Top Historic Sights in Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Explore the historic highlights of Banská Štiavnica

St. Catherine's Church

The Roman Catholic Church of St. Catherine was built in the years 1488-91 in late Gothic style. Its nave is topped by a star-shaped vault. The crypts below the church contain burial places of prominent citizens and vogts of the town. The surviving original Gothic inventory includes a stone baptismal font, a 15th-century cross, and a late Gothic sculpture of the Virgin Mary. The organ is from the end of the 18th century.
Founded: 1488-1491 | Location: Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Banská Stiavnica Town

The town of Banská Štiavnica and the technical monuments in its vicinity represent a unique symbiosis of the technical landscape and the urban environment resulting from its mineral wealth and the consequent prosperity that this engendered. Banská Štiavnica is the oldest mining town in Slovakia; its town seal of 1275 is the earliest known bearing a mining emblem. It lies on the steep slopes of the Glanzenberg and Par ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Starý Zámok

Starý zámok (literally Old Castle) is well preserved castle complex built in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was embedded to the church of Our Lady from the 13th century. The first documented mention dates from 1486. The church was damaged by earthquake in 1443 and the reconstruction to the fortress was made between 1495-1515 against the Turkish threat. The last significant restoration on the defense complex ...
Founded: 1495-1515 | Location: Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Nový Zámok

Nový zámok (literally 'New Castle') is a six-floor Renaissance building with four bastions. It was constructed in 1564–1571 as a watch tower during the Ottoman wars. Because of its dominant position, it was also used as the town"s live clock (exact time was announced every quarter of an hour on a trumpet). A permanent exhibition called Anti-Turkish Wars in Slovakia is installed on four ...
Founded: 1564–1571 | Location: Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Sitno Castle Ruins

Sitno castle was built in the 13th century on the site of a primeval fortified castle. It has been in ruins since the 18th century. It is located in to the Sitno, the tallest mountain of the Štiavnické vrchy Mts., (1,009 m). The restored view tower from 1727 is now available to hikers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.