Banská Štiavnica becomes Slovakia's City of Culture for 2019

Locals have lost their town to tourism. Can the new title help reverse the situation?

Banská ŠtiavnicaBanská Štiavnica (Source: SME)

Banská Štiavnica has won a new title, the Slovak City of Culture for 2019, receiving €300,000 from the Slovak Arts Council. One of the goals is to reestablish a bond with locals.

The town, located in central Slovakia, has a rich history, charming atmosphere, marvellous old architecture and irresistible genius loci hidden in the middle of the Štiavnické vrchy mountains.

It is known, first and foremost, for mines where precious metals, especially silver and gold, were once extracted. Local people also used to work in a cotton mill and tobacco factory.

Because of this rich history, Banská Štiavnica is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Nevertheless, by becoming a tourist attraction, the mining town has turned away from its citizens.

Your memories, our art

The town's opening program, titled Family Silver, reflects the idea that will accompany the city of culture throughout the year. Organisers are aiming to collect the most valuable things local people possess at home. However, they do not need to polish their cutlery because every citizen of Banská Štiavnica is a precious muse.

Read also:Spectacular Slovakia #18: Be a miner for a day Read more 

"To some, the family silver represents a memory, experience, photograph, piece of furniture, or anything else connected to family history," explained Rastislav Marko, a program director of the City of Culture in Banská Štiavnica.

In the first wave of collecting valuables, they addressed schools in particular. Students will question parents and grandparents, collect photos, and search for ancient job reports.

"Over the year, artists, including writers, visual artists, and filmmakers, will be coming to the town to turn these stories into artworks," said Marko, hoping that a transformation of the stories of local people into an art piece will attract locals and visitors.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

When we knelt in honour of Floyd, something inside me broke

Tyrone Chambers, an American opera singer based in Germany, shares what it feels like to be an American living in Europe, watching the BLM movement from across the ocean.

Black Lives Matter protest in Germany

Vietnamese cuisine in Martin, Vienna tram on a stamp

Check out our tips for trips and some good weekend reads.

The third reconstruction stage of Bratislava Castle leads to a rare archaeological discovery on Aug 6, 2020.

Coronavirus in Slovakia: July saw 12 outbreaks in the country

Statistics from the public health offices show young people were the biggest group among the infected.

Illustrative stock photo

All eyes are on Matovič. He is facing a major task

Slovakia needs to make big decisions. Can it become the European tiger again?

PM Igor Matovič in Brussels.