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Banská Bystrica


General Information

Official Sign of Banská BystricaBanská Bystrica lies in the heart of Slovakia. According to the last census the population of Banská Bystrica is approximately 90000. The city is situated in the valley of the third longest Slovak river Hron. It is surrounded by the Nízke Tatry (Low Tatras), the Veľká Fatra (Greater Fatra) and the Kramnické vrchy.

German settlers in medieval times helped make Banska Bystrica rich and famous with their advanced mining techniques for gold, silver and copper. Ironically, in the modern era this city – Slovakia’s third largest — is best known for its heroic struggle against the Germans during World War II. The Slovak National Uprising of 1944 took the lives of 30,000 Slovaks – men, women and children. Be sure to visit the museum commemorating the uprising.

The glory days of mining from the 14th-17th centuries left an architectural legacy of gothic and renaissance-era patrician mansions, plus churches ranging from Romanesque to baroque. The historic part of the city huddles around a beautifully restored medieval marketplace, now called Square of the Slovak National Uprising (namestie SNP). Come and relax in one of the many cafés around the square. Home of one of Slovakia’s leading universities, Banska Bystrica sparkles with the energy of youth.

Banská Bystrica Town Districts

  • Trosky
  • Radvaň
  • Rakytovce
  • Uľanka
  • Jakub
  • Kostiviarska
  • Šalková


Map


History

History of Banská Bystrica started to progress when the mining of gold and copper exploded. Banská Bystrica was mentioned for the first time in 1255, when the town received rights to extraction of raw materials (iron, silver and gold) from Hungarian kind Bela IV.

Life in the city grew along with the increasing mining activities. The royal privileges attracted new German immigrants, miners in the second half of the 13th century. From this period is the Romanesque Church of the Assumption. In 1452 was built next to this church the Church of the Holy Cross, which was built by the Slovak citizens below the city walls. This formed a castle complex with the Town Hall, Barbican and battlements.

Wealthy citizens have built spectacular houses in Gothic and Renaissance style. In 1589 the city was completely over-built by stone walls to protect the city and the citizens against the enemy invasions of Turks (around 1526). Remains of the city walls and fortifications have been preserved till today. Due to the city location, its rich history and a lot of medieval relics, Banská Bystrica became one of the most important and most beautiful cities in Slovakia.

Another very important chapter in the city’s history was written during the World War II. Banská Bystrica was the center of anti-fascist resistance, political and military center of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP = Slovenské Národné Povstanie) in 1944. The symbol of this period is a memorial to the SNP with a very unusual architectonical structure.


Transport

Coloured public buses and trolleys cover most of the town, linking the suburbs to the city. Tickets are sold by driver where entering the bus, but chip smart card could be used for a payment for city transport since september 2000.

After buying ticket at the beginning of the journey, ticket becomes personalised and untransferable, it must be kept until the end of the journey, and must be shown on request of the control staff. Route information and timetables are freely available on every bus station.


Sights

Banská Bystrica Castle (City Castle)

Banská Bystrica CastleCity Castle of Banská Bystrica (Mestský hrad) is a characteristic dominant and symbol of the historical center of Banská Bystrica. It is a national cultural monument.

The City Castle was built alongside the existing mining settlement that preceded the establishment of the city. Already in those days there was the Parish church of the Virgin Mary, which became the center of the new fortress in the Middle Ages. Its main function was to protect the revenues from the extraction of precious metals, particularly copper and silver, and the royal treasury.

The castle was the seat of representative of King and the church, and meetings of the city council. Separate buildings were linked together by common fortification, which protected the patriciate against the external enemies and internal strife, especially in the mining riots.

The area of the City Castle consist of the Church of Our Lady, Matej’s House, so-called Slovak church, Town Hall, Parish building and stone fortification with bastions, the gateway with barbican. The oldest building is the late-Romanesque Parish Church of Our Lady from the second half of the 13th century, Originally, it was surrounded by a cemetery, where was a Romanesque charnel-house till the 19th century.

Burgenses of the city, inspired by the castle in Kremnica, fortified the area around the Parish church in the last third of the 15th century and built other buildings belonging to the government of the mining towns – Gothic house of King Matej (called Matej’s House) was built in 1479, the Town Hall was built around 1500 and shortly before was finished the Church of Holy Cross (also called as the Slovak church).

The fortification consisted of a tall stone wall and circular bastions. The most important part of the fortification was the gateway to the barbican (finished in 1512), which entered by two gates for the wagons and for walking. At that time, the church has undergone an expensive reconstruction, which documents a preserved oratory with a Gothic cross vault, the side St. Barbara Chapel and the late-Gothic altar of Master Pavol of Levoča and a late-Gothic bronze baptismal font from the Master Jodok.

