Date updated: 01/27/2023
Kremnica is a beautiful place in central Slovakia. Its German name is Kremnitz. Hungarian: Körmöcbánya. The town is situated in the foothills of the Kremnické Vrchov. It belongs to the community of Žjar nad Hronom district, Banská Bystrica Region. It is famous for its developed mining industry and a glorious historical past. Kremnica was once considered the richest settlement not only in the region not only in the region, but in the whole country. It used to enjoy the status of a free mining town in the Hungarian kingdom. Today, the town is home to approximately six thousand people. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and Europe. Every year the town becomes a Mecca for thousands of visitors during the summer and snow season. They are attracted by the festival of humour and satire Kremnické Gagi. In winter a popular ski marathon from Kremnica to Skalka takes place there. It has a poetic name - "White Trace".
Once upon a time in ancient times, these places attracted gold miners. The precious metal was being actively mined here as early as the tenth century. The first settlement, called Kremnitzbania, was founded by the ubiquitous gold diggers. Legend has it that a visiting hunter once got his hands on a quail. Its feet were stained with golden sand. That's how the history of the town began.
An interesting fact is that gold mining in this region ceased only in 1970.
Flintstone can be safely called a landmark in the history of mining in Western Europe. A large mining centre was situated on the right bank of the river Gron. It separated the "gold" zone from the "silver" one. The miners' settlement was granted town privileges with a special status by the Hungarian royal court in 1328. A mint was built here on the order of King Charles Robert of Anjou, for minting money. Experienced craftsmen from the Bohemian land of Kutná Hora came to the town to fulfil an important national task. A year later, new groschen from Kremnica was being used throughout the kingdom.
From that time inhabitants of the town were governed in social and production relations by the mining law (similar to Kutná Hora). Kremnica was included in the union of seven main cities of the kingdom with a mountainous status. Kremnica mint masters minted top quality ducats. They were valued all over Europe. The gold brought not only prosperity to the town, but also well-deserved fame. Alongside gold coins, the famous ducats of Kremnica were much in demand. From the sixteenth century onwards, the town of Kremnica began to develop its medal production. Commemorative coins, medals and banknotes are still produced in the town to the order of foreign countries.
The town in the Middle Ages was also endowed with a whole list of additional privileges. Among them were brewing, organization of lucrative fairs, no need to pay royal dues, granting of special burgher's rights and validity of local criminal law. Kremnica attracted immigrants from the west. For centuries Germanic speech had dominated here, which can still be felt today in the phonetics and vocabulary of the inhabitants of the region.
At various times the town was visited by Emperor Franz Joseph I. and King Ferdinand I. Coburg of Bulgaria.
The production of state coins in Kremnica ceased only after Slovakia was annexed to the Common European Currency area. Nowadays the town is no longer considered to be an industrial centre, but a recreational and touristy paradise for tourists.
What is there to see in the city?
The city's central districts with their memorials and landmarks are regarded as an urban reserve. It includes, for example, Štefánikova Square and the castle dominating the locality. Its main attraction is the Gothic cathedral dedicated to St. Katharina. It is a beautiful building, dating back to the fifteenth century. In the church tourists can admire the original antique organ and hear solemn fugues at the annual summer musical event called "Kremnica Castle Organ".
Note. Kremnica was a haven for plague victims in the Habsburg Empire. The last plague colony was located here. Public electric lighting of the streets and the square has been functioning in the town since 1889 (the first Hungarian town with this important advantage).
The town's castle
The castle complex towers over the central part of the town and its square. It was built over three centuries, starting in the thirteenth century and ending in the fifteenth century. Its exterior appearance has been completely renewed by the present day. What the castle looked like in the early Middle Ages is anyone's guess. It is believed that a Catholic basilica was originally built there. You can take a tour of the St. Andrew's Tomb, the Gothic fortification wall, the stone bridge, the gate and the North Tower with museum exhibitions. The castle courtyard is interesting with its original carnery. It is a circular building that served as a chapel and an ossuary. Behind it is the miners' tower.
St. Catherine's Church in the late Gothic style should be regarded as a symbolic embodiment of the castle's beauty and power. You can see rare artefacts in the building, which adorn its original interior. But the greatest admiration is the huge organ with 3,500 pipes. Also of interest are the Clock Tower, the old Town Hall and the bastions. You should allot at least half a day to see the entire complex. The castle grounds offer a wonderful view of the city spreading out below. Tourists take advantage of it to get some great panoramic shots.
The central part of the town of Kremnice
The town's central areas are cobbled. Don't miss the large baroque Trinity Column, the so-called Plague Pillar, which is a real work of art. It is a highly artistic work by the master D. Stanetti. The eighteenth century Baroque fountain is also a great decoration of the town.
An old building of national importance can compete with the fortified city walls for its defensive complex of defensive structures. The courtyard is formed by several fifteenth-century additions in the Gothic style. All of the profile buildings were united by a common roof in the following century. The oldest building of the Kremnica Mint is the south-east wing. Here you will be shown the machines that minted tons and tons of ringing coins. This is the real treasury of the town. It allowed the town to prosper and develop during the Middle Ages and especially during the reign of Maria Theresa (eighteenth century).
Local ducats went from the mint to the masses like hotcakes. Specialists consider florins of 23-carat gold to be the most interesting coins from the so-called Angevin period. This is an example of a successful imitation of Florentine coins of the same period. Samples of old money can be seen at the exhibition in the historic building from 1450. Here you can also see ancient minting machines and modern, innovative equipment. You can even try minting coins yourself. You can even try your hand at minting yourself. You can also buy beautiful and absolutely original souvenirs in the Exhibition shop.
Please note. There are paper banknotes from the time of Masaryk and masterpieces of printing art by Alphonse Mucha and Max Sabinsky. The guide will point out the fact that many of the world's famous political leaders were given original locally produced ducats by the Kremnické Mint (e. g. Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin).
It's a colourful, offbeat event under the brand name Kremnické jokes. Another official name for the noisy, hilarious festival that has been delighting visitors to the city since 1981 is the European Festival of Humour and Satire. It is usually held at the very end of summer.
The motto of Kremnické gagy is "Humour Wins".
Local theatre actors are considered to be the founders of the festival. The city has also created the University of Humour. Slovak humour fans selected Viktor Kubala as the first chancellor of the University. Today this event, renowned all over the country and the neighbouring countries, is a chance for the exceptional talents of hundreds of artists, music/theatre groups and cartoonists to be discovered.
A festival of chamber music masters - the Kremnica Castle Organ, the town festival "Kremnica Guild Feast" and the "Big Air in the Town" also deserve special attention. This sporting event is a time of exciting snowboarding and freeskiing performances.
Natural and climatic conditions of holidays in Kremnica
The mountainous region delights tourists with the splendour of nature and cool weather even during the summertime. Normally the temperature in the town does not rise above twenty degrees. In winter it is between zero and ten degrees below zero. The town attracts a lot of skiers and snowboarders from December to March.
The ski centre Skala is situated near the village. It is a large infrastructure with twenty kilometres of pistes and all the necessary facilities for tourists. Visitors climb to a height of 1200 metres for skiing and a wonderful view of the town, the slopes and the century-old forests. Choose an easy trail for the self-taught or a professional route for advanced skiers. Equipment can be rented at rental shops. Instructors at the branch of a ski school teach the basics of skiing. You can spend the evening in one of the cafés and the night in a hotel or guesthouse in town. Local shops sell souvenirs, badges and medals.