[WORLDKINGS] Exceptional places around the world (P.173) - Banska Stiavnica (Slovakia) : Historic mining town inside the old huge volcano


(WorldKings.org) This historic town glittered with silver and gold in its day. But Banská Štiavnica stands out not just for the valuable metals unearthed here for centuries. The region was home to some of Europe's most influential mining engineers, whose techniques have been replicated across the world. The region is a trove of natural and cultural riches, which tell the story of an important industrial settlement.

In the Middle Ages, Banská Štiavnica was the main producer of silver and gold for the Kingdom of Hungary. By the 18th century, it was the biggest mining centre in the Habsburg Monarchy. The establishment of the first educational institution in Europe dedicated to technology—the Mining and Forestry Academy, founded in 1762—marks the importance of this town as a hub for this empire-driving industry.

Workers risked their lives excavating precious metals in the region’s mines for centuries. Facing the constant threat of floods, collapses, and fires, miners were superstitious and careful to follow strict rules—like not whistling—to protect themselves. Above ground, however, life was opulent for those who made fortunes from the mines and the miners' labor. Evidence of this way of life can be seen in the collection of elegant castles and palaces filling the town's centre.

Banská Štiavnica's historic architecture and engineering works have been well-preserved, and the town is a lively cultural hub offering stunning views of the surrounding Štiavnica Mountains. Don't miss the chance to explore the remaining underground mining shafts, where you will descend with your helmet and lantern into the illuminated tunnels—past mediaeval tools and equipment—and get a taste of what life was like for the workers. After visiting the mines, you will be ready for a swim in a 'Tajch'. These artificial water reservoirs were built in order to provide energy for mines and are now popular recreational areas for swimming in the summer, and ice skating in the winter.

According to visitworldheritage.com

Mihan (Collect and edit) (World Records Union - WorldKings.org)


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