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    The spring of the Hron river in the north, spurs of the Cerova uplands in the south, Soroška in the east and oždianske serpentines in the west - these spots could be considered the bordering points of the Gemer region. Together with the district of Malohonty it is one of the oldest and most important cultural regions in Slovakia.
    The Gemer region borders on the National Park Slovenský raj (Slovak Paradise) and Muránska planina (Muránska Plain) and in the south on protected landscape area Slovenský kras (Slovak Karst). It is an area full of deep forests, raging mountain streams and steep meadows, but also hospitable hilly areas and fertile fields with inherent sunflowers, sky blue surface of lakes, ponds and winding river streams. First of all it is a region of valleys, where throughout the centuries the endless work of our ancestors created a civilization materialized in cultural monuments and still lively folklore. In it a region of ancient churches, manor-houses and landlord dominions, but also of well preserved folk architecture - wooden in the north, built of stone in the south (typical with white colonnades, under which garlands of red pepper and golden-yellow tufts of corn are dried during a hot summer.
    The history of Gemer is related to powerful aristocratic families such as Bebek, Andrássy and Coburg. The local population (consisting mostly of Slovaks and Hungarians) suffered a lot by numerous invasions of Turks, who ruled over this territory for more than 150 years in the 16-th and 17-th century.
    There have never been larger cities in the region, only small towns founded on the place of ancient miners’ settlements with small market squares, lively trade and education. Latin elementary schools and grammar-schools in Rožňava, Revúca, Dobšiná, Jelšava, Štítnik, Kameňany, Gemer, Rimavská Sobota, Ožďany and Hrachov educated tens of outstanding personalities of European science, art and culture.
    Developed mining and metallurgical industry has always been a source of prosperity in the region. Large deposits of precious and industrial metals in the hills of Spiš-Gemer Rudohorie and their processing characterized this region for centuries. Wall paintings of Italian provenience which still could be found in local Romanesque and Gothic churches are a very precious product of industrial boom in the region during the Middle-Ages. Biblical scenes and parables, Old Testament and Ungarian legends were the most common motives in the paintings. Out of them, the wall paintings in the church in the village of Štítnik, Plešivec, Koceľovce, Ochtiná, Chyžné, Šivetice, Rákoš, Rimavská Baňa, Rimavský Brezov, Kraskov and Kyjatice can be considered the most unique ones. Many gorgeous and precious wood carving works of art were preserved in each of these Roman-Catholic and Evangelic churches - such as renaissance and baroque style altars, pulpits, baptisteries and organs with lots of sculptures and paintings. Pews and ceiling paintings of colorful decoration are an outstanding proof of local folk creativity.
    Three preserved blast furnaces in Nižná Slaná, Vlachov and Sirk-Červeňany are unique relics of metallurgical industry in the 19-th century. People dealing with traditional crafts - such as shingle and bell production, carpet weaving, lacemaking and pottery can still be found in many of the local villages.
    Local wealth is local nature and its demonstration in the rare phenomenon of karstic and ice caves in the underground of three national parks: Slovenský raj (Slovak paradise), Slovenský kras (Slovak Karst) and Muránska planina (Muránska Plain). Out of them Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa (Dobšinská Ice cave) and Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa (Ochtinská Aragonit Cave) are really world unique. Another one is 32.6 m high stalagmite formation in Krásnohorská jaskyňa (Krásnohorská Cave). It is situated in the Slovenský kras (Slovak Karst), which is our only biospheric reservation registered in the list of the World natural and cultural heritage UNESCO.
    In past, sometimes the Gemer region was referred to as Stella Hungariae. After the mining industry declined, shining reputation of this region faded out. Nowadays, the Gemer region is known first of all as a tourist paradise. The historical monuments (such as Middle-Ages castle Krásna Hôrka with secessional mausoleum of the Andrassy family situated in the area around the castle, hunter’s manor with a park in Betliar, castle ruin in Muráň, historical centers in the cities of Rožňava and Rimavská Sobota as well as artificial water reservoir in Dedinky, in Tornaľa and Teplý Vrch. In winter it is down-hill skiing on the slopes of Radzim and in the Slovak Paradise. You will meet there with virgin nature and interesting experiences.

This is my web-site dedicated to the Gemer region.
I cordially invite you to visit this beautiful part of Slovakia.
Rudolf Kukura

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