Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

I traveled to Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia, in the spring of 2008. I was traveling with a group representing Rotary International through the Group Study Exchange (GSE) program. Our stop in Banská Štiavnica, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, was brief but fascinating. One of the dominant cultural and historical attractions here is Calvary Banská Štiavnica, or Calvary Hill.

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This church complex is located on a hill and can be seen from miles around. Calvary’s middle chapel features a terrific ceiling painting. There are also several other smaller buildings and monuments on the site. When you turn around, the location offers a majestic view of the town below.

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According to UNESCO, Banská Štiavnica is Slovakia’s oldest mining town, and “its town seal of 1275 is the earliest known bearing a mining emblem.” I don’t recall if the picture below is of an official coat of arms for the town, but you can see mining tools prominently displayed on it. We also ran across reminders left behind by the town’s previous inhabitants.

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The pic below was taken on the town’s Trinity Square. The sculpture in the center is known as the Holy Trinity Column. According to Wikitravel, it was built to celebrate the end of a plague that had ravaged the town’s inhabitants in 1710 and 1711.

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Below is a questionably-artistic photo of Starý zámok, or the Old Castle. According to the aforementioned Wikitravel, structures on the site date back to the 13th century, and pieces of frescoes from the 14th century remain.

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The picture above was taken from the castle’s courtyard. It includes several religious markers, such as the one below.

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