Set in the idyllic rolling hills of the Rožňava District is Nižná Slaná, a tiny village that resembles the many other charming villages in the area. And perched along the outskirts of the tiny town is Huta Etelka, an old iron factory home to the area’s prized blast furnace that’s now little more than dilapidated ruins.
Ironmongery boomed within the region during the 19th century. Count Emanuel Andrássa built this factory and its blast furnace in 1867 to keep up with the demands. The Count named the furnace, which replaced two older ones, after his mother.
The great furnace melted iron ores from nearby mines. The metal was then shipped off throughout Slovakia until the small factory hit its decline. It closed in 1907 and a newer, bigger iron factory was built nearby.
Sadly, time has not been kind to the historic structure, which some see as a monument to the region’s metallurgical past. Its current owners are unwilling to salvage the factory, and thieves continue to loot bits of metal and scraps from within its walls.
But all hope may not be lost. A local nonprofit hopes to rebuild and restore the ruins and transform the space into a mining museum.