Bátovce. (Not only) Queens’ Town

Bátovce is located at the centre of Levice, Banská Štiavnica and Dudince. Today, its population is 1165 inhabitants; in the past, however, it used to be a royal town. The town’s attractivity is enhanced today not only by historical buildings, but also by beautiful nature, as the town is located directly in the centre of Bátovská dolina valley, at the junction of Sikenica and Jabloňovka brooks. Do you know that there is a stone baroque bridge over Sikenica? Bátovce is full of such surprises.

Like Pukanec, Bátovce was populated by German mining engineers and workers in the 13th century. They didn’t work in Bátovce though, but they traded on markets, which have had a long tradition in Bátovce. It is because of the markets that Bátovce has the inseparable title of “queens’ town”. During the early Middle Ages already, it was a market centre, which belonged to the queen’s estates.

The markets in Bátovce aren’t just a thing of the past. Even today, regular Farmers’ Markets and the famous Bátovce Fair, which is visited by 5000 visitors annually, take place here.

Bátovce also hosts an international arts festival thanks to the Pôtoň Theatre; sportspeople could enjoy the Run Around the Queens’ Town. I visited Bátovce out of season, so to speak, so I visited sacral and historical sights and local nature thanks to a local guide’s willingness.

Churches in Bátovce

The Roman Catholic St. Martin’s Church is originally a Romanesque building from the 1st half of the 13th century, visible from several kilometres’ distance.

The original Romanesque nave is thanks to its dimensions one of the biggest of its kind on our territory, which suggests a lot about the importance of Bátovce during the building of the first church. The Gothic period is observable primarily in the western and southern portals. The church’s interior is breath-taking and even visitors who aren’t history enthusiasts can appreciate the beauty of the altars and the wall paintings.

As it was with Pukanec, German residents brought Lutheran creed to Bátovce. Bátovce can therefore boast two prominent churches, too. The view of the church from the outside is monumental, but it fades in comparison with the view that visitors can enjoy as they enter the church. Regular clear lines and huge space suggest great acoustics not only during worship services, but also during concerts.

The Curia

The originally yeoman curia has a rich history and used to have multiple functions. According to available information, it served as a pub, there was a dance room upstairs and its cellar was used as the village jail.

Today, the renovated premises serve as a marriage hall; there is a small village museum upstairs which informs about the life in the past in Bátovce. Visitors can see the furnishings of a peasant room, farming equipment, historical photographs, and various written documents. A fun part is an exposition of socialist curiosities, many of which we remember as parts of our households.

In the Fresh Air

Do you want to go on an outdoor trip? There is a 5-kilometre-long educational trail starting in Bátovce square. The first stop, where you’d like to spend some time, is the water reservoir Lipovina. Its surroundings are suitable for barbecue and fishermen can use the opportunity to catch carps.

The educational trail continues, however, and on the second bank of the reservoir you will discover a forest path, which leads to traditional vinicultural cellar houses. Today, they are used primarily for recreational purposes as cottages, but some residents still process or store wine here.

There is a beautiful view of the village landmarks from here. Looking at churches’ towers, peacefully rising surrounded by the beautiful nature, it was clear to me that this wasn’t my last visit of Bátovce and that I would at least watch for the date of the next Bátovce fair.