There stands Polana, vigorous and wild
There are many towns in Slovakia which were established a millenium ago and which can be proud of old art relics, prominent personalities or rare historical events. From this perspective, Detva is modest. Detva is among the young Slovak towns yet its popularity and place in the national consciousness rouse more attention and interest than other older towns.
In just 360 years Detva has become a symbol of Slovak nationality and uniqueness. It is because in general Detva has had a big influence and has been a firm national base. Detva became famous mainly thanks to its unique folk-art culture. It has its wealth in jewels of the national culture which grew here together with the proud and great people that are living beneath Polana. The name Detva, detvianske, is frequently used and understood in a wider and regional sense.
The town is situated in the centre of the Banska Bystrica district on an international route E571 (state I/50), approximately 23 km east from Zvolen, and 30 km north-west from Lucenec. Detva was founded in 1638 as a feudal commune of the Viglas demesne by its owner Ladislav Caky. The original village expanded very quickly throughout its territory, as did the number of inhabitants. Gradually the foundations were placed for the surrounding villages. The pristine occupations of the natives were shepherding, cattle breeding, wood processing and agriculture. Isolation, almost no contacts with the outside world, and the relatively high degree of remoteness of the villages forced Detva to become as self-sufficient as it was possible. In 1811, its title was promoted to "little town," with the right to organise annual markets. In those days, it was also granted a town's coat of arms, which shows three spruce trees. In 1965 Detva acquired the status of "town," and in 1996 it became the seat of new Detva district.
The "face" of Detva has been gradually changing as time passes. From the agricultural, bucholic village with the strong tradition of sheep-breeding and "bryndza" industry ("bryndza" is a sheep cheese, ground and mixed with salt; in 1787 Detva was the first place in all of Slovakia to start manufacturing bryndza), Detva grew into a new Detva with a large engineering works, Podpolianske strojarne. The historical centre of the town and modern housing developments are in close proximity to each other.
In spite of modernization Detva has preserved its attractiveness. It is strange but you will not find the fabled "stone well" there. However, you will meet people proud of their work, and town, and traditions, who are sincere, generous and conscious of their skills and abilities. Nowadays the city has approximately 15,000 inhabitants and 5,644 ha of cadastral land. Also, Detva still keeps its traditional crafts alive – the furrier's trade, woodcarving, embroidery, and especially folk art.
It is not possible to determine the exact time when the first people appeared south of Polana and in the Detva region. The earliest pieces of evidence, proving the pre-historical settlement of this area, are the archeological sites from the late, middle and early bronze period, found at the rock platform Kalamarka (near Chrapkova).The peak reminds you of a stone castle, surrounded with stone walls, with a flat platform on the top and a stone well. This "Detva castle," veiled by the secrets of many legends, is the most significiant location of the area from an archeological point of view. From the early bronze period come, for example, an inlaid jug; from the middle bronze period remains of settlements were found. The archeological findings also show that this region was settled during the Celtic period and Roman silver coins prove settlement from the times of Caesar Marcus Aurelius. These were found near the village of Hrinova in an earthen vessel. Most of these discoveries are on display as part of an exhibition in the Slovak National Museum in Martin.
The findings of coins and of a metal sword confirm settlement from the Great Moravian Empire period. Slavs left rich traces of their culture here. Some sites found prove that Slavs established good relations with their western neighbours.