Photo: Kocsis Kadosa

Körmöcbánya, Upper Hungary / Horná Zem / Felvidék, in Slovakia (Kremnica, Kremnitz). The city of gold; even now the Euro coins used in Slovakia are being minted there. Yet, it was the most famous gold mining town of the Hungarian Kingdom and the Gold of Körmöc (Körmöci arany) was internationally known and renowned.  Look at the coins minted here among the pictures.

the gold forint of King Matthias Corvinus minted at Körmöcbánya

You can read more about the Mining Towns of northern Hungary here:


As for Körmöcbánya, this mining town was established in the 12th century by German settlers invited here from Silesia and Thuringia. Knowing that 2/3 of the European gold came from this area in the Middle Ages, it is not surprising that this city became a world-famous mining city due to the abundant gold ore deposits in the Mountains of Körmöcbánya. In the 14th century, the castle of Körmöcbánya developed into a multifunctional complex of buildings and thus became the center of local administration, religious life, and defense. 

Photo: Szeder László

In 1331, Körmöcbánya became the seat of the Chamber Count (Kammergraf) who was the head of the most important mining and minting chamber of the Kingdom of Hungary. The Count administered all the mines and mints in twelve counties of the kingdom in the Middle Ages. Starting in 1335 the mint produced golden Florins and later the famous “Körmöci Ducats”, which were used as an international means of payment as a result of their consistently high purity of gold. At the end of the 14th century, Körmöcbánya became the capital of the mining towns in central Upper Hungary. A century later, the Chamber Count moved to a newly built house with a unique diamond vault.

the Ducats of King Ulászló II

 In the 15th century, Körmöcbánya was the second most important city in the country. The castle represents a unique example of a very well-preserved fortification system in Central Europe. In the middle of the 15th century, the town consisted of 9 quarters, and there were 250 houses in it. At that time, the number of families was 690, and there lived altogether about 3,000 people. They minted 14,000 gold Forints annually in this period.

Photo: Szeder László

The Bohemian Hussites took the fortified town in 1433 and plundered it. Hunyadi János besieged it in 1449 but at that time there were high walls and a wide moat around the settlement, and he could not retake it. King Matthias Corvinus could gain it back only by a peace treaty in 1462. In the future, the fortified town also proved to be strong enough to repel any attacks. 

Photo: Szeder László

The oldest buildings can be found on the castle hill, they were built in the 14th-15th century. They are surrounded by a double structure of walls that remained in the best condition as far as the Upper Lands / Horná Zem is concerned. The tower of the Saint Katalin church was built in the 15th century after 1465 but it burned down in 1560 (along with one-third of the town). The church was rebuilt in a brilliant Renaissance style, though. One can climb 127 stairs to get to the top guard room of the tower which offers beautiful scenery. In the castle, you can find a round-shaped church, the Saint András Chapel where Gothic murals can be seen. It was the first church of the castle.

However, the Reformed faith quickly gained ground among the Saxon burghers. The town belonged to the Protestant “League of Seven Mining Towns”. Körmöcbánya was Protestant but they didn’t open the gates before Prince Bocskai István in 1604 who was a Reformed hero. Yet, the next year they sided with him and later Prince Bethlen was allowed to enter, too. Besides gold mining, it was famous for its paper factory which was established in 1652.

Photo: Szeder László

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Here are a few more pictures of Körmöcbánya: