The secret and legendary volcano: Mount Sitno

2:30 a.m. After sleeping only for a couple a hours and more than two hours’ drive, we are standing in a big
parking lot in the middle of the island of Bali. A holy volcano mountain called Batur rises above us. We shake
hands with Wayan, our guide for the next several hours. Wayan lives in the next village. For more than ten
years, she has been doing this job, climbing in the dark with tourists, several times a week, to see the nature
theatre: sunrise. And to earn money. 100 dollars a months.
1,770 m. After two hours climbing with more than 200 people and Wayan, occasionally praying to the Balinese
gods, we summit on Batur. One of two active volcanos on Bali.
Two years later. We are climbing again. This time in Slovakia.
In the volcanic mountains of Central Slovakia. On an extinct stratovolcano. A base of more than 50 km. It was
once the biggest in Europe.
It is really a poetic and mystic place.
A place where Bronze Age people sat around the fire and gossiped. Maybe about Fossa Giganteum, a 60 km
long wall, which legends tells was the devil´s creation. Conspiracy theorists call it the world´s oldest building
and the Great Wall of Slovakia.
It is also a place with a proud castle, never damaged by the Mongols or the Turks.
A place with remarkable Silver mines, where fearless miners before descending into the earth, attended the
local Mining Academy opened in 1762, the first university of its kind in the world.
The Štiavnica Mountains. 180 km from Bratislava.
And Sitno mountain. Not only the tallest peak of the Štiavnica Mountains and subject of numerous legends,
also the most mystic and secret peak in Slovakia, and the „gateway to hell“.
The picturesque hiking trail to Sitno starts near lake Počúvadlo, an old artificial water reservoir, built in order to
provide energy for the silver mines, a part of a sophisticated system of 60 reservoirs, connected to each other
by more than 100 km of channels and underground tunnels; continues through the Tatárska lúka meadow,
where a Turkish pasha camped with his troops and prepared a strategy to seize the Sitno Castle and rises up to
300 stairs passing the andesite rock formations.
And it ends on the peak, where in the old chalet the stories come to life.
Harken to the Slovak botanist Andrej Kmeť´s story about 300 rose species flourishing in the forests of Štiavnica
Listen to the passionate mountaineer Dr. Téry about organizing trips to Banská Štiavnica´s surroundings as a
prestigious social activity only for the highest social class, founding the second oldest hiking club “Sitno” in
Europe and marking the very first hiking trail in Europe. In 1864.
Let speak the voices of the heroic knights hidden in the heart of Sitno ready to rise when the people of Slovakia
need them most.
Read the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about searching for treasure in the form of unlimited wisdom,
youth and love.
Because Sitno could be the place where God's favourite human being Dr. Faust in his desire for infinite
knowledge and worldly pleasures could have signed his blood pact with the demon Mephistopheles.