The interior of the church in those days was very valuable, the main altar made by Master Pavol of Levoča, regrettably it was devastated in a fire in 1761. In 1767 the main altar was replaced by Baroque altar with images from important Austrian painter J. L. Kracker. Crashed vault was replaced by a Baroque one, with an illusory architectural fresco in the presbytery made by A. Schmidt in 1767-1770. From this period come the typical silhouettes with copper onion roof.

Later, the Town Hall became a part of the City castle. In the second third of the 16th century, the Town Hall has undergone several modifications, which changed it character. In 1564-1565 Master Peregrinus changed its façade, including the late-Gothic loggias and the building finished with attic with swallow-tail.

The entire area of the City Castle has undergone an extensive reconstruction in 2005. In the castle there is café and restaurant, since 2009.

Matej’s House

Matej’s House (Matejov dom) was built in 1479 inside of the City Castle and was integrated into the Mining Bastion. It is a four-storey building built in a close proximity to the Slovak church.

The rooms are mainly flat, some rooms on the ground and first floor have barrel vault. The façade has a dating (year 1479), embossed stone coats of arms of Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Aragon and the city coat of arms. The façade is decorated with stone balcony. During the 16th and 17th century were in the Mining Bastion placed cannons to protect the City Castle from the north.

Then the building served as a store of gunpowder and grain. There was a grain mill in the 16th century, so the bastion was also called Mlynská (Mill). In 1907-1909 was the Matej’s House restored and was opened the first museum exhibition. Nowadays, Matej’s House is under a complex reconstruction.

The aim of the comprehensive reconstruction is to create an air-conditioned museum depository in the attic and top floor. The first three floors of the Matej’s House and the reconstructed Mining Bastion interior will provide a permanent history exhibition. Pleasant café rooms will be created on the ground floor. The aim of the whole reconstruction is to create a modern museum building.

The new permanent exhibition includes 2,863 collection objects of the Central Slovak Museum. In the Matej’s House, there was established a treasury with the most precious collections, archeology with the replica of Slavonic sunken and collection of medieval tiles and gun-room presents the collection of weapons. There are rooms devoted to important personalities and mayors of Banská Bystrica, the rich history of craft represents over 700 artefacts. Exhibition of the Gothic sculptures and paintings has Slovak and European importance.

Thurzo’s House

Thurzo’s House (Thurzov dom) is one of the oldest preserved temporal buildings in Banská Bystrica. It is a two-storey Renaissance building built on earlier Gothic foundations.

The house is finished with an attic and covered with a Renaissance façade. The building appears in archival sources already in 1495, when mining miners John Thurzo of Betlanovce bought two houses in Banská Bystrica and linked them together. On the square has arisen the representative arm of coat of Matthias Corvinus on the Green Hall vault of Thurzo’s House, which became the seat of the Thurzo-Fugger company.

On the ground and the first floor are two rooms with wooden beamed ceilings. On the ground floor of the house is a unique room with barrel vault, with frescoes from the second half of the 15th century, also called the Green hall. Dating is based on two coats of arms, belonging to King Matthias Corvinus and his wife Beatrix of Aragon, placed on the top of the vault.

Walls of the Green Hall are decorated with plant motifs and figural scenes – Dance with the bear, St. George fighting the dragon, Daniel’s dream and discovering the precious metal, and others.

During the years 2005-2007 the room has undergone complex restoration works to save endangered rare fresco paintings. The restoration team, led by academic painter Joseph Dorica, consisted of experts. Efficient technological wall cleaning procedure was used in Slovakia for the first time. The Green Hall was inaugurated on 18 April 2007.

At the present, in the house is the social-science exhibition of the Central Slovak Museum. The exhibition documents the history of Banská Bystrica and Banská Bystrica region. To the social-science fund belong archeological, historical, artistic, numismatic and ethnographic subjects.

Monument to the Slovak National Uprising

Obelisk Banská BystricaSymbol of the Slovak National Uprising – Obelisk or SNP Monument (Pamätník SNP) is one of the most important monuments in Slovakia, which reminds Slovaks about the period of World War II and the Slovak National Uprising, which center was Banská Bystrica. The monument is a work of art of architect Dušan Kuzma and was finished in 1969.

The building itself is located on the east away from the center of Banska Bystrica. It is situated on the surface fracture in the vicinity of the town fortification. The placement was suggested by Milan Kodoň and Emanuel Hruška in 1957.

