About Rožňava

Rožňava is the town of old traditions and a significant centre of Upper Gemer, is situated in south-eastern Slovakia, in the River Slaná’s basin, between the slopes of the Slovak Ore Mountains (Slovenské rudohorie) and the plateaus of the National Park of Slovak Karst (Slovenský kras).

Archaeological finds show that the region was densely settled by miners as early as around 1200.

The first written record related to Rožňava dates back to 1291 when Hungarian king Andrew III donated the area of the town to the archbishop of Esztergom. The town got its name after an exceptionally productive mine called Rosnoubana and was awarded the first municipal privileges by King Louis the Great in 1382. In the Middle Ages, especially gold and silver, and later on also iron ore, were extracted in local mines. Significant in town’s history was year 1776 when Queen Maria Theresa divided the territory of Esztergom Archbishopric, thus establishing the bishopric of Rožňava.

In the Middle Ages, Rožňava was a prosperous mining town for gold, silver, and iron. Mining activities stagnated from the 16th century.

The name of the town probably derives from the German word for rose.

On 13 September 2003, Rožňava was visited by Pope John Paul II.

Miner’s square after reconstruction

Historical monuments

The current urban structure of the historical town centre consisting of a spacious square, the largest medieval square-shaped square in Slovakia, surrounded by majestic burgess houses and a network of streets was founded in late 15th century. This is where most of the architectural attractions of the town are concentrated, such as the Renaissance Watchtower, the Town Hall, Bishop’s Palace, the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul Nunnery, the building of a former Mining Chamber, Evangelical Church, etc. Nevertheless, the Gothic Assumption of Virgin Mary Cathedral dating back to the 14th century is the most beautiful and at the same time the most significant sight of the town. Visitors may admire the historical centre also from the look-out gallery at the Renaissance Watchtower. The rich mining history of the town is presented in the Mining Museum (Banícke múzeum) that also includes an exhibition related to the varied nature of Slovak Karst.