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Banska Bystrica

    Banská Bystrica    Banská BystricaThe city Banská Bystrica is one of the most beautifully situated cities in Slovakia. It is picturesque located in the valley Zvolenka kotlina surrounded with following mountains: Kremnica mountains, High Fatra, Low Tatra and Slovak Ore Mountains. The second-longest river in Slovakia, called Hron, flows through the city.

Historical events:

Originally slavic agrarian and mining village has benn inhabited by german guests, who came here individually already in 12th century, but to greater extend after the Mongol invasion in 1241. In 1255 the king of Hungary Béla IV. from Árpád dynasty  granted the village municipal priviliges.  In 1494-1546 operated here the Thurzo-Fugger company called Ungarischer Handel (Hungarian trade) founded by Jacob Fugger, also known as Jacob Fugger the Rich, the major merchant, enterpreneur and bankier in Europe  and by Jan Thurzo, mining engineer born in Levoča. The company had become the leading company in Europe on the field of mining, metallurgy and metal trade. The copper from the surrounding of Banska Bystrica was distributed to the ports of Baltic Sea Gdańsk and Szczecin and from there through Antwerp to Lisbon, whereit was important Portugese trade good exported to India. The copper was also distributed to the copper market in Venice through Wiener Neustadt and Adriatic ports Trieste and Senj. At that time the slovak copper represented 40% from European copper mining.

In 1620 at the meeting of Diet of Hungary in our city was Gabriel Bethlen, prince of Transylvania elected to be king of Hungary.  Gabriel Bethlen refused to be crowned king.

In 1776 the city became the seat of Roman-Catholic Diocese of Banská Bystrica. During World War II. on 29th august 1944 the city became a centre of Slovak National Uprising.

In 2000 visited our city prince Charles and on 12th september 2003 on our main square celebrated the Pope John Paul II the Holy Mass.


Places of interest:

Areal of the city castle

- the areal of the city castle consists of more buildings. Sure it is worthy to see inside of the Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, called also german church. The most valuable in interior is carved wooden winged St. Barbara altar from 1509 from the carving workshop of the famous Master Paul of Levoča. Very interesting is also the bronze baptismal font made by Master Jodok in 1475. The Gothic curved-ribbed vault in the Chapel of John the Merciful, one of the most developed and effective demonstration of Late-Gothic vaults in middle slovak former mining cities, was constructed by  Anton Pilgram, moravian master builder, who was later a leader of building workshop at St. Stephen church in Vienna. Similar vault can be seen also in Vienna.

- other buildings in the castle area  - the Matthias House - today very nice museum (history of the city, guilds, Gothic, significant personalities... ), Church of the Holy Cross, called also Slovak church, three preserved bastions, Old City Hall and entry to the area of castle - barbican with tower.


Slovak National Uprising square 

- the dominant building on the square is the leaning Clock Tower. In good weather u can climb the tower for magnificent view of surrounding mountains. St. Francis Xavier Church had been built at the end of 17th and the beginning of 18th century by Jesuits and after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Banska Bystrica was established here, the church became a Cathedral.  The four-storey Thurzo House with attic  and facade with sgraffito was in the past owned by Jan Thurzo and it was one of more seats of the Thurzo-Fugger company. In interiour there is a "green hall" with frescos propably from 1480, the hall can be visited by visiting the Middle Slovak Museum.

Extremely beautiful is Beniczky House with loggia with arcades, Renaissance stucco and paintings. Interesting is also late Renaissance Bay window of the Ebner house - with many figures from Old Testament and ancient Rome.  There is also the house - seat of Roman Catholic Diocese on the square.

Street called Dolná ulica

- on this street u can find the house, where  Gabriel Bethlen was elected to king of Hungary.  Interesting in the St. Elisabeth Church (today St. Anna Chapel) is the altarpiece painted by Joseph Murgas. He was born in Tajov, originator of wireless information transmission.

Areal of Slovak National Uprising Monument

- in this areal u can see part of origin stone wall, which was in the past around the whole city and two corner bastions, which had been built till 1589. There is also the Slovak National Uprising Monument here, built to the 25th aniversary of the SNA with permanent exposition from the history of fights against fascists. Near the monument is also open-air exhibition of the heavy weapons from the World War II and an aircraft.

Dominik Skutecky Villa

- Dominik Skutecký (1849-1921) was born in Gajary near Malacky. He studied painting in Vienna and Munich. He worked in Venice. 1889 he moved to Banska Bystrica. His house in New Renaissance style had been built according his design and today is there permanent exhibition od Middle Slovak Gallery.

Tihányi Mansion

- secession mansion, in the past seat of family Tihanyi, today place of natural sciences and natural scientific museum of Middle Slovak Museum. It is located in city part Radvaň.


Did u know that:

- in Banska Bystrica was born the architect Ladislav Hudec, who worked as architect in Shanghai - his masterpiece is considered to be the 22-storeys Park Hotel Shangai. The building in Art Deco Style was the tallest building in Shanghai until 1983, but long time it was the tallest building in Asia too.

- in Banska Bystrica was born  Karol Ludovit Libay (1814-1888), excellent world famous artist and graphic artist. He studied at academy in Vienna in the drawing class and in the landscape class. 1851 -1852 on behalf of archduke Johann of Austria made Libay a tour through the Italy to document the most beautiful places there.  1855 he accompanied one count on the tour to Egypt. 1857 were in Vienna published his phantastic egyptian water colors and drawings - partly litographed by Rudolf Alt. For these water coloured lithographs he was awarded in Berlin - because of accuracy and reality of painting - as the first person he got the new created Humboldt Award.

The city sightseeing is to be planned well to see also the interior of Parish Church.



Pictures see Impresie Banská Bystrica




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