Profile of the town
History of Bojnice
Bojnice located in the central part of Upper Nitra Trough at tne bottom of the Small Magura range on the right bank of the Nitra river has its oldest history - the geological one vvritten with rocky signs in geological formations and fossils.
In the places where all you can find today are fields, meadows and forests, in the prehistoric era a warm paleogennic sea heated with sun light used to ripple, full of vanous aquatic organisms. This variety of Bojnice ancient life is proved by fossil elements of important zoological groups, for instance rocky flower-shaped corals riblike scallops or turretlike gastropodes Numulits, shaped like coins and very likely to be found in this area were the dominant animal group of the Tertiary sea Thanks to these 66 million years old fossil discoveries Bojnice is one of the classic paleontologic resorts of Slovakia well known also beyond the borders of our small country.
Other rocky traces of life lead us to the Quaternary period - the geological present. A number of significant changes took place during this era which started 1.7 million years ago such as major drop in temperature and the human existence. Discoveries of mammoth, rhinocerus, bear, horse and deer rocky bone parts prove that big mammals found their way to survive in this cold steppelike environment very quickly. During the Quaternary period warm springs emanating from the ground across this area created thick layers of fresh water calcspar - travertine on which the town was later built.
Bojnice is ono of the oldest palaeolithic settlements found in Slovakia. The first people to settle near the castle hill came 100 000 years ago during the Riss-Wurm interglacial age.
Preposťs cave is another discovery resort. The people of palaeolithic era left many stone working tools behind: pluckers, scraping tools, drills and prongs.
Midpalaeolithic era wasn't followed by any cultural groups. The neolithic settlement and Bronze Age settlement traces are very unclear. The settlement of the Haltstat period though left theirtraces in places of Bojnice old town. Appearently the people of Puchov civilization built a fortress which was later adjusted by Slavics. Besides regular slavonic pottery and metal items discoveries also tar industry was documented by Bojnice's artifacts. In the middle of the 9th century previous watchhabitation progressed into a contemporary cohabitation, centre of military defence, municipal, trade, producing and religious life.
The history of town is linked to the Bojnice fortress. It became the oldest architectural monument in Bojnice, historically documented in the Abbey of Zobor letter dating back to 1113 mentioning "de suburbanis Baimoz..." (the village near the manor). Evidences prove the existence of the fortress dating back to 1113 and the rocky " castle" dates back to 1302. As the church administration made it its seat, it became a presbytery too, a centre of religious life. Tother evidences proves also the existence of church (a building) in 1244, the Abbey of Zobor document as local healing springs.
In 1366 Bojnice was given the privileges of a town by king Louis the 1st granting the rights for meatworks, mill, spa and annual fair. These privileges helped to develop Bojnice's craft and trades and the economic and politic significance of the town grew too. From 14th to 18th century aristocracy owning the manorial estates controlled the privileged sale in town (so-called regalia) and it was only up to their favour whether the town was prospering or regressing.
Religious life took very important part in the history of Bojnice. The ecclesiastical history started by building the church and creating the presbytery in the 12th century. Establishing new presbyteries in Bojnice's area during the 14th century, the house of Nofri's provided the town with increasing importance. During the Reformation in the 16th and 17th century between 1610-1638 Bojnice became the seat of Superintendency (church district) afterthe Synod (clerical assembly) had been held in Žilina. Having gained the manor, house of Palfi's tried to bring the catholicism back among the people of Bojnice collaborating with the Jesuit and Piarist Orders.
Battle conflicts of the 16th century caused much suffering in Bojnice. The threat of turkish (osman) endangerment and class wars required encircling the town with city walls for its better safety. Fortifying works in Bojnice began during the reign of house of Turzo and continued on during the reign of house of Palfi who instead of wooden palisades built a stone fortification system.
However, there weren't only decadent influences and destruction in Bojnice's history. During the economic progression periods the agriculture's significance grew as well as handicrafts production and trade. This revival was succesful thanks to the postal and commercial channel leading from Vienna to Krakovy (Poland) crossing Bojnice and then all the way down to Transylvania. From 1613 to 1823 Bojnice was one of the postal stations and local markets with salt, iron, jewels and saffron were attractive for merchants from as far as Vienna, Moravia and Bohemia. On Pavol Palfi's request in 1647 emperor Ferdinad the 3rd granted Bojnice new privileges and orders making the draught during the winter seasons its main income however restricting the forest use right.
Economic prosperity enabled organizing the guild system. The shoemakers established the first guild in town in 1653 follovved by brickmasons, bootmakers, tailors, weavers, dyers, furriers and coopers. Bojnice became one of the foremost towns in the Nitra region under the leadership of elected village mayorand 12 senators. There were other authorities and facilities at the town council such as scrivener, heyduck, pillory, jail and a typical device for corporal punishment in public called deresh.
Increasing of manufacture production caused the crafts and trades decline which resulted in later regress lasting also after the abolition of serfdom in 1848. Bojnice remained the economic, municipal and military centre of the Upper Nitra region and Bojnice county until 1872.
Moving on to modern history, Bojnice was given the statute of town in 1966 and ever since then the town has been gaining its previous significance as a popular touristic and health resort. Interesting landmarks and naturall endowments as well as variety of cultural, sport and touristic activities make it a place worth your visit.
Texts: Team of specialist Hornonitrianske muzeum