Surrounding of the building is loosely governed greenery area in the proposed urban space. The building is entered by stairs. The staircase is opened, wide and without railings. The building combines the memorial and museum in one monumental form. It comprises a horizontal base and organic matter.

SNP Museum was founded on 8th of May 1955 by adding to the Institute of the Slovak National Uprising, which was already established in December 1947. Currently, the building houses a museum and archive of development of Slovak society in the period 1918-1948, focusing on anti-fascist resistance and the Slovak National Uprising. The institution has a nationwide and international coverage and performs professional-methodical, consultative a coordinating activities. The museum has available 66,956 pieces of museum collections and 137,157 pieces of archival collections. A part of it is an archive focusing on museum work and the period 1938-1945. There is also a library with 20,000 bibliographical units.

On 27th of August 2004, a permanent exhibition was created, focusing on the presentation of crucial political, military and social events in Slovakia in 1918-1948. This collection is the largest collection with its theme, content and materials. During the year, the museum also presents short-term exhibitions of various themes.

Church of the Assumption

Church of the Assumption (Kostol nanebovzatia panny Márie), also called German, is the dominant of the city of Banská Bystrica. The church was built in the 13th century on the older foundations of Roman basilica with squared sanctuary by the German burghers, mine owners.

The fortification around the church was already mentioned in 1442. Since this time, the church has undergone several reconstructions. To the south side of the church was built the St. Andrew Chapel and Body of Christ Chapel in 1473 and in 1480 was built the Chapel of St. John the Baptist. Even the north side was rebuilt to a chapel consecrated to St. Barbara, the patroness of the miners, in 1478.

After a devastating fire in 1500 the church obtained after the reconstruction sponsored by the richest miners a new appearance. In 1761 was again a huge fire in the city, one of the largest fires in the contemporary Europe, which destroyed over 300 houses.

The main altar made by Master Pavol of Levoča, which was taller than in Levoča, has turned to ashes. Only the statue Christ on the Mount of Olives escaped. In the interior preserved a bronze baptismal font, which was made by Master Jodok in 1475 and oratorio of St. John Almuznik above the sacristy made in 1516. The Chapel of St. Barbara, known for the late-Gothic altar of Master Pavol, which was finished in 1509, remained intact. In the chapel is an admirable original vault and frescoes of saints: Vojtech, Martin, Hieronym, Imrich and Ladislav.

Baroque painting arches is the work of Anton Schmidt (1770). On the main altar are two paintings – Assumption and the Holy Trinity painted by J. L. Kracker in 1774. Liturgical objects from the 17th and 18th century are valuable church treasures, among them stands out a chalice from the middle of the 18th century made by goldsmith J. Szilássy.


Restaurants

Asian Restaurant Bangkok

  • Addess: Horná 39
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 53 34

Bašta Café

  • Address: Kapitulská 23
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 62 81

Cechová Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie SNP 6
  • Tel: 00421/48/415 66 66

Tea 42

  • Address: Horná strieborná 8
  • Tel: 00421/48/415 50 39

Červený Rak Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie SNP 13
  • Tel: 00421/48/415 38 82

Fishmen Restaurant

  • Address: Dolná 5
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 51 05

Fontána Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie SNP 18
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 38 91

Gazdovská Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie Slobody
  • Tel: 00421/48/414 17 34

Hungária Restaurant

  • Address: Horná 25
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 34 52

Koliba u Sv.Krištofa Restaurant

  • Address: Uľanská cesta 170
  • Tel: 00421/48/419 81 51

LaGiara Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie SNP 17
  • Tel: 00421/48/415 67 89

Pizzeria Alba

  • Address: Horná 16
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 37 48

Pizzeria Evijo

  • Address: Námestie SNP 8
  • Tel: 0042148/415 27 52

Quatro Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie Š. Moyzesa 7
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 31 12

Slovenská Pivnica (Slovak Cellar)

  • Address: Lazovná 18
  • Tel: 00421/48/415 50 36

Starobystrická Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie SNP 9
  • Tel: 00421/48/415 43 26

U Komediantov Restaurant

  • Address: Horná Strieborná 13
  • Tel: 00421/48/415 31 85

U Tigra Restaurant

  • Address: Dolná 36
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 49 19

Zlatý Bažant Restaurant

  • Address: Námestie SNP 11
  • Tel: 00421/48/412 45 10


Theatres

  • Bábkové divadlo na rázcestí – Skuteckého 14
  • Divadlo z pasáže – Horná strieborná 25
  • d44 – Lazovná 9


