Ptuj is a city and one of 11 urban municipalities in Slovenia. Traditionally the area was part of the Lower Styria region. The municipality is now included in the Podravje statistical region. It has about 23,000 inhabitants. The nearest airports are Ptuj Sports Airfield or Moskanjci, which is seven kilometers away, and Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, which is eighteen kilometers away.
The Ptuj City and Culture
Ptuj is the cultural, administrative, economic, employment, educational, and traffic center of the wider region. The city developed at the junction of Slovenske Gorice, Dravsko polje, and Ptujsko polje and also covers the area of Haloze to the south. According to the 1997 figures, the City Municipality of Ptuj has 32,043 residents and covers about 118 sq. km. It lies 232 meters above sea level and an annual average precipitation of 890 mm. After World War II, the city developed from a small rural town, and with its growth individual areas of the city took shape such as the old city center where extensive renovations have been made, new parts of the city with apartment buildings and individual residences, industrial areas, and so forth. Because of their historical significance, many buildings in Ptuj are protected as monuments. Near the city, the largest reservoir in Slovenia has been formed by a dam on the Drava River.
Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia. There is evidence that the area was settled in the Stone Age. In the Late Iron Age, it was settled by Celts. By the 1st century BC, the settlement was controlled by Ancient Rome. In 69 AD, Vespasian was elected Roman Emperor by the Danubian legions in Ptuj, and the first written mention of the city of Ptuj is from the same year. The city of Poetovio was the base-camp of Legio XIII Gemina in Pannonia. The name originated in the times of Emperor Trajan, who granted the settlement city status and named it Colonia Ulpia Traiana Poetovio in 103. The city had 40,000 inhabitants until it was plundered by the Huns in 450.
In 570 the city was occupied by Eurasian Avars and Slavic tribes. Ptuj became part of the Frankish Empire after the fall of Avar state at the end of 8th century. Between 840 and 874 it belonged to the Slavic Balaton Principality of Pribina and Kocelj. Between 874 and 890 Ptuj gradually came under the influence of the Archbishopric of Salzburg; city rights passed in 1376 began an economic upswing for the settlement. As Pettau, it was incorporated into the Duchy of Styria in 1555.
Pettau was a battleground during the Ottoman wars in Europe and suffered from fires in 1684, 1705, 1710, and 1744. Its population and importance began to decline in the 19th century, however, after the completion of the Vienna-Trieste route of the Austrian Southern Railway, as the line went through Marburg or Maribor instead.
According to the 1910 Austro-Hungarian census, 86% of the population of Pettau’s Old Town was German-speaking, while the population of the surrounding villages predominantly spoke Slovene. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I, Pettau was included in the short-lived Republic of German Austria, but after the military intervention of the Slovenian general Rudolf Maister, the entire territory of Lower Styria was included into the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs or Yugoslavia. During the interwar period, the number and the percentage of those identifying as Germans in the city, which was renamed Ptuj, decreased rapidly, although a relatively strong ethnic German minority remained.
After the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, Ptuj was occupied by Nazi Germany. From 1941 to 1944 the town’s Slovenian population was dispossessed and deported. Their homes were taken over by German speakers fromSouth Tyrol and the Gottschee County, who had themselves been evicted according to an agreement between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. These German immigrants, along with the native German Pettauer, were expelled to Austria in 1945; many later settled in North America. Since 1945 Ptuj has been populated almost completely by Slovenians.
Ptuj is the center place of a ten-day-long carnival in the spring, an ancient Slavic pagan rite of spring and fertility, called Kurentovanje or Korantovanje. Kurent is believed to be the name of an ancient god of hedonism – the Slavic counterpart of the Greek Priapos, although there are no written records.
Kurenai or Koranti are figures dressed in sheep skin who go about the town wearing masks, a long red tongue, cowbells, and multi-colored ribbons on the head. The Kurenai from Ptuj and the adjoining villages also wear feathers, while those from the Haloze and Lancova vas wear horns. Organized in groups, Kurents go through town, from house to house, making noise with their bells and wooden sticks, to symbolically scare off evil spirits and the winter.
Some of the landmark places in Ptuj are: Ptuj Castle is a castle in Ptuj, Slovenia. It is situated on a hill alongside the river Drava overlooking the town and is a prominent landmark. The castle was built in the mid-12th century when it was constructed to defend against the Hungarians. At this time Ptuj was owned by the Archdiocese of Salzburg.
The Church of Saint George, in Ptuj, is one of the oldest churches in Slovenia. It is located behind the monolithic Roman tombstone, the Monument of Orpheus. The church was used as a pillory in the Middle Ages and was of major importance to living in the town. Records indicate it was built around 1140. The paintings, whose remains are on walls, were made from the late 13th to the end of the 15th century. In 1863 the church became Provost.
The Monument of Orpheus is a Roman monument in Ptuj, Slovenia. It is 5 meters high and 1.8 meters wide and is made from white Pohorje marble. It is located in front of the town tower in the middle of Slovenian Square. The oldest public monument in Slovenia preserved at its original location, the white monolith was erected in memory of Marcus Aurelius Vera, the mayor of Petovio in the 2nd century.
The parish church in the settlement is dedicated to Saint George and belongs to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Maribor. It is a three-naved Gothic building from the 13th and early 14th century, but the structure incorporates parts of a much earlier structure, dating to the mid-9th century.
A glance inside the museum, galleries, libraries, archives, theatre, and the National Center reveals many centuries of cultural heritage linked to modern life. The old compositions, the new art studios, and the theatre performances that take place in the unique ambiance of cloisters, courtyards, loggias, and cobblestone streets-all these offer us an interesting fragment of the life in our city. But Ptuj is not merely a city with stories from the past. Maybe it is true that the most beautiful pictures of Ptuj were already painted and the most remarkable houses already built, but many important creators also gathered in Ptuj in the 20th century to contribute to the new appearance of the city.