City of Maribor
Maribor developed in an area 270 meters above sea level beside the Drava River at the transition from the narrow Drava River Valley to the Maribor and Drava plains. It lies at the junction of five natural geographical regions: the hills of Slovenske gorice, the Kozjak mountain range, the Drava Valley, the Pohorje mountain range, and the Drava plain. It has an advantageous position at the juncture of roads and railways from Vienna to Trieste and Zagreb and through the Drava Valley toward Lendava, Ptuj, and Klagenfurt. The Municipality of Maribor has a population of around 133,000.
The economic development of the city was reflected in its social and political life. At first, it was limited to the salons of bourgeois society, but after the seat of the Lavantine diocese was moved to Maribor, differences appeared between progressive and conservative camps within the Slovene middle class that were subsequently joined by the working classes. In 1866, Maribor’s Slovene community established a literary society, published the first Slovene-language newspapers, and later encouraged the study of Slovene history, ethnography, natural sciences, and pedagogy. With the approach of World War I, nationalist fervour increased steadily among the Slovenes and gave rise to activities in defence of the Slovene national identity. These efforts reached their peak in 1918-1919 when General Rudolf Maister occupied the Slovene territory north of Maribor and established today’s border with Austria.
Education and Culture
The city acquired a parochial school In 1224, a secondary school in 1758, its first printing house in 1795, and a theatre in 1852. In 1859, Bishop Anton Martin Slomsek moved the seat of the Lavantine diocese from St. Andrä in Carinthia to Maribor, which ensured Maribor a leading position in the Slovene part of Styria. With the introduction of theological studies, Maribor gained its first college. In 1869, Maribor gained a four-year teacher training college, in 1871 a secondary school, and later a fruitgrowing and viticulture school. Today, Maribor has twenty-five elementary schools and eighteen secondary schools. The University of Maribor was founded in 1975. It includes several faculties and colleges and a well-equipped modern library.
The city experienced decisive development in 19th century, and the biggest boost for Maribor’s economy was the construction of the Vienna-Trieste railway through Maribor. Previous small workshops expanded to become factories, and leatherworks, breweries, steam-operated mills, a brickworks, a meatpacking plant, a grindstone factory, a soap factory (the predecessor of today’s Henkel-Zlatorog factory), and many other forerunners of modern industrial enterprises and institutions emerged. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, larger industrial enterprises were established and joined by several public companies. Since the industrial giants were largely German, German interests dominated Maribor’s business and administration. Between World War I and World War II, the textile and metalworking industries for which Maribor was famous dominated, and Maribor was regarded as the industrial center of the Slovenia until Slovenia achieved independence in 1991. With the loss of the former Yugoslav market following independence, Maribor experienced a major economic crisis. The city and its companies were forced to begin adapting to strong competition in the markets of the European Union, many state-owned companies went bankrupt, and high unemployment burdened the city for several years. The city has overcome the crisis to some extent, the decline of companies has come to an end, and new, modern, and successful companies have emerged in Maribor to again quicken the pulse of the city. In 1996, 4,554 companies and 3,783 individuals and legal persons engaged in small business and skilled trades were registered. There are also 1,240 farms in the area of the Municipality of Maribor. Plans have been prepared for a large new trade and exhibition center on the right bank of the Drava River that will bring new life and activity to this part of the city. A new inland logistic center is also being planned along with a duty-free commercial, industrial, and free-trade zone and other projects that will strengthen the economy of Maribor and confirm its place as Slovenia’s second largest city.
A special site worth seeing is the old Jewish quarter squeezed around Zidovski stolp (“Jewish Tower”) and the synagogue that was probably erected at the end of the 14th century. The synagogue building was frequently renovated and used for various purposes after the Jews were expelled from Styria in 1497. Today the City of Maribor is attempting to renovate and preserve it as a valuable monument. Zidovski stolp, one of the city’s defence towers built in 1464, stands on the southern edge of the former Jewish quarter. It is connected by a defence corridor to Vodni stolp (“Water Tower”) which today houses a wine shop that sells the region’s best wines. Lent, the redeveloped center of the old town along the Drava River, boasts what is probably Maribor’s greatest attraction, a vine more than four hundred years old that is reputed to be the oldest in the world. Its grapes are ceremoniously harvested each year to make wine that fills a number of small bottles. The southeastern part of the city walls ends at Sodni stolp (“Justice Tower”) which served for defence. Nearby is the Minorite church and monastery.
Hotels in Maribor? Try the following hotel options:
The Piramida Hotel is a business hotel. It is located in the very centre of Maribor, in the approximate vicinity of road and railway connections. … [More Details]
Hotel Tabor is a small, cosy, family-run
sport and seminar hotel.The hotel is located in the immediate
vicinity of the sports and event centre “Dvorana Tabor”, almost in
the centre of Maribor ...
Hotel Habakuk is surrounded by beautiful natural environment on the outskirts of Pohorje mountains and only a few minutes drive away from Maribor - the economic, business, cultural and university centre of Štajerska. … [More Details]
One of most important buildings is the Renaissance City Hall or Rotovz, built in 1515; the city’s coat of arm is displayed on the balcony. In front of City Hall stands a plague pillar in memory of the devastation caused by the 1680ý1681 plague which claimed the lives of approximately one fifth of Maribor’s population.
The city is surrounded by forests, fields, and vineyards, and there are many small parks in the very city center. The city park with its ponds and swans is the most beautiful and a wonderful spot for relaxation. In the center of the city there are shops and boutiques that offer Slovene and foreign wares, and the many small bars and restaurants here provide a place to rest after shopping.
Several major fairs throughout the year enrich the city’s life and increase the number of visitors to the city. One of the larger events is the annual spring Power Engineering and Maintenance fair attended by numerous experts and scientists from the whole world. The Plagkem and GIB (Graphics, Engineering, Bureau) exhibitions are also well attended, and the major autumn fairs are the Guest Tour and Flowers and Vine tourism exhibitions.
The summer Lent Festival and the winter Golden Fox ski races always increase the pulse of the city. In January, all Maribor is drawn to the World Cup women’s slalom and giant slalom races. The winter stadium where Slovene ski fans gather at the finish line also draws world’s best women skiers and their supporters from across the world. With its unique location at the foot of the Pohorje mountain range, Maribor is also a popular ski resort where many domestic and foreign guests choose to spend their winter holidays on the snow. The winter stadium slopes are covered with artificial snow, skiing here is also possible in early spring, and particularly attractive is the night skiing which offers a magnificent night panorama of the city. The Lent Festival takes place each year at the beginning of the summer. For almost a month, visitors from near and far can see plays, operas, concerts of classical music, jazz and popular music mini-festivals, and many other events in the pleasant atmosphere along the Drava River.
These and many other events, exhibitions, and festivals are also linked to wine, since the hills around Maribor produce high quality white wines. The latest additions to Maribor’s tourist offer are the Fontana Diagnostic Clinic and the new Habakuk Hotel below the Pohorje mountain range near the winter stadium.
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