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Banska Stiavnica

Banská Štiavnica (in German: Schemnitz) is a town in central Slovakia in the Štiavnické vrchy (Štiavnica Mountains). Population: 11,000 (1991). Seat of a district (okres). A very interesting completely preserved medieval town. The town and its surroundings were registered into the UNESCO List of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on December 11, 1993.

In the middle ages, for centuries, the main producer of silver and gold in Hungary (Slovakia was part of Hungary from the 11th century till 1918). Gun powder has been used here for the first time in the world in a mine (in 1627). Seat of the first Mining Academy in the world, which was founded in 1762 by Queen Maria Theresa from a Mining school founded in 1735 (in 1919, after the creation of Czechoslovakia, moved to Sopron in present-day Hungary ). In 1782, the third biggest town in Hungary (with 23,192 or incl. suburbs 40,000 inhabitants) after Bratislava and Debrecen. The mining activity started to decline in the second half of the 19th century.

See also: Slovakia, History of Slovakia