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On December 28, 1993, it was 750 years since King Bela IV renewed the City's patent. Zvolen is located in central Slovakia about 20 kilometers from Banska Bystrica, the capital of central Slovakia.

The population is about 42000. Dominant feature of the town is the castle, first built in the last third of the 14th century and the town square with two Churches. The original castle was built in Gothic Style. Zvolen was a commercial and business center in the old days. The town had rights and privileges to organize markets (Jarmoky), trading of livestock and vine. Documents from 1467 about existence of a school. There is also a well-preserved city bookkeeping book that tells us about the work of butchers, shoemakers and other craftsmen. Army traditions of the town are also varied

and they are marked by the events of battles against the Turks, when Zvolen was defender of the mining towns. The castle and town were fortified and carefully defended. In 16th and 17th century Zvolen vas a center of the Zvolen County. In those years the main life of the town was agriculture, craftsmanship and the work of craft guilds. There flour mills, brewery, wineries, markets and fairs. Rafts with lumber, provisions and other merchandise were sailing Upper Hron through Zvolen all the way south to river Dunaj. At this time Zvolen was getting into a shadow of other prominent

mining towns as copper in Banska Stiavnica, silver in Banska Bystrica and gold in Kremnica. In Zvolen next to Slovaks lived, Germans, Hungarians and in 19 century the Jews settled here too.

During the rule of Esterhazys in 18th century, the castle was rebuilt and numerous notable buildings in renaissance and baroque style such as today's museum building and others were built. In the last third of the 18th century Zvolen is losing its Capital of the Zvolen county status to Banska Bystrica.

In the national movement the town was leaning to self-conscious families of intellectuals from town and surrounding areas. In 18-20th century in town and its region numerous personalities with all Slovak importance were born and were active here as Matej Bel, Andrej Sladkovic, Jozef Kozacek, M.S. Ferencik, Terezia Vansova, Jozef Ciger-Hronsky and others. In 1847 Ludovit Stur was elected to the Hungarian Senate to represent the town of Zvolen, where he defended interests not only of the Zvolen and other towns, but the whole nation. In 19 century the Slovaks were under Hungarian suppression. Nationally self-conscious families as Medvckovci, Veselovci, Banikovci and others were holding the national subconscious and supported culture through Zvolenske Noviny (Zvolen News) and the business life of the town and the whole region (National Bank).

In 19th and 20th century, Zvolen was marked by the construction of railroads, thanks to which the town became an intersection of five directions. They built a sheet metal factory and other objects.

There was an important meeting between Andrej Hlinka and Martin Razus at the whole Slovak gathering in October 1932 in fight for autonomy of Slovakia.

Today Zvolen is an important administration, transportation, business and cultural center of Central Slovakia.


Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 1, No. 4, Winter 1993
Copyright Vladimir Linder 1993 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.