The small village of Svätý Anton, located 6 km south of Banská Štiavnica, and surrounded by the Štiavnické Mountains, offers visitors the opportunity to wander through history and a taste of traditional Slovak cuisine.
What makes a visit to this place exceptional, however, is a Baroque mansion, fashioned to represent a huge stone calendar. It has four entrances, representing four seasons, 12 chimneys for each month of the year, seven arcades for days in the week and 52 rooms representing weeks in the year. Oh, and it has 365 windows.
The mansion was built on the site of a small fortified castle, dating from the 15th century, which was one of a series of feudal settlements belonging to Hungary’s military aristocracy and dedicated to the Habsburgs. Latterly, the house was owned by the wealthy Kohári and Coburg families and along the way its construction and decoration has been influenced by numerous prominent European architects and sculptors.
Not only is the mansion rich in symbolism, but it has ornate furnishings to match. Inside is a Baroque chapel and Venetian mirrors, among other riches, as well as gilded furniture from the 18th century, which was the gift from Empress Maria Theresa to her daughter Marie Antoinette and bought at auction in Paris in early 20th century by one of the last owners of the mansion, Ferdinad Coburg. All this nestles alongside the extensive collection of hunting trophies, which reveal how some former residents spent their leisure time.
The mansion’s courtyard is decorated with a Baroque fountain, which is still functional in summer. The surrounding park boasts a small forest lake and a chalet with restaurant, in which visitors can eat Slovak specialities with traditional carved wooden cutlery.
Driving from: Banská Štiavnica 6 km / 9 mins; Public transport from: Banská Štiavnica www.cp.sk, Bus: 16 mins
Kaštieľ Svätý Anton (Saint Anton Manor House)
Mob.: +421 (0)915 821-973
Open: Nov-Mar: Tue-Sa: 8:00-15:00, Apr: Tue-Sun 8:00-15:00, May, Jun, Sep: Tue-Sun 8:30-16:00, Jul, Aug: Mon-Sun 9:00-17:30, Oct: Tue-Sun 8:30-15:00; Ticket price: € 4 (small viewings), € 6 (big viewings);
The museum offers everything from artistic and historic exhibitions to agriculture and forestry exhibitions.