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The Golden Age of Gelnica

THE HISTORICAL Spiš region is full of beautiful monuments that recall its past. Gelnica, an ancient mining town, is undoubtedly among the most interesting.

THE HISTORICAL Spiš region is full of beautiful monuments that recall its past. Gelnica, an ancient mining town, is undoubtedly among the most interesting.

Despite originally being a Slovak settlement, it did not start to flourish until the arrival of German colonists from Bavaria.

Gelnica reached its heyday in the 15th and 16th centuries, when gold, silver, copper and iron ore were mined in its surroundings. At that time, the Thurzos family, which owned one of the most powerful Slovak mining companies, set up business there. The business was so lucrative that the family could afford to build a castle in the town.

The last vestiges of Gelnica's fame date back to the 19th century iron boom, when local factories produced mainly a variety of nails and chains.

This postcard from the 1930s testifies to the German character of the town, which is reflected in its former name, "Gölnitz".


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