Banská Štiavnica is a mining town which can be found in the mountains in the center of the Štiavnica Mountains.
Sitno is the highest peak of the Štiavnica Mountains and represents a significant landscape dominant. From its top is a wide circular view. Štiavnica Mountains are abounded by nature trails, where you can admire the technical monuments (galleries, surface mining), but mainly the beautiful flora and fauna.
Written reports on mining gold and other metals in this city have been preserved since the 12th century. In 1238 Banská Štiavnica was granted the privileges of the royal town. This district was one of the most important producers of gold mining in Europe.
In 1735 the first mining school in Hungary territory was established in Banská Štiavnica and later, in 1762 the first mining academy and the first technical college in the world were established.
Empress Maria Theresa ordered the establishment of a school. It was the first technical university in the world and Banská Štiavnica became the center of development of mining science and technology in Europe. Numerous leadership in science and technology is associated with the names of professors from this school.
Later, the Mining and Forestry Academy was established in Banská Štiavnica, which trained mining experts who participated in the implementation of new mining methods and practices around the world.
The historical center of the town and the technical monuments in its surroundings were in 1993 included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as the first town in Slovakia.
Near to Banská Štiavnica, a unique mining water management system was built, consisting of water reservoirs – tajchas, which are currently popular summer holiday resorts. These lakes are incorporated into the picturesque mountainous nature of the Štiavnica Mountains.
Rumor of lizards
Banská Štiavnica has always been associated with mining. The legend of the lizards that gave the city its wealth and undying fame is passed on from generation to generation.
A long time ago shepherd John lived in this area. One day he drove the herd to grass. As he enjoyed a pleasant sunny day in the beautiful countryside, suddenly he saw two lizards on a large rock, but he had never seen it before. They shone with special light, as if they were forged from silver or gold. Shepherd John wanted to look at these extraordinary creatures better, but they hid under a rock. Curiosity did not give the shepherd, so he rolled the rock away. What he saw under the rock changed the history of this region. A huge lump of gold was hiding under a heavy rock.
The rumor of shepherd’s finding spread very quickly. People began to converge around and later formed whole mines and settlements. They built beautiful houses, churches, schools and gave birth to the famous town of Slovakia – Banská Štiavnica.