HISTORY TALKS...

The city of waldburgers

THIS AWE-inspiring 1930s postcard shows the entrance to the Beniczky House, one of the most beautiful structures in Banská Bystrica. The gate is adorned with the coat of arms of the Szentiványi family, which incorporates into its design two miners, illustrating the important role mining played in the city.

THIS AWE-inspiring 1930s postcard shows the entrance to the Beniczky House, one of the most beautiful structures in Banská Bystrica. The gate is adorned with the coat of arms of the Szentiványi family, which incorporates into its design two miners, illustrating the important role mining played in the city.

In the past, most of the houses in the city square were owned by so-called ringburgers, or waldburgers, many of whom owned or operated the city’s mines and steelworks. Banská Bystrica’s mines were located eight to 18 kilometres away from the city itself, unlike Banská Štiavnica or Kremnica, whose mines were beneath the city. Thus, owners of the mining enterprises spent most working days in the forests of the surrounding hills. This is where the word “wald”, i.e. forest, comes from, while the second part of the name stems from the fact that their families lived in the middle of town, as “burger”, or burgher, means city dweller.

For mining towns, meat supplies were crucial: it was important to secure food for the large number of miners and their families, but some of the animal by-products were also necessary for the operation of the mills and mines. For example tallow was used to make candles for lighting, fat for preserving bags and ropes, and ox skins for the production of blowpipes, transport bags and buckets.

Villages around the outskirts of Banská Bystrica participated in supplying the city with goods. For example, in 1521 these included 42 butchers from 15 villages. Butchers’ counters once lined Hronská (today’s Kapitulská) Street, and a slaughterhouse was located nearby. Cattle were slaughtered close to the river, into which went blood and anything else that was not used. An entire butchers’
neighbourhood gradually developed there, and the closest bastion of the city’s fortifications bears the name Mäsiarska, which means butcher.

Apart from the coat of arms and the sign “Thomas Beniczky de Miczina”, period advertisements on the house’s wall are also of interest.

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Foreigners: Top 10 events in Bratislava

Tips for the top 10 events in the capital between April 19 and April 28, plus regular services in different languages, training, temporary exhibitions and highlights of the year.

Easter market

Dual quality in the EU will be punished

Slovakia’s Agriculture Ministry welcomed the change, calling it a victory.

Food prices keep falling.

Blog: Bringing top business minds and students together

Martin Kardoš of CSI Leasing introduces the Mentor Network Program aimed at pairing young talents with experienced mentors from the business world.

Martin Kardoš, Managing Director CEE at CSI Leasing, at one of the Mentor Network Program events.