New landmark in Banská Bystrica weighs 600 kg. It did not fall off the wall

An automaton clock celebrates the city's mining history.

Banská Bystrica has a new tourist attraction. The "orloj" is placed on the facade of the Barbakan city castle.Banská Bystrica has a new tourist attraction. The "orloj" is placed on the facade of the Barbakan city castle. (Source: Ján Krošlák/TASR)

Mining and crafts, which are inextricably linked with Banská Bystrica, are depicted in a new work of art – banícky orloj (a mining automaton clock) – installed on the façade of the Barbakan city castle.

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The orloj, whose shape looks like a wooden box with valuables in it, was created by sculptors Matúš Jančura and his wife Magdaléna Anna from the Slovenská Ľupča village near Banská Bystrica. They devoted 1,500 hours of their time to produce this piece of art.

“It was a huge challenge for us to make the orloj, which weighs about 600 kilograms,” Jančura said.

The body of the picture, sculptured by Jančura’s wife, is made of galvanised steel and sprayed with polyurethane varnish in several coloured layers. Consisting of three “shelves”, people can see figures in the orloj move on the hour.

The meaning of “shelves”

The lowest level of the piece features the thickest columns that portray a mine and a tunnel with a miner, symbolising the majority of the ancient population.

A blacksmith processing raw material is depicted on the second “shelf.” In addition, a river as a symbol of all watercourses in the area, which were necessary to drive machinery and equipment in the mines, flows through the image. A church, which is located in the mining village of Špania Dolina, represents all mining villages and towns that were an integral part of the medieval mining territory of present-day Slovakia.

The third and highest floor illustrates Banská Bystrica. The man on horseback is Jakub Fugger Boháč. In his time, the city experienced its golden age. The “Bom Jesus” ship and a wagon symbolise the export of products and raw materials from Banská Bystrica to the world. Another church depicted in the orloj, the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was used as a symbol of the city. This place of worship can be found in the city’s ancient downtown.

Orloj in Špania Dolina

A similar orloj resembling a rocky wall can be found in Špania Dolina, situated near Banská Bystrica. This one is not linked to a clock.

A statue of St Clement – the patron saint of miners – stands at the top of it, and the orloj illustrates the village itself as well as the work of miners underground. Accompanied by instrumental music, it opens up on the hour.

This work of art, installed in Špania Dolina back in 2004, was created by Ludvík Pozníček.


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