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Memories of 'Golden Boca'

DEEP IN the forests of the Low Tatras lies the municipality of Nižná Boca. Today, it is best known as the starting point for hiking tours into the Nízke Tatry / Low Tatras national park, but in the past it was famous for an entirely different activity.

DEEP IN the forests of the Low Tatras lies the municipality of Nižná Boca. Today, it is best known as the starting point for hiking tours into the Nízke Tatry / Low Tatras national park, but in the past it was famous for an entirely different activity.

In the Middle Ages, the village was inhabited mainly by migrants from Saxony, the presence of whom can still be traced in some local names, like Špíglovô or Fišiarka. Here, amid the forests, Saxons engaged mostly in mining. At Boca, gold, silver, iron and copper were mined. Mining in the area reached its peak in the 14th and 15th centuries, but even in 1558 as much as 60 kilograms of gold was mined here. This was a time when only the rich and untouched parts of the deposits were extracted.

Enthusiasm surrounding the mining boom was so great that for a time the village was called “Golden Boca / Zlatá Boca”. However, the boom did not last, even though miners and the local gentry already considered Boca to be “the new Štiavnica”. Mining in the area gradually started to decline, even though in the 16th century opencast mining gave way to more intensive underground mining. Work continued in the Boca mines until 1860.

But for those interested in mining history, Nižná Boca still has a lot to offer. Remnants of about a hundred underground mines can still be found in its vicinity. On the nearby hills, slopes and valleys, it is also easy to find slag heaps of gangue.

We can see Nižná Boca and the surrounding area in this postcard from 1954.

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