On our recent trip to the Vysoke Tatry (High Tatra mountains), we stopped in Kremnica, where one of the oldest permanently producing mint factories in the world is located.
Gold was discovered as early as the 8th century in the area and reached the peak of activity during the 14th to end of the 18th century. Due to mining and minting, Kremnica was a town of wealth and importance.
Settled in the hills, merely driving through Kremnica only shows the abundance of socialist-era built apartment buildings. Upon entering the centre, one can immediately see the medieval fortifacations.
We didn’t have much time and were only able to visit the town castle/church up on the hill.
First, we climbed up to the watch tower for a view, a sign warning us that the 127 step climb would be ‘pretentious.’ It was, in fact, a little tricky with a preschooler on the shoulders. The stone stairs were very narrow, tightly winding up and up and up.
The watchtower room, taken through a window
At the top was a room for the watchman, who beat a drum and played a psalm on the trumpet simultaneously to signal the opening and closing of the gates, as well as at various times during the day and at midnight to signal the miners when their shift began; warned of Turk attacks; and kept on the watch for fire.
The next main attraction is the church of St. Catherine (Svata Katarina). This is one of my favourite churches, I think. I’m partial to gothic architecture and the inside has been beautifully preserved with painted arched ceiling, intricate carvings, and stone. Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed inside, and I was most reluctantly obedient. You can see some photos here (although they don’t do the church justice).
The centre of Kremnica has a lovely square and there are a number of different museums, including those featuring skiing, coins/medals, mining, and kitch. There are a number of hiking/biking routes in the surrounding area for summer, and skiing in the winter.
I recommend a trip to Kremnica!
More information on the Visit Kremnica site in English.
Each corner of the balcony around the tower had lovely maps pointing out the surounding hill names.
Still some work to be done…
Random chairs I liked the design of.
I liked the balcony, and there happens to be the mint too.