Main square of Gelnica
|Elevation||372 m (1,220 ft)|
|Area||57.652 km2 (22.260 sq mi)|
|Population||6,210 (31. 12. 2013)|
|Density||108/km2 (280/sq mi)|
|- summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||056 01|
|Wikimedia Commons: Gelnica|
The name comes from the name of the river Hnilec derived from Slavic word hnilý – rotten. The German name Göllnitz (from which the new Slovak name Gelnica is derived) contains g indicating early German colonization and the borrowing of the name before g changed to h in the Slovak language. The Hungarian Gölnicbánya (bánya – mine) indicated mining activity in the town.
It is located in the northern part of the Slovak Ore Mountains, in the Hnilec river valley, which flows a few kilometres downstream into Hornád. The town lies at the both banks of Hnilec, has an altitude of 375 metres (1,230 feet), and is located around 38 kilometres (24 miles) from Košice.
Carpathian Germans chiefly from Bavaria began to settle the formerly Slavic settlement during the 13th century. By 1264 it was an established mining town and became a royal mining town of the Kingdom of Hungary by 1276, from where the first mentioned is recorded (as "Gelnic"). For many years Gelnica was a chief mining town in the Spiš region of Slovakia. Silver, copper, but also gold, quicksilver, lead and iron ore were mined in the mines. Between 1465–1520, Gelnica lost most of its privileges. Town population in the second half of the 16th century is estimated to 1000 people. The ratio of Germans and Slovaks (main ethnic groups) is estimated to 3:1.
The town includes the ruins of a medieval castle, destroyed by a fire in 1685. Other attractions include a Gothic church and Renaissance town hall, both remodelled along Baroque lines, and a mining museum.
According to the 2001 census, the town had 6,404 inhabitants. 95.92% of inhabitants were Slovaks, 1.55% Roma, 0.84% Germans and 1.02% Czechs. The religious makeup was 72.00% Roman Catholics, 15.88% people with no religious affiliation, and 4.03% Lutherans and 3.28 Greek Catholics.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Gelnica is twinned with:
- Martin Štefánik – Ján Lukačka et al. 2010, Lexikón stredovekých miest na Slovensku, Historický ústav SAV, Bratislava, 2010, p. 156, ISBN 978-80-89396-11-5. http://forumhistoriae.sk/-/lexikon-stredovekych-miest-na-slovensku
- "Municipal Statistics". Statistical Office of the Slovak republic. Archived from the original on May 13, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
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