Not to be confused with Zwoleń or Zwolle.
City centre of Zvolen
Coat of arms
Country Slovakia
District Zvolen
Rivers Hron, Slatina
Elevation 293 m (961 ft)
Coordinates 48°34′14″N 19°07′3″E / 48.57056°N 19.11750°E / 48.57056; 19.11750Coordinates: 48°34′14″N 19°07′3″E / 48.57056°N 19.11750°E / 48.57056; 19.11750
Area 98.727 km2 (38.119 sq mi)
Population 43,006 (2006-12-31)
Density 436/km2 (1,129/sq mi)
First mentioned 1135
Mayor Lenka Balkovičová
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 960 01
Area code +421-45
Car plate ZV
Location in Slovakia
Location in the Banská Bystrica Region
Wikimedia Commons: Zvolen, Slovakia
Statistics: MOŠ/MIS
Website: www.zvolen.net

Zvolen ( pronunciation ; Hungarian: Zólyom, German: Altsohl) is a town in central Slovakia, situated on the confluence of Hron and Slatina rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. It is a seat of an okres (Zvolen District).


The name is of Slovak (Slavic) origin meaning "the chosen one, splendid, excellent". Hungarian Zólyom and German Sohl were derived from Latinized form Zolium[1] (earliest mention 1135). An adjective "Old" (German: Altsohl, Slovak: Starý Zvolen, Latin: Antiquum or Vetus Solium) distinguish Zvolen from Banská Bystrica (German: Sohl, Neusohl).[1]


Zvolen has been inhabited since the Paleolithic. In the 9th century, a Slavic settlement (today the Môťová neighborhood) became a regional center of what is now central Slovakia. Zvolen remained the capital of Zólyom County until the 1760s. In the 11th and 12th centuries, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe, Pustý hrad, was constructed. The town, originally built under the castle, lay on an important trade route (Via Magna) from Buda to Kraków. Zvolen was granted town privileges by King Béla IV in the 1230s - as one of the first towns in the Kingdom of Hungary. The privileges were confirmed on 28 December 1243, after the original document was destroyed in war. Later, King Louis I the Great built a new castle, which became a popular hunting resort of the Hungarian kings. The future queen regnant Mary of Hungary and emperor Sigismund celebrated their wedding there in 1385.

In the Rákóczi's War of Independence the Kuruc army in the battle of Zvolen defeated the enemy forces from Austria, Denmark, Vojvodina and Hungary.

In 1848-49, Ľudovít Štúr was a member of the Diet, with Zvolen as his constituency. In 1871-1872, two new railways were built and Zvolen became an important railroad hub and important industrial center. Zvolen played an important role during the Slovak National Uprising. Two of its armored trains, which were made in the local railway manufactory, Hurban and Štefánik can be seen near the Zvolen castle.

Zvolen is an important railroad, an important road hub and has a large timber factory and a technical university. An airport in nearby Sliač offers direct flights to Prague. The town square was modernized in 2002 and local businesses are popular with tourists. In wintertime an ice rink is constructed in the center and festive celebrations run throughout December.


Zvolen has a population of 43,147 (as of 31 December 2005).[2] According to the 2001 census, 95.9% of inhabitants were Slovaks and 1.2% Czechs. The religious make-up was 52.5% Roman Catholics, 26.4% people with no religious affiliation, and 15% Lutherans.[2]


The local ice hockey team HKm Zvolen plays in the Slovak Extraliga.

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Zvolen is a member of the Douzelage, a unique town twinning association of 24 towns across the European Union. This active town twinning began in 1991 and there are regular events, such as a produce market from each of the other countries and festivals.[3][4] Discussions regarding membership are also in hand with three further towns (Agros in Cyprus, Škofja Loka in Slovenia, and Tryavna in Bulgaria). {{columns-list|4|

Spain Altea, Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain - 1991
Germany Bad Kötzting, Bavaria, Germany - 1991
Italy Bellagio, Como, Lombardy, Italy - 1991
Republic of Ireland Bundoran, County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland - 1991
France Granville, Manche, Normandy, France - 1991
Denmark Holstebro, Denmark - 1991
Belgium Houffalize, Luxembourg, Belgium - 1991
Netherlands Meerssen, Limburg, Netherlands - 1991
Luxembourg Niederanven, Luxembourg - 1991
Greece Preveza, Greece - 1991
Portugal Sesimbra, Portugal - 1991
England Sherborne, Dorset, England, United Kingdom - 1991
Finland Karkkila, Finland - 1997
Sweden Oxelösund, Sweden - 1998
Austria Judenburg, Styria, Austria - 1999
West Pomeranian Voivodeship Poland Chojna, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland - 2004
Hungary Kőszeg, Hungary - 2004
Latvia Sigulda, Latvia - 2004
Czech Republic Sušice, Czech Republic - 2004
Estonia Türi, Estonia - 2004
Slovakia Zvolen, Slovakia - 2007
Lithuania Prienai, Lithuania - 2008
Malta Marsaskala, Malta - 2009
Romania Siret, Romania - 2010

Other twinnings



  1. 1 2 Štefánik, Martin; Lukačka, Ján, eds. (2010). Lexikón stredovekých miest na Slovensku [Lexicon of Medieval Towns in Slovakia] (PDF) (in Slovak). Bratislava: Historický ústav SAV. p. 564. ISBN 978-80-89396-11-5.
  2. 1 2 "Municipal Statistics". Statistical Office of the Slovak republic. Archived from the original on 2007-04-27. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
  3. "Douzelage.org: Home". www.douzelage.org. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  4. "Douzelage.org: Member Towns". www.douzelage.org. Retrieved 2009-10-21.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zvolen.


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