Slovakia: Banska Stiavnica

Banska Stiavnica is a totally preserved medieval town in the central Slovakia that is probably one of the most beautiful towns I have seen. It is located on a very hilly terrain, such that no single street is horizontal and the entire town is a maze of ups and downs. It was the third largest town of the Hungarian Kingdom in the 18th century and one of the richest mining towns in Europe – silver ore is abundant around here as the town sits in the center of an ancient volcanic caldera. The riches of mining allowed for two castles to be built – Stary Zamak (Old Castle) in the center of town, and Novy Zamak (New Castle) on a hill overlooking the entire town, plus several churches and cathedrals, and magnificent houses lining the streets. It was one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sights in Europe.

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