Sunday, 27 May 2012



Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia with 95,200 inhabitants as of 2011. Maribor is also the largest city of the traditional region of Lower Styria and the seat of the City Municipality of Maribor.  Maribor is situated among the Pohorje Mountain, the Slovenske gorice Hills and the Kozjak Hills on the gravel terrace of the Drava Valley. The river Drava divides the city on the left (north) and the right (south) bank. The city`s old town core is situated on the left bank of the river Drava. To the north, Maribor is embraced with the town (wine-growing) hills, and on the south-western part of the city, the foothills of the Pohorje Mountain start to rise.

In 1164, a castle known as the Marchburch (Middle High German for "March Castle") was documented in Styria. It was first built on Piramida Hill, which is located just above the city. Maribor was first mentioned as a market near the castle in 1204, and received town privileges in 1254. 

It began to grow rapidly after the victory of Rudolf I of Habsburg over Otakar II of Bohemia in 1278. Maribor withstood sieges by Matthias Corvinus in 1480 and 1481 and by the Ottoman Empire in 1532 and 1683, and the city remained under the control of the Habsburg Monarchy until 1918.
During World War I, many Slovenes in Carinthia and Styria were detained on suspicion of being enemies of the Austrian Empire. This led to distrust between Austrian Germans and Slovenes. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, Maribor was claimed by both the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and German Austria. On 1 November 1918, a meeting was held by Colonel Anton Holik in Melje's barracks, where it was decided that the German speaking city should be part of German Austria. 

On 27 January 1919, Austrian Germans gathered to await the United States peace delegation at the city's marketplace were fired on by Slovenian troops, who apparently feared the crowd of thousands of ethnic German citizens. Nine citizens were killed and more than eighteen were seriously wounded; who ordered the shooting has never been conclusively established. German sources accused Maister's troops of shooting without cause. Conversely, Slovene witnesses such as Maks Pohar claimed that the Austrian Germans attacked the Slovenian soldiers guarding the Maribor city hall. Regardless of who was responsible, the Austrian German victims had all been unarmed. The German-language media called the incident Marburg's Bloody Sunday.

Maribor Castle
As Maribor was now firmly in the hands of the Slovenian forces and encircled completely by Slovenian territory, the city was recognized as part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes without a plebiscite in the Treaty of Saint-Germain of September 1919 between the victors and German Austria.

After 1918, most of Maribor's Austrian Germans left the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs for Austria. This included the German-speaking officials who did not originate from the region. Austrian German schools, clubs, and organisations were ordered closed by the new state of Yugoslavia, even though ethnic Germans still made up more than 25% of the city's total population as late as the 1930s. A policy of cultural assimilation was pursued in Yugoslavia against the Austrian German minority similar to the Germanization policy followed by Austria against its Slovene minority in Carinthia. However, in the late 1930s the policy was abandoned and the Austrian German minority's position improved significantly in an attempt to gain better diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany.

In 1941, Lower Styria, the Yugoslav part of Styria, was annexed by Nazi Germany. German troops marched into the town at about 9 pm on April 8, 1941. The city, a major industrial center with an extensive armaments industry, was systematically bombed by the Allies in the closing years of World War II. A total of 29 bombing raids completely destroyed and devastated around 47% of the city area, killing 483 civilians and leaving over 4,200 people homeless. By the end of the war Maribor was the most destroyed and devastated larger town in Yugoslavia. The remaining German-speaking population, except those who had actively collaborated with the resistance during the war, was summarily expelled following the end of the war in 1945.

After the liberation, Maribor capitalized on its proximity to Austria as well as its skilled workforce, and developed into a major transit and cultural center of Northern Slovenia, enabled by Tito's decision not to build an Iron Curtain at the borders with Austria and Italy and to provide passports to Yugoslav citizens.

When Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, the loss of the Yugoslav market severely strained the city's economy which was based on heavy industry. This resulted in a record unemployment rate of nearly 25%. The economic situation has improved since the mid-1990s. Through the development of small- and medium-sized businesses and industry, Maribor was able to overcome the industrial crisis. Slovenia entered the European Union in 2004. Moreover, Slovenia introduced the Euro currency in 2007 and joined the Schengen treaty; accordingly all border controls between Slovenia and Austria ceased on 25 December 2007.

With one of the country's best ski resorts only a few minutes' drive from the city centre, Maribor is a top destination for both foreign visitors and Slovenes alike during the winter season. In mid-January the city hosts the prestigious Zlata Lisica (or Golden Fox) Audi FIS Women's World Ski Championship, which draws competitors and spectators from around the world, and engulfs Maribor in a citywide party atmosphere. Thanks in part to its 48 years of experience hosting such a major sports event, Maribor has also been chosen as the site of the 26th Winter Universiade in 2013. 

