The Banská Bystrica town castle was once formed by several ancient buildings. Its task was to protect the income proceedings of copper and silver mining for the royal treasury.
The town castle was built gradually. The parish church was built as the first structure in the 13th century and fortifications were added to it in the 15th century. Earth ramparts and palisades were later replaced by tall stone walls fortified by bastions and a water dike. In the 16th century, the Turkish threat called for further fortifications. Only a quarter of the original town walls and three bastions - Farská (Parish), Banícka (Mining), and Pisárska (Scriveners) - of the original four have survived.
The castle's surrounding area includes not only a parish church and fortifications, but also the Church of the Holy Cross - Slovak Church, which was built in 1452, as well as a barbican with a tower. It used to be the entry gate to the castle. The barbican acquired its present Baroque facade after fire in 1761. Between 2005-2006 the barbican was restored again.
The castle also features Matej's House (Matejov dom), which was built in the 15th century in the late Gothic style, and the Old Town Hall - Praetorium which, for its part, was originally designed in the Gothic style, but later was reshaped into a Renaissance building. The latter is currently home to the Central Slovakia Gallerywhich holds graphic biennials plus a variety of temporary exhibitions on a regular basis.References:
Kerameikos was the potters" quarter of the city, from which the English word 'ceramic' is derived, and was also the site of an important cemetery and numerous funerary sculptures erected along the road out of the city towards Eleusis.
The earliest tombs at the Kerameikos date from the Early Bronze Age (2700-2000 BC), and the cemetery appears to have continuously expanded from the sub-Mycenaean period (1100-1000 BC). In the Geometric (1000-700 BC) and Archaic periods (700-480 BC) the number of tombs increased; they were arranged inside tumuli or marked by funerary monuments. The cemetery was used incessantly from the Hellenistic period until the Early Christian period (338 BC until approximately the sixth century AD).
The most important Athenian vases come from the tombs of the Kerameikos. Among them is the famous “Dipylon Oinochoe”, which bears the earliest inscription written in the Greek alphabet (second half of the eighth century BC). The site"s small museum houses the finds from the Kerameikos excavations.