Museums

  • Museum of the Slovak National Uprising(Múzeum slovenského národného povstania) – Kapitulská 23
  • Museum of Literature and Music next to the National Science Library (Literárne a hudobné múzeum pri ŠVK) – Lazovná 9
  • Museum of Post (Poštové múzeum) – Partizánska cesta 9
  • Central Slovak Museum – Thurz’s house (Stredoslovenské museum – Thurzov dom) – Thurzov dom, Námestie SNP 4
  • Central Slovak Museum – Tihanyi Castle(Stredoslovenské múzeum – Tihanyiovský kaštieľ) – Radvanská 27

Central Slovak Museum

City Museum, predecessor of today’s Central Slovak Museum (Stredoslovenské museum), was established in 1889 in Banská Bystrica. The museum exhibited three-dimensional objects allocated from the archive.

Development of the museum was provided by the members of Banská Bystrica historical and archeological society. Collections of archeology, history, ethnography, religious and artistic history were extended by donations from citizens and purchases. Their effort culminated in 1909, when the museum exhibition was opened in Matej’s House.

The Central Slovak Museum focuses mainly on the central and southern parts of Central Slovak region. Conscious research enriched the collections of archeological from the Slavic population in the Zvolen basin. Among the unique items belongs the bronze aquamanille of Veľké Čalomije (13th century), Romanesque stone baptismal font of Babiná (13th century), head of St. John the Baptiste of Tajov and other.

The museum currently manages 38,427 collections, what are 127,816 objects, what mean 10,459 science units and 27,968 social-science units. In two exposures there are 4,404 artefacts exhibited.

The social-science exhibition is located in Thurzo’s House since 1958. Thurzo family linked together two originally Gothic houses in the late 15th century. The external Renaissance appearance with graphite façade is the result of a reconstruction from the end of the 16th century. After an extensive reconstruction, the house is in the administration of the museum since 1954.

Through the most valuable collections the museum opens up the history of central and southern parts of Central Slovakia from prehistoric times until today. Attention attracts mainly the treasure of bronze objects of Vyškovce and findings from the Slavic period.

Museum of Folk Dance

Museum of folk dance (Muzeum ľudového tanca) is a unique institution, which was established in the center of the living folklore of the region of Banská Bystrica. Its establishment by the municipality of Banská Bystrica in 2007 is a rare manifestation of national awareness and respect for own traditions.

Museum of folk dance is a unique independent institute of the Central Slovak Museum. There is no similar institution in the Central Europe. The museum focuses on basic research of all kinds of expression of folk dance in Slovakia (or in the Banská Bystrica region), and in the broader, whether regional, social, ethnical and other context.

The museum carries transcripts and transcriptions of existing archival audio and audiovisual materials made by other institutions and individuals. Using modern techniques and good digitizing equipment, professionals prevent these materials against their definite devaluation. The museum also implements professional storage and protection of archival materials, keeps records of movements of archival materials and documents.

Another work of the museum is the direct research of the folklorism in terrain and all the manifestations of organized folklore in the Banská Bystrica region. The museum also devotes to the presentation activities of obtained audio and audiovisual materials in the context of a particular theme of modern short-term or long-therm exposure.


Galleries

  • Art & Antik Magnat – Lazovná 3
  • Teo Gallery – Národná 6
  • Galéria v podkroví (Gallery in the Attic) – Lazovná 9
  • Stredoslovenská galéria (Middleslovak Gallery) – Dolná 8


Cinemas

  • Europa Cinemas – Na troskách 25


Clubs

Pubs & Bars

  • Helldorado Pub – Dolná 32
  • Piano Bar – Námestie SNP 2
  • Červený Rak Beerhouse – Námestie SNP 13


Shopping

  • Europa SC (Europa Shopping Centre) – Na troskách 25
  • Kaufland – 29. augusta 63


Tourist Information Centre

Nám. SNP 14
974 01 Banská Bystrica
Tel.: +421/48/41 55 085
E-mail: ic@banskabystrica.sk
WWW: www.icbb.sk, www.kisbb.sk

2 Responses to Banská Bystrica

  1. rick krego January 18, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Hi I am trying to search family history my great grandfather was born in Or. Jasanica he died there june 17 1914.my grandfather josef Kriz born there in 1865 march 3,my great grandmother was helena lovastik I am looking for more info and on a zofia kriz born april 20 1870 ,matus kriz born 7 dec 1867 and jan kriz may 24 1862 thanks ric krego mail 6530 eagle rd vernon bc canada V1H1W4

    [Reply]

    Slovak-Republic.org replies:

    I am afraid we can’t help you. Pls, try some Slovak genealogy websites.

    [Reply]

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