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Banská Belá

THE CENTRAL Slovak town of Banská Belá lies within the UNESCO-protected area that includes the town's well-known neighbour, Banská Štiavnica, as well as Banská Hodruša, and many mining and technical monuments.

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THE CENTRAL Slovak town of Banská Belá lies within the UNESCO-protected area that includes the town's well-known neighbour, Banská Štiavnica, as well as Banská Hodruša, and many mining and technical monuments.

The first half of the 15th century was of key importance for Banská Belá, which separated economically and administratively from Banská Štiavnica at that time. This new-found independence allowed it to develop freely and do business on its own, something which Banská Hodruša never achieved. As early as 1453, Banská Belá became the smallest member in the union of seven central Slovak mining towns. It joined with Banská Štiavnica only in 1788, after mining activities in the region were curtailed.

Two churches on a hill dominate the town. St. John's Church is the oldest building in the village, dating back to the mid-13th century. Next to it is the Church of the Virgin Mary. This is said to be built over a mining tunnel in which some miners were trapped during an accident. To express their gratitude, the rescued miners built a chapel directly above the mine. In 1788 it was rebuilt into the church.

This Second World War-era postcard shows the roofed staircase leading to the church and belfry of St. John's Church.


By Branislav Chovan

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