March 26, 2013

0577 SLOVAKIA (Banská Bystrica) - Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity (UNESCO WHS)

Located in the middle of an immense caldera created by the collapse of an ancient volcano, Banská Štiavnica was a mining settlement since the time of the Celts (3rd century BC), being occupied afterwards by Romans, and then by the early Slavs, in 1156 the site being called terra banensium (the land of miners). Starting with 13th century skilled German settlers were joined the Slavic population, adopting for settlement the name Schemnitz.

 As one of the first towns in the Kingdom of Hungary, Banská Štiavnica gained the status of a royal town in 1238, and in the High and Late Middle Ages it was the kingdom's main producer of silver and gold. The old medieval mining centre grew into a town with Renaissance palaces, 16th-century churches, elegant squares and castles. It was also one of the most important centers of Protestant Reformation in the country, and a foremost center of innovation in mining industry.

In 1735 was founded there the first mining school in the Kingdom of Hungary, transformed afterwards into the Academy of Mining, becomed in 1848 'the first technical university in the world'. Today it's a completely preserved medieval town, and because "represent a unique symbiosis of the technical landscape and the urban environment resulting from its mineral wealth and the consequent prosperity that this engendered", it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993.

The heart of the town is the historical Trinity Square (Trojičné námestie) dominated by a monumental plague column. Among the major monuments, dating from the High Gothic to Baroque and later periods, are the Renaissance Old and New Castles, built to resist the Turkish invaders, Town Hall, churches of St Catherine (late Gothic), the Blessed Virgin Mary (neoclassical), and Blackfriars, dome of the Evangelical Church, buildings of the Mining Academy, and the Baroque Calvary complex on Scharfenberg hill. The whole surrounding area contains important remains of early mining and metallurgical operations, including 30 reservoirs and an elaborate series of dams.

About the stamp

The stamp, with the value of 0.90 EUR, is the choise of Slovakia Post for Europa Stamps 2012 (with the theme Visit...). Designed by Peter Augustovič and issued on May 4, 2012, it shows a part of the decoration of a second century BC Roman plate, one of the lanx diskos discovered in a tomb of a Germanic chief in Krakovany in the 1930s during excavations at the brickworks of Stráže. The decoration of silver plate depicted various stories from the beginning of Roman history; especially the events connected with the expulsion of the last Etruscan king in Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, in 509 BC.

Banská Štiavnica - Wikipedia
Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity - UNESCO official website
EUROPA 2012: "The Visit..." - POFIS

Sender 0577: Mircea Ostoia
Sent from Levoča (Prešov / Slovakia), on 10.10.2012
Photo: Peter Kladivik

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