Photographer's Note

Banská Štiavnica is a town in central Slovakia, in the middle of an immense caldera created by the collapse of an ancient volcano. For its size, the caldera is known as Štiavnica Mountains. Banská Štiavnica has a population of more than 10,000. It is a completely preserved medieval minning town. Because of their historical value, the town and its surroundings were proclaimed by the UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993.

In the High and Late Middle Ages, the town was the main producer of silver and gold in the Kingdom of Hungary (Slovakia was part of that kingdom from the 11th century until 1918). The town was called “terra banensium” (the land of miners) as early as in 1156. The original Slovak population was joined by skilled German settlers who started arriving in the 13th century. Banská Štiavnica gained the status of a royal town in 1238, as one of the first towns in the Kingdom of Hungary.
The town was also a foremost center of innovation in mining industry. In 1627, gun powder was used here for the first time in the world in a mine. To drain water from the flooded mines, a sophisticated system of water reservoirs and channels, known as tajchy, was designed and built by the local scientists Jozef Karol Hell, Maximilian Hell, and Samuel Mikovíny in the 18th century. Tajchy not only saved the mines from being closed, but also provided energy for the early industrialization. In 1735, the first mining school in the country was founded there by Samuel Mikovíny. In the years 1762-1770, the Hofkammer in Vienna, with support from Queen Maria Theresa, transformed the school into the famous Mining Academy, creating the first technical university in the world.[1] In 1919, after the creation of Czechoslovakia, the Academy was moved to Sopron in Hungary. The student traditions of the Academy are still living in the "successors": University of Miskolc, and colleges in Sopron, Székesfehérvár, and Dunaújváros. In 1782, Banská Štiavnica was the third biggest town in the Kingdom of Hungary after Bratislava and Debrecen. But the town’s development was too closely linked to the mining activity which had been progressively declining since the second half of the 19th century.

On my picture you see a part of Trinity Square, main place of this beautiful city. From the right you may see a tower of the town hall, Saint Caterina church and on the hill a new castle.

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Additional Photos by Andrzej asd (Andrzej_HHH) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 400 W: 14 N: 348] (2480)
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