The town of Zlatna is made up of the town proper and 19 surrounding localities - Boteşti (Golddorf), Budeni (Higendorf), Bulbuc (Ochsenhirt), Dealu Roatei (Rotberg), Feneş (Wildendorf), Fântânele (Funtinel), Trâmpoiele (Trempojel), Izvoru Ampoiului (Gross-Ompeil), Galaţi (Galz), Presaca Ampoiului (Ober-Pressendorf), Pătrângeni (Peters), Podu lui Paul (Pauls), Părău Gruiului (Gruybach), Pirita (Pfirth), Runc (Goldrücken), Ruşi (Rusch), Suseni (Oberdorf), Valea Mică (Kleinwasser), and Vâltori (Waldrücken).
Located 36 km north-west of Alba Iulia, in the Zlatna depression, the town lies at the confluence of Ampoi River with Valea Morilor creek.
A gold mining settlement has existed in the area since Roman times, when it was known as a municipium under the name of Ampellum. The name Zlatna (derived from the Slavic term for gold) was first recorded in a 1347 document. In 1387, it was awarded town status. During 1619-1620 Gabriel Bethlen, brought to Zlatna a few hundred German and Slovakian settlers for mining work. Zlatna regained its town status in 1968, after a time when it was officially a village.