Banska Stiavnica Travel Guide
Member Reviews (1)
- Banska StiavnicaFirst to ReviewSep 17, 2012
This is by all means one of the most amazing places on earth. At least for me. Sitting on the hills with old mines underneath, surrounded with forest, it has very strong presence of Genius Loci. As soon as you enter the town, you can feel captivating atmosphere. I always get goose bump.
Small curving streets and alleys going up and down, with surprisingly stunning views from every curve. I usually take walks on different hill and I always discover new point of view.
Mix of architectural beauties from different eras shows how town was flourishing through out the centuries. You need to go in to the small alley to discover more, not only main road.
More of the hidden gems can be found on steep hills surrounding the place, so good shoes are a must. There is completely different world up there between old houses of miners. Some of them still have carved passage to the mines directly from inside their home.
You can visit a botanical garden, housing rare and exotic trees planted in 19th century. Its a park surround old school and entrance is free.
Around 50 lakes created in the past to help mining industry are today providing refreshing dip in hot summer days. THey vary in size and closest one is just above the main square. You need to walk for about 10 mins and follow the road which slowly turnes in to a path.
There are few museums, some dedicated to local trade of mineralogy and mining history, art gallery, Old castle, New castle- watch tower/fort with historical exposition from times of ottoman occupation, Calvary with baroque reliefs, near by old mine in Stiavnicke Bane where you can go down with helmet and old lantern and have real experience, and many other interesting sites.
Town lives on the weekends and especially in the summer when pub and cafe visiting crowd spills on the streets, squares and staircases. Many festivals take place through out the year not only in Banska Stiavnica but also in neighboring towns and villages - St Anton with hunting chateau, which host hunting fest every year dedicated to St Hubert. Chateau itself with surrounding park is definitely worth visiting.
Famous festival in Banska Stiavnica is Salamander days and it takes place in beggining of september. It s a celebration of local history and was started by student of local mining academy. It has been taking place for almost a century. City hotels are fully booked during this time so its better to reserve wasy ahead. Other festivals are dedicated to traditional crafts, mineralogy, music Jazz, folklore, Bach, classical, Live chess, poetry and theatre.
Artists are constantly attracted by this place seeking inspiration. Many of them moved here and are now part of the local scene. they usually hang out in Art cafe which has small outdoor stage and host many performances, or Archanjel cafe, which takes over opposite staircase next to the statue, where people sip their wine or beer sitting on cusions among candle lights. It s a very friendly place situated right on the main road.
Restaurants to be visited are Kachelman and Erb. Erb is local microbrewery where you can see beer production and have a meal upstairs accompanied by any of their fresh beers or see performance in small theatre in the attic. In the summer you can sit on a terrace overlooking old jewish synagogue. Food is mostly local and traditional and dishes are chosen to go well with beer. Roasted pork knee is a must. For your morning wake up call or just hang out and watch people pass by, Green cafe on elevated "trattoire" on main road is great. Love their hot dark chocolate.
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Aliases: Banská Štiavnica