The first written record about a settlement lying in territory of our city is dated to 1075. It was situated on a plateau near the valley of river Hron and surrounded by mountains from three sides- Štiavnica mountains Kremnica mountains and Vtáčnik mountains. The original name of the settlement is not known, but in there is a mention of the name “Cristur“ latin Santa Crux, (Holy Cross in English). Geographical location created a natural intersection of significant communication links, therefore the settlement was rapidly growing. In 1246 Svätý kráž nad Hronom („Holy Cross over Hron”) was given a city law. More information can be found on sites of the city Žiar nad Hronom.
On the 15th of May in 1720, Maximilian Hell- an excellent astronomer of 18th century was born in Štiavnické Bane, 35km from Holy Cross. And in 1955 a construction of the main part of a large industrial zone ZSNP was built. By this occasion city was renamed to Žiar nad Hronom. However, the industrialisation had also a positive impact as it concentrated more intelligent and gifted people in the city.
In 1962, several workers of ZSNP (J. Lačný, A. Imrich, Š. Kochan, Ing. Kubovič, Dr. Matula a Ing. Patráš) founded an astronomical club. It was rapidly growing and finally led to creating a district observatory. On its base today’s planetarium and observatory was created (emerged). Its activity started in 1973. The leader of the astronomical club and the first director of the observatory became Štefan Kochan.
Initial observations of star occultations by Moon, meteors and solar photosphere were done on provisional observation built at nearby Ladomerská Vieska. In 1967, these amateur astronomers received an old water tower from city of Žiar nad Hronom. They reconstructed the building during only three years. Since reconstruction, it has served as an astronomical observatory. The original telescopes were actually used till recent past.
The official provision of the observatory was an initial impulse to further changes. The professional and popularizing astronomical programmes for the public have begun to develop. Here are some recent chronological highlights of observatory’s history: