Banská Bystrica region

Banská Bystrica region
Size: 9,455 sq. kilometres
Population: 655,762
Density: 70 / sq. km
Unemployment rate: 20%
Average monthly wage: Sk16,862 (€519)*
Average wage, Slovakia:
Sk20,146 (€620)
Share of Slovak GDP creation: 8.8% **
FDI: Sk932 million (€28.7 million)
Share of Slovak FDI in 2006: 1.5%

Sources: Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic and Slovak National Bank, all figures current to December 31, 2006, except for * 2007 and ** 2005

The Banská Bystrica Region
The Banská Bystrica region, the country's largest in terms of area, lies in the southern part of central Slovakia. With its extensive forests and hilly terrain, it is the least densely settled region, with only 70 inhabitants per square kilometre, compared to the Slovak average of 110.
The terrain varies from the rugged Veľká Fatra (Greater Fatra) and the more tame Nízke Tatry (Low Tatras) in the north, through the rangy hills and valleys of the Štiavnické vrchy around Banská Bystrica, to the agricultural flatlands south of Levice. The region has three national parks - the Nízke Tatry (Low Tatras), Muránska planina and the Slovenský raj (Slovak Paradise) - as well as five protected natural areas (Cerová vrchovina, the Poľana UNESCO biosphere reservation, Ponitrie, Štiavnické vrchy and the Veľká Fatra).
The Banská Bystrica region has three main rivers flowing through it: the Hron, which is the largest and originates near Telgárt, flowing through the whole region to join the Danube at Štúrovo; and the Ipeľ, which forms a natural boundary with Hungary.
The Banská Bystrica region consists of 13 districts, 24 towns and 516 municipalities. The mountainous north of the Banská Bystrica region is significantly industrialised and is home to wood processing, metallurgy, machinery, electro-technical, textile, pharmaceutical, construction and construction materials firms. It has significant deposits of raw materials such as brown coal, metallic and non-metallic ores, and several mineral and thermal springs.
Given the region's mining history reaching back to the 17th century, metallurgy remains the dominant industrial sector in the Banská Bystrica region, represented by the largest companies in the region: Slovalco Žiar nad Hronom and ZSNP Žiar nad Hronom, which make aluminium, and Železiarne Podbrezová (Podbrezová Ironworks - metallurgy).

Banská Bystrica, Kremnica, Banská Štiavnica included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, Zvolen Castle, Ľupča Castle, Modrý Kameň Castle (ruins with exhibit), Harmanecká Cave, Bystrianska Cave, The Dead Bat's Cave, Park Snow Donovaly (ski resort), Jasná Nízke Tatry (ski resort), Dudince Spa, Sliač Spa, Somoška (ruins and stone waterfall), Gothic Route