horna Roven, and the Sitno Castle.
The town is constructed on a site of mineral exploitation. Its layout adapted to its difficult topography. The urban fabric is densest in the valley, around Trinity Square, and opens up towards the edges. The houses, mostly belonging to miners, are constructed on different levels and spaced out along the streets.
The landscape is both cultural and technical. In addition to the major Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical monuments, it is made up of remarkable burghers’ dwellings built between the 15th and 17th centuries. With the Renaissance palaces, these frame Trinity Square and surround the entrance to the tunnels. The Plague column, a Baroque monument, occupies the middle of the square. Numerous technical works also occupy the site; these include tunnels, dams, collecting canals, drainage galleries, reservoirs and open-air deposits. Archaeological sites are also sprinkled throughout the region.
Criterion (iv): The site is an exceptional example of a medieval mining centre of major economic importance that pursued its mining activities until the Modern period and adopted a distinctive and characteristic form.
Criterion (v): With the end of the mining activities and the relocation of the Mining Academy, this city lost much of its raison d’être and as a result has become very vulnerable.
- In the 12th century, fortifications dominated mount Glanzenberg. Set up on its slopes, the mining city of Banska Stiavnica was granted municipal privileges (1237-1238) by the King of Hungary, Bela IV. The region, which was filled with precious metal, had been linked to mining since the end of the Bronze Age (10th-8th centuries B.C.).
- The great prosperity of the 15th century was accompanied by an increase in urban density. A war which broke out following the death of King Albert of Hungary led to considerable destruction. The renewed architectural momentum that followed involved the construction of churches, a town hall, and Trinity Square.
- The slow decline of the at the end of the 15th century was accelerated by the miners’ revolt of 1525-1526. After the defeat of the Hungarians at Mohacs in 1526, the Turks advanced towards the mining towns. A system of fortifications was constructed to link the dispersed houses.
- The use of gunpowder for mineral exploitation in 1627 led to the exhaustion of the surface minerals, but this problem was quickly resolved. In the 18th century, Banska Stiavnica enjoyed its heyday as the heart of Europe’s mining region. The Mining Academy was founded there in 1762. Intense architectural activity, including a number of Baroque achievements, ensued.
- At the end of the 19th century, mining activity in the region ceased. The transfer of the Mining Academy to Hungary in 1919 put an end to the important role that Banska Stavnica had played in the teaching of this industry.
Ms. Nadezda Babiaková
Mesto Banská Stiavnica
Radnicné námestie 1
Banská Stiavnica, Slovak Republic
+ 421 (45) 694 9611
Ms. Henrieta Godová
Regional Development and International Relations
City of Banska Stiavnica
Radnicné námestie 1
Banska Stiavnica, Slovak Republic
00421 45 694 96 55 / 00421 905 825 404