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Rožňava

Rožňava

Population: 19,261

www.roznava.sk

Rožňava, the administrative capital of the Gemer region. This town with an affluent mining history sits between two national parks (the Slovak Karst and the Slovak Paradise). Rožňava has a beautiful historic town centre. The first written mention stems from 1291. In the Middle Ages, Rožňava was a prosperous mining town for gold, silver, and iron.These days, Rožňava is a small, quiet town centred on quite a rarity in Slovak town planning: a square that is actually square. In the centre of this regular polygon is the 36-metre-high Renaissance watchtower. Originally, the town grew to prominence because of its mines and a quaint museum just outside the centre remembers this side of Rožňava's history. However, activities slowed during the 16th century and Rožňava reinvented itself as a centre of academia and crafts. It became a bishopric in 1776 and the gold-coloured palace, completed two years later on the north side of the square, is still home to the current bishop of Gemer. Other buildings of note around the square include the Black Eagle hotel, the last remaining Gothic building; the town hall dating from 1711; as well as a still-active convent and a Franciscan church and monastery. The town's cathedral is Rožňava's oldest building, with the work that started during the 12th century, it is most notable for its 16th century altar. The church's exterior is now dominated by its bell tower, which lies six metres separate from the church.