Banska Bystrica

Article: Spelunking in the Banska Bystrica region

This is the most widely spread out region in Slovakia and includes several mountainous areas favorable to winter sports. There are several ski resorts for alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. (Osrblie hosted the 1997 World Biathlon Championship). The Southern districts are very popular in the summer season. This region is also a famous thermal baths region, where visitors can even take advantage of the beneficial effects of speleotherapy (Bystra).

BANSKA BYSTRICA

This is the administrative, economic and cultural center of Central Slovakia. A national cultural monument dominates the city center. The Church of our Lady is the oldest building. It is characteristic of the change in European architectural styles. Banska Bystrica is certainly one of the Slovakian cities with the richest architecture. The center of the city is exceptional. Among the many monuments and buildings (it would be impossible to present a complete list here) is the Clock Tower which, like the Tower of Pisa, leans; The city houses several art galleries and museums, including the SNP Museum which commemorates the resistance to Nazi oppression. Banska Bystrica is, because of its cultural richness, the pearl of Central Slovakia.

The region of Banska Bystrica possesses all of the attractions that one expects from a tourist region: preserved nature, rare historical and cultural monuments and remarkable architecture. In the city of Banska Bystrica itself, the tourist can enjoy numerous sports facilities, notably the Sports Complex na Stiavnickach, near which is a hotel and a campgroound.

In the areas around Banska Bystrica are numerous protected natural sites, including the Low Tatras National Park (811 sq. Km.), which is the largest National Park in Slovakia. This mountainous and tree-covered area spreads out to more than 92 km2. The highest mountain in the Lower Tatras is Mount Chopok at 2,024 meters. Off of its northern slope is the Demanovska Dolina valley through which two small rivers flow. Its principal attraction, in addition to its pine forests, is the largest group of caves in Slovakia. The biggest cave, the Freedom Cave, whose entrance is at an altitude of 870 meters, conceals extraordinary and mysterious beauties.

The region of Banska Bystrica is a privileged area where everything is done to protect the nature. There are numerous natural reserves: Polana, Hroncokovy grun, Batovsky Balvan, Ponicka dubrava.

It is also a very popular tourist destination in the winter. A network of ski resorts allows visitors to ski in an exceptionally beautiful setting.

The Lower Tatras massif has a large number of hotels and perfectly fitted out slopes. 28 kilometers to the northeast of Banska Bystrica is the Donovaly Valley, one of the biggest ski resorts in Slovakia. The slopes near the city of Zvolen attract a good number of skiers. Large parking lots, excellent infrastructure and quality services are available to visitors who can experience the joys of downhill skiing and cross-country skiing under the best conditions of comfort and security. Other skiable areas like Kraliky (ski school), Podkonice (ski jumping), Plese (cross-country skiing) and Turecka Krizna await ski lovers. Of course, during the summer season, visitors can enjoy the thermal springs. The summer resort of Sliac is very well-known.