Wine and food form an important part of the Slovene tradition. Mariborians appreciate their wine and swear by it - just as they do the tasty specialties of their cuisine. Tourist farms and wine shops on the three wine roads are choice places to visit during a stay or trip to Maribor and at the same time a pleasant way to end a tiring day. Here you can sit and relax with a glass or two of excellent vintage wine. Likewise in the city and suburb restaurants, inns and pubs you will be pampered with culinary delights.

Maribor's medieval Water Tower
The delights of Slovenian cooking, hidden in old recipes, are now available at almost every turn. Food with tradition can be seen in family inns, special events called osmice and rural experiences. Its faithful companions are the excellent Slovenian wines. Almost everywhere you go in Slovenia you can find tasty and varied dishes, and Slovenian wines can enthuse even the most demanding wine connoisseur. Slovenia's varied cuisine developed with influences from the cuisines of the Mediterranean, the Pannonian plain, the Alps and the Balkans. One special feature of Slovenian cuisine is the osmice in the Karst. At these social events, for eight days farmers serve home-made wine at extremely low prices. Cheeses and dried meat products, particularly the outstanding kraški pršut (air-dried ham), are always available.

While shopping is not the primary motivation for most trips to Maribor, you shouldn't have any trouble finding what you need, be it local crafts, a replacement MP3 player, fresh flowers to brighten up your hotel room or some faded Yugoslav relics from the country's not-too-distant past. In general, souvenir shops are of the specialist variety, with dedicated stores for wine, honey, chocolate and ceramics among others, and there are also some great outdoor markets (ortržnica) that are worth visiting even if you're not interested in actually buying anything. Keep in mind that aside from the modern Europark shopping centre and various markets, only the rarest of exceptions are open on Sunday.

Town Hall
In Maribor the term 'nightlife' is a slight misnomer, since the drinking usually begins well before the sun goes down and can continue until the morning light reminds you that it might be time for bed. With university students accounting for over twenty per cent of its population, the city definitely has a carefree time-to-party vibe to it - although the weekends can be comparatively quiet, as that's when a lot of students return to their parents' houses to stock up on home-made food and have mother do their laundry. In absolute terms, there may not be an overwhelming number of options, but most places do seem to draw quite a crowd and everyone should be able to find something to suit their tastes.

                                                        Maribor’s Top 5:
  1. Maribor Cathedral  The Gothic building dates to the 12th century, and is dedicated to John the Baptist. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Maribor.  The construction of the cathedral and its further development brought Maribor additional cultural impetus and enforcement. It was originally built as a Romanesque building, but today it shows a Gothic style with a long chancel dating from the 14th century and a central church nave from the 15th century. Climb to the top of the bell tower and you will have a view over the city and far beyond.
  2. Maribor Town Hall  Built in 1515, it was remodeled in Renaissance style between 1563 and 1565. In the mid-19th century, it was again renovated in the late Classical style, but was later restored to its original 16th century appearance. Adolf Hitler addressed local Germans from the building's main balcony, overlooking the square during his brief 1941 visit to the city. In addition to city offices, the hall also houses a Slovene national cuisine restaurant, Toti Rotovž. In the square outside the hall there stands the Plague Memorial, which commemorates the “black death” that devastated the city in 1680.
  3. Maribor castle (Mariborski grad). Built by Emperor Frederick III in the 15th century to fortify the northwestern part of the town wall. The castle is located right in the centre of Maribor, surrounded by the Castle square (Grajski trg) and the Trg svobode square (Trg svobode). In the castle, you can visit the Maribor Regional Museum.
  4. The Water Tower is a medieval fortified tower. The tower directly abuts the river Drava, and dates from 1555. A late-renaissance fortification, it consists of massive stone blocks interspersed with embrasures. It was built to secure the southeast part of the city walls from the direction of the river.  At present, the Water Tower houses a wine shop which specializes in top-quality Slovenian wines. It is Slovenia's oldest wine cellar, and is situated in what is now the centre of Maribor. The shop is on the ground floor. The top floor of the tower contains a large, round hall with a high ceiling, reminiscent of a medieval banquet hall, which is dedicated entirely to wine tasting.
  5. Franciscan church The current church with a monastery was built between 1892 and 1900 and replaced an older Capuchin church from 17th century but the vault itself has been preserved.The church has been ordered by the Franciscan monk Kalist Heric, deisgned by Viennese architect Richard Jordan and built by a Viennese builder Josef Schmalzhofer. It's major architectural symbol are the two 58m tall bell towers.  The church interior is decorated with various magnificent details of which the main altar made of 17 different types of marble is the most prominent. In addition there are also 6 side altars.
Franciscan Church


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