Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia with 157,948 inhabitants as of 2011. It is also the largest as well as the capital city of Slovenian region Lower Styria and the seat of the Municipality of Maribor.
In 1164 a castle or Maribor castle known as the Marchburch or Middle High German for “March Castle” was documented in Styria. It was first built on Piramida Hill, just above the city. It was first referred to 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.
Maribor, previously in the Catholic Diocese of Graz-Seckau, became part of the Diocese of Lavant on 1 June 1859, and the seat of its Prince-Bishop. The name of the diocese was subsequently changed to the Diocese of Maribor on 5 March 1962. It was promoted to a district by Pope Benedict XVI on 7 April 2006.
Jews of Maribor
The Jews of Maribor were first mentioned in 1277 when they allegedly already lived in the Jewish quarter of the city, however, the first reliable source dates back to 1317. The Jewish ghetto was located in the south-eastern part of the city and is comprised, at its peak, several main streets in the city center as well as part of the main city square. The ghetto boasted a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery along with a Talmudic school. The Jewish community of Maribor was numerically most significant around 1410. After 1450, the circumstances changed dramatically: increasing competition that coincided with an economic crisis dealt a severe blow to economic activities that were crucial to their economic success. According to the decree issued by Emperor Maximilian I in 1496, Jews were forced to leave. Restrictions on settlement and business for Jews remained until 1861. Maribor synagogue is one of the oldest preserved synagogues in Europe, and one of only two left in Slovenia.
History of Maribor
Prior to the First World War, the city had a Maribor population consisting of 80% Austrian Germans and 20% Slovenes; most of the city’s capital and public life was in Austrian German hands. Thus, it was mainly known by its Austrian name ‘Marburg a der Drau‘.
During World War I, many Slovenes in Carinthia and Styria were detained on suspicion of being enemies of the Austrian Empire, which led to distrust between Austrian Germans and Slovenes. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, Maribor was claimed by the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs and by German Austria. On 1 November 1918, a meeting was held by Colonel Anton Holik in Melje’s barracks, where it was decided the German-speaking city should be part of German Austria. Ethnic Slovene Major Rudolf Maister, who was present at the meeting, denounced the decision. That same day he was awarded the rank of general by the National Council for Styria and organized Slovenian military units which successfully seized control of the city. All Austrian officers and soldiers were disarmed and demobilized and to new German Austria. The city council then held