The city of Banská Bystrica is the most important historical, cultural and economic centre of the central Slovakia (Slovak Republic). It is a seat of administration of the Banská Bystrica Region, one of the 8 regions of the Slovak Republic. Banská Bystrica is situated at the river Hron in the Zvolenská Lowland, close to the Kremnické Vrchy (Kremnické Mountains), Veľká Fatra (Big Fatra) and the Nízke Tatry (Low Tatras).
The first written reference about the city is from the year 1255, when it was inhabited by German colonists that settled down in this region. The city succeeded in getting a lot of royal privileges and from the 13-th century it had its own coat-of-arms.
After 1380 Banská Bystrica became a leader in a union of mining towns. At the beginning, gold and silver were mined here, but from the 14-th century it was especially copper, quicksilver and lead. After economic decline in the 15-th century the Thurzo-Fugger Company renewed the mining industry and exported copper to the Western European market.
In the 16-th century crafts and trade activities gained on importance. The first manufactures arose in the 18-th century. In the second half of the 19-th century they transformed into industrial factories that produced textile, blueprint, manufactured wood, cereals, beer and spirit. A very important development factor for the city was building a railway Zvolen - Banská Bystrica in 1873 and its enlargement to Podbrezová town in 1884.
Banská Bystrica is a municipal cultural reservation with a complex of objects that create a town's castle. In the centre, there is a Roman-Catholic church of Holy Mary, originally built in the Roman style in the 13-th century. It was rebuilt in the 14-th, 15-th and 16-th century. After it burned up in 1761 its interior gained late-baroque appearance. In the church, there is a precious side-altar of St. Barbora from Master Paul from Levoča, a gothic stone baptistery, a stone relief and side-altars of Maria Magdalena from the end of the 15-th century. Historical expositions are situated in Thurzo´s house, in the house of Dominik Skutecký and in The State Gallery. In the centre of the city is Square of Slovak National Uprising (Námestie SNP)
Other precious monuments in the city are: Matej´s House, Mining bastion, Slovak church, Parish bastion, Church of St. Elisabeth, Town-Hall, gothic and renaissance townsmen houses (Thurzo´s house, Benický´s house). Moreover, you can find here also a theatre of J. G. Tajovský.
During the World War II. on August 29, 1944, partisans liberated Banská Bystrica from the German occupation and the city became the centre of the Slovak National Uprising. The Slovak Army and guerrilla troops had the seat here and a guerrilla broadcaster transmitted from the city. The German Army occupied the city since October 27, 1944. They transported partisans into concentration camps in Germany. The local inhabitants and soldiers escaped into the Low Tatras mountains where they continued fighting against occupants.
In the citiy´s surroundings, there are some other historical monuments, worth to se: a wooden church in Hronsek village, a mansion in Dolná Mičiná, a castle in Slovenská Ľupča and unique sacral monuments in Čerín and Poníky villages. A mountain village Špania dolina, the jewel of folk architecture, reminds mining past of "copper Bystrica".
History of Banská Bystrica
1255 - Hungarian king Bela IV. Honored the settlement by turning Banská Bystrica into a town
1380 - Co-founding of The Association of Central-Slovak mining towns
1443 - The oldest articles of butchers guildship
1495 - Foundation of Thurzo-Fugger´s cooper company
1526 - Armed miners rising
1577 - K. Škultéty founded the first printing house
1590 - Willenberg´s view on the town
1605 - Guards of Š. Bočkaj invaded and plundered the town
1620 - G. Bethlen is crowned Hungarian king
1655 - The beginning of Radvanský jarmok (fair) tradition
1725 - First drapery manufactory
1766 - Zvolen Comitat Residence
1767 - One of the biggest fire in Europe
1776 - Residence of roman-catholic diocese
1785 - Publishing of periodical of first slovak scholarly society
1820 - Town´s hospital
1829 - Opening of first orphanage
1841 - Opening of the town´s theatre
1851 - Teaching slovak language at catholic gymnasium
1862 - Foundation of Jewish community
1889 - Foundation of the town´s museum
1890 - Establishment of Chamber of Commerce and Industry
1897 - First celebrations of May Day
1929 - Openting of National house with a theatre
1944 - Centre of Slovak National Uprising
1945 - Soviet and Romanian armies liberated Banská Bystrica
1955 - Establishing of The Museum of Slovak National uprising
1957 - Opening of an open-air swimming pool
1958 - Finishing of The stadium of Slovak National Uprising
1981 - F.D. Roosevelt´s hospital opening
1992 - Establishment of The Univeristy of Matej Bel
1994 - Reconstrucion of The námestie SNP (The square of Slovak National Uprising)
1997 - Establishment of The Academy of art
2005, 2006 - Reconstruction of the town castle Barbakan
Elevation: 362 m above sea level
Area of town: 103,37 km2
Location: 48° 44´ 74´´ of north latitude
19° 08´ 94´´ of east longitude
The number of inhabitants: 81 281
Population density [population per km2]: 786