The territory of Nova Bana belongs among the interesting, but as yet undiscovered, regions of Slovakia. As the following information shows, it is only a question of time and primarily a question of offerings and awareness, for it to become an attractive centre for the rural travel industry and agrotourism.
Nova Bana lies in the basin between two mountain ranges, Pohronsky Inovec and Stiavnicke vrchy (Stiavnica Mountains), which are separated by the River Hron. The dominant mountain range of this region is Pohronsky Inovec (901 m a.s.l.), which spreads out between the Tribec and Stiavnicke vrchy (Stiavnica Mountains). From the viewpoint of geological development it is a part of a volcanic chain of mountains.
The primary volcanic activity is related to the early Tertiary. In the first stages of volcanism lava flows, spills and explosions of andesite composition dominated, climaxed by the origin of a gigantic 6 km high volcano – the Stiavnica stratovolcano. Nova Bana is situated on the slope of this formation. In the depths, a vast body of granodiorite was formed which conditioned the origin of the famous Stiavnica-Hodrusa mineralisation. The end of the volcanic activity had a rhyolitic character. The gigantic rhyolite formations Haj and Gupna originated near Nova Bana, as did smaller seams of rhyolites in the Chlm massif south of Rudno nad Hronom.
After a long period of quiet, volcanic activity was renewed in the Post-Tertiary explosion of the Putikov vrsok (peak) volcano and subsequently a gushing of basanites in the vicinity of Brehy and Tekovska Breznica. In this period the River Hron as we know it today was formed. The Pohronsky Inovec was morphologically divided from Stiavnicke vrchy (Stiavnica Mountains) through erosion activities.
The occurrence of seams of ores containing precious metals – gold and silver – is linked with the volcanic activity in this region. The seams are concentrated in three ore beds between Nova Bana and Pukanec. They originated in the final stages of volcanic activity when they were deposited from hot liquids in the underground fissures created. They have a variable thickness from a few tens of centimetres to 40 metres.
No reliable data has been preserved regarding the content of gold and silver in Nova Bana ores. The annual extraction of gold was in the period of relative prosperity at the end of the 18th century about 13 kg on average, and only exceptionally rose to 20 to 25 kg.
The fluvial network has a fan-shaped arrangement. The flow of the River Hron, which runs in a northeast-southwest direction, can be considered as the axis of the territory. From the western to the northwestern side, streams carrying water from Pohronsky Inovec connect to it and from the east to southeast side streams draining Stiavnicke vrchy (Stiavnica Mountains). In the surroundings of Nova Bana the River Hron forms a pleasant meander as a consequence of stopping of the flow by lava from the Putikov vrsok (peak) volcano.
The character of the climate derives from the diversity of the land, where a warm to moderately cool mountain climate predominates with annual precipitation of 600 – 900 mm. The impact of Podunajska pahorkatina (Danubian Hills), however, puts the territory among warm, moderately damp regions with a characteristically moderate winter.
In terms of vegetation, deciduous trees and mixed forests are typical for the territory. Forests of beech, common hornbeam, English oak, Sessile oak and Turkey oak are richly represented, while black alder, white willow, common whitebeam, elms, maples and other trees occur less frequently. The most commonly occurring coniferous trees are non-native species: common spruce, and European larch and Scots pine to a lesser extent. The rare silver fir is a component of the original hornbeam woodlands.
Variform and varied-flowering species of herb are found, especially in meadows and pastures and on deforested slopes, as well as in the River Hron bottomland and its adjacent foothills. In our mountains and mountain meadows we can find the European cyclamen, snowdrops, pasque flower and saffron. On the southern slopes of Stiavnicke vrchy (Stiavnica Mountains) it is possible to find black pea, hairy greenweed, tufted fescue, wood bluegrass and different species of bracken. Many of these plants are protected species.
The fauna is characterised by domination of the sub-mountain zone, in which most species occurring in Slovakia are represented. Representative species from the lowland and mountain zones also penetrate into the region. It is commonly possible to run across European roe deer, mouflon as well as common deer and wild boar. Among wild animals, bears and wolves are occasionally seen in addition to the more common fox, mink and weasels. The Eurasian lynx or common badger are also found, but only rarely. One interesting group is the bats – with more than 10 species represented. Among the rarest birds are the common kingfisher, the black stork and especially the lesser spotted eagle and the eastern imperial eagle.
Fishes include the common species of the sub-mountain as well as the lowland zone. The Danube salmon occurs, but only rarely, while the northern pike, common pike-perch and the largest fish – the wels catfish – are more common. The rare small Eurasian minnow also lives in the streams. The diversity of the animal kingdom here is also supplemented by a great number of reptiles, frogs and insects.
Several nature reserves, natural landmarks or other places of natural interest are located on the territory of Nova Bana.
The Bujakov vrch (peak) nature reserve
It is located on the cadastral boundary between Velka Lehota and Nova Bana, perhaps halfway between the mountain Vojsin and Sedlova skala (Saddle Rock) and covers a total of 1.26 ha. The subject of protection is one of the northern-most occurrences of the great pasque flower in central Slovakia.
The Andezitove kamenne more (The Andesite stone sea) national nature reserve
It is located on the southeast edge of the village of Mala Lehota in the part named Skalie and covers an area of 1.43 ha. The subject of protection is the decaying lava flow of andesites which was formed 14.5 mil. years ago. Conditions during the cooling of the lava led to the creation of an internal structure in the hardening lava flow which had as a consequence its breaking up into irregular blocks. The “stone sea” is the last stop on the Vojsin Nature Trail.
