Rudnany (in Hungarian, Otosbanya or Kotterbach; in German, Koterbach or Koterbachy) is a mostly Slovak settlement in the Spis (in Hungarian, Szepes; in German, Zips) County. Around 1900, minorities included Hungarians (20.9%) and Germans (9.2%). Rudnany (the town’s official name since 1948) has a current population of 3,202. Out of the total number of inhabitants, there are 1,176 Roma (Gypsy). There are 491 unemployed people in the municipality, including 217 women. About 40 people are homeless. Rudnany lies in the eastern part of the Slovenske rudohorie (Slovak ore mountain range), which is known for its natural beauty.
Archaeological evidence suggests man settled the area in which Rudnany lies during the Neolithic Era (8,000 to 4,000 years ago). The oldest written reference to Rudnany is in a charter issued by Belo IV, King of Hungary, in 1255. It mentions a sparsely settled area called “Kuffurbach” where Rudnany now exists. According to documents from 1332, the noble family of Mariassy founded the village, known as Cugerbach at the time. Rudnany grew alongside the nearby town of Porac, which the Mariassy family owned.
Rudnany was within the Kingdom of Hungary until 1918 when the Declaration of Martin (and later, the Treaty of Trianon in 1920) divided the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During some its time within the Kingdom of Hungary, the Csaky family owned the lower part of Rudnany and managed it from nearby Odorin. From 1920 to 1938, Rudnany was part of Czechoslovakia, and from 1939 to 1945 part of Slovakia. It was once again a city in Czechoslovakia after 1945. It became part of Slovakia when the nation split into two parts, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1992.
Rudnany owes its existence to the mining industry. The town’s lucrative mines brought many German immigrants during the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. In these mines, workers mined silver, iron, mercury and copper (Kuffurbach, Cugerbach, Kotterbach, Koterbach, and Koterbachy all translate to “Copper Creek” in English). Rudnany gradually became a major supplier of raw iron ore. In the 18th century, many of the mines belonged to the Mining Association of Upper Hungary, in which a well-known Spis family, the Probstners, played a significant role. Andrej Probstner was one of the most important shareholders in Rochus, the Porac-Rudnany mining association. Rudnany delivered iron ore for developing the iron industry in the Spis region since the second half of the 18th century. In the 19th century, the ore was exported abroad. Companies exploited and modernized the mines at the end of the 19th century, and Rudnany became one of the greatest producers of mercury in the country. Economic crises from 1900 to 1903 and 1913 to 1914 hit Rudnany very hard. The government of Czechoslovakia nationalized local mines 1946, and in 1999, residents of Rudnany founded a mining guild to preserve the tradition of mining habits. At present, the mining industry has ceased in Rudnany.
Because of the mining character of the village, the only architecturally interesting building is the Roman Catholic church, constructed in the late 19th century. Local authorities are currently working to revitalize the town and the area around it by restoring older structures, modernizing the town’s utilities, and providing recreational areas for the town’s residents. Rudnany has 17 local roads and natural gas is available throughout the town. A municipal building, post office, savings bank and health center were recently constructed. The restoration of several Communist-era apartment buildings has provided much-needed living space for the young families of Rudnany. Near the church, workers constructed a new cemetery with a mausoleum and urn wall. On the mausoleum wall there exists a memorial plaque with the names of 83 miners who lost their lives in fatal mining accidents from 1943 to 1994. For recreation, the town constructed a sports center in Zimna Valley.
Two escutcheons, or shield-shaped emblems bearing a coat of arms, are fixed on the front of the municipal building. One displays Rudnany's coat of arms and the other depicts St. Clement, patron of Rudnany’s miners.
Nearby towns include Odorin, Cepanovce, Huta, Porac, Zavadka, Danusovce, Matejovce, Lieskovany, Markusovce, Teplicka and Kosmaric.