|Banskobystrický kraj||Banská Bystrica region|
|okres: Žiar nad Hronom|
Kremnica is situated at an elevation of 550 m on the river Kremnický potok in the Kremnické vrchy mountain region of central Slovakia, about 20 km west of Banská Bystrica and 45 km south of Martin. The municipality of Kremnica has a population of about 5,400.
Kremnica was among the major mining towns of the world during the Middle Ages and in the modern era due to the abundant gold ore deposits in the Kremnica Mountains. However, the first evidence of sub-surface mining activities comes from the 9th century. The first written reference to the town dates back to 1328, when it was granted the privileges of a Royal Hungarian town. The town's mint was already in existence at the time of the granting of royal privileges. Starting in 1335 the mint produced golden florins and later the famous "Kremnica ducats", which were used as an international means of payment as a result of their consistently high purity of gold. It was the most important mint, and later the only one, in the Kingdom of Hungary, in Czechoslovakia and nowadays in Slovakia; the prosperity brought to the town led to it being given the nickname "Golden Kremnica". At the end of the 14th century, Kremnica became the capital of the mining towns in central Upper Hungary. The steady annual production of gold and silver guaranteed the prosperous development of the town. In the 15th century Kreminca was the second most important city in the Kingdom of Hungary. The town was continuously being granted new privileges and the deputies of the town occupied the second place in the Hungarian Diet (the first place was reserved for the representatives of Buda, the capital of the Kingdom). Gold mining and coin production in Kremnica culminated in the 14th and 15th centuries. As one of the most important centers of Protestant Reformation in the country, the town belonged to the Protestant "League of Seven Mining Towns" together with Banská Belá, Banská Bystrica, Banská Štiavnica, Lubietová, Nová Bana, and Pukanec. In the 16th century, the town was a major centre of production of (mostly religious) medals. At the same time however, the miners had to dig deeper and deeper to reach new deposits and the mining conditions deteriorated because of underground water in the shafts. The cost of mining increased and the mining was becoming less profitable. The last gold was extracted in Kremnica in 1970, at which time all the mines were closed.
The Catholic church of St. Catherine of Alexandria [background]
is situated right in the center of Kremnica as the central building and the dominant of the City Castle Complex.
The oldest period of construction of the church is unclear. The castle church most likely was founded before 1400.
Thepolygonal presbytery was created in the secon half of the 14th century. theoriginal, Romanesque, church was rebuilt
in the 15th century in Gothic style. After 1488, the original patronage of St. Michael was changed to
St. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of miners. Following a devastating fire in 1560, the church was
reconstructed in Renaissance style.