The Starohutiansky vodopad (Waterfall of Stara Huta) national natural landmark
It is located on an unnamed stream perhaps 300 m from the hamlet of Stara Huta (a part of Nova Bana). The height of the waterfall is 5 m. The rocky wall runs from the waterfall in the direction of Jasekova skala (rock) at a height of around 10 m. It is the first stop on the Vojsin Nature Trail.
Stamproch, Haj, Havrania (Raven Rock) and Cervena skala (Red Rock)
Stamproch GPS: 48.27338,18.385023
Haj GPS: 48.440533,18.662682
Havrania skala GPS: 48.421397,18.652586
Cervena skala GPS: 48.421326,18.648101
These are locations linked to the Haj rhyolite massif, which reaches an elevation of 712.5 m a.s.l. The sharp ridge, running from the peak point of Haj to the south toward Havrania skala (Raven Rock), offers morphologically interesting formations, for example, extensive natural rocks of uncovered rhyolite, or a hillside scree observable even from the valley of the River Hron. From Havrania skala (Raven Rock), with a height of the stone escarpment of 30-40 m, it is possible to admire the meander of the River Hron in the surroundings of Brehy and Tekovska Breznica. Cervena skala (Red Rock) is only a 10-minute walk from Havrania skala (Raven Rock) in a western direction but offers, however, a completely different view over the surrounding countryside.
Sedlova skala (Saddle Rock)
A giant wall of andesite located northwest of Nova Bana at an elevation of 777.6 m a.s.l. This viewpoint is among the highest in the surroundings of Nova Bana and offers a nice view on the panorama of the Kremnicke vrchy (Kremnica Mountains), but also Stiavnicke vrchy (Stiavnica Mountains) and its highest peak, Sitno.
Vrablikova skala (rock)
It is located on the northern slope of the mountain Firceng, on the left of the road from Nova Bana to Stara Huta. For more capable hikers able to handle the 4-metre climb up the rock wall to the peak, the view from the stone bench hewn into the cliff to the Nova Bana basin will be a pleasant surprise.
on the territory of the town represent not only dominant landscape-forming elements or dendrological items of interest but are also living monuments of significant historical events.
Such is the large-leaved linden tree (Tilia platyphillos), growing near the parish church in Nova Bana. It was planted in 1726 on the occasion of repair of the church burned by the Turkish army. During its 277 years the circumference of its trunk has reached an unbelievable 584 cm and it has reached a height of 25 metres. As of 2008 the crown of the tree had reached a diameter of 22 m.
Among the original trees which served the local administrator as genetic material for obtaining new varieties of cultivars, are, for example, the common European pear (Pyrus communis), which grows in the area of the Nova Bana crofts. At 300 years of age, with a trunk circumference of 310 cm and with its silviculture significance, it deserved to be added to the list of protected trees (only 4 such individuals are protected in Slovakia).
The list is in particular made up of species which were brought here purposefully. Eight samples of giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) grow at four different local sites. In California, from where they originated, this tree reaches height of up to 100 m.
At the Salasiska location near Nova Bana there are 5 burly, century-old sequoias with typical reddish-brown peeling bark. The gigantic trunks, with a circumference up to 380 cm, and heights up to 30 m magnify their majesty. In the region there is also a morphologically exceptional 85-year old sequoia growing in Nova Bana, in the Hradza district. It has a height of 23 m and a trunk circumference of 477 cm. The tallest individual (34 m) grows in the park near the Kohutovo pilgrimage chapel. The sequoia in the locality of Feriancov Rigel now has, unfortunately, a broken peak to its crown due to a lightning strike.
Another among the non-native species is the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). Although the original area of its occurrence is North America, it also successfully grows in the grounds of the Lipa Day Centre for Seniors on Kalvarska Street in Nova Bana. It is 100 years old, has a trunk circumference of 207 cm and is 18 m tall. It is characterised by the exceptional shape of its leaves and the beauty of its flowers.
The Checkers tree (Sorbus torminalis) growing on Sitarov vrch (peak) (GPS: 48.273067,18.372147) in Nova Bana is the dendrological dominant of the Nova Bana crofts. The tree has grown to a trunk circumference of 232 cm and a height of 21 m, with a crown diameter of 15 m. Only two such trees are protected in Slovakia.
An exceptionally rare exemplar is the common English vine (Hedera helix), growing in the cemetery in Nova Bana, the only one of its species protected by law. The main reason for its protection is its association with the historical events from the revolutionary years of 1848 – 49.
Aside from protected trees in the town there are other examples of trees of local significance which are more than a hundred years old. One of these is the so-called Dodek’s linden tree planted on 28 October 1918 by the first Slovak mayor, Karol Dodek, on the occasion of the origin of the Czechoslovak Republic. It grows in front of the building of today’s Elementary Art School. A more than century-old common pear grows on Kutovska Road, and in the Jarmila district there is a more than century-old English oak, also known as Sasvari’s oak. It was named after the person who saved it, a local woodsman and conservationist who prevented its being cut down. In the Tajch recreational area is a Norway maple planted in 1874 by Stefan Wolf, a local teacher.