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February 8, 2011

Life beyond Tourism – Tourism belongs to life

Life beyond Tourism – Tourism belongs to life
by Egon Krák, 2011
Slovak example: Banská Štiavnica, City in UNESCO World Heritage List

The issue as a spirit of  Life Beyond Tourism® Manifesto brought us several years ago a new ferment – not the idea which was still alive in Slovakia for a long time, but without any particular result could be seen – in the meaning: shining extract or definition of tourism experience in pretty good form well made for any kind to follow it. The most important value of this extract I supposed is that all articles of this definition must be realized on municipal or regional public life and policy simultaneously – together.

There is no better example as Italy when we speak about tourism – a country like a textbook, country as an open air museion…country full of historical monuments from different epoques… for everybody who is ready to recognize and study tourism phenomenon the best way is to have an Italian experience and knowledge  – together with the other examples from countries which succeded Italy in many forms how to be more civilized, well educated, intercultural and understandable: France, Great Britain, Benelux, Austria, Germany, Spain and many others.

There is no doubt the best way how to have a really good base for tourism development on municipal ( district ) level is political life and economical prosperity of the whole country – in the meaning of the high quality of general plan of action, statement of aims and ideals, public life and affairs, commerce… Appearence of this condition make possible all other things – which on the other hand cannot work without genius loci, spirit of the place with all cultural and historical values, enriched by traditional, unique art and knowledge. It seems after that we could be satisfied – there is everything which  …contributes to the dissemination and recognition of such universal values as respect and harmony among peoples, turning the tourist experience into a unique opportunity for knowledge and for the promotion of intercultural dialogue ( cit. Manifesto Life Beyond Tourism®).

The city of Banská Štiavnica could be a extraordinary example of a new vision of tourism in Slovakia in all aspects  – the area inscribed in the UNESCO World  Heritage List from 1993 includes a wide territory surrounding the town of Banská Štiavnica. The City Banská Štiavnica, the oldest mining town in Slovakia, played an important role as early as before the second third of the 13th century, i.e. before the period when the first town privileges granted in the Hungarian Empire were bestowed by King Bela IV. The town acquired its privileges not later than in 1238 or 1237. However, an existing document dated 1275 in Banská Štiavnica contains the oldest town seal  known to exist in Europe, picturing the town coat of arms with archaic mining tools…The richness of the minerals found here was the cause of the inhabitation of this hilly region.  The oldest documents about the earliest settlement connected with ore mining and processing are from the 10th to the 8th centuries B.C. (the late Bronze Age) – a hill-fort situated on Sitno Mountain. An agglomeration of settlements in this territory dating back to the 11th century has been confirmed by archeological finds in the town proper  as well as in the „Old Town” locality on Glanzenberg Hill. These finds also document further changes in settlements connected with intensification of mining and arrival of immigrants from the area of Tirol at the turn of the  13th century (the future town centre began to be urbanized, the fortified area guarded point was extened into a castle). In the 1330’s the town of Banská Štiavnica was of considerable area. There were two churches – three-naved basilicas, 500 metres apart from each other, which exhibited a high degree of building mastery  and their artistic late Romanesque style is an evidence of the influence of Cistercian architecture from Low Austria in the 12th century. The Dominicans, after more than 30 years of their stay out of the town due to the fear of the Tartar invasion, and when the town had further expanded, built a monastery near the church. (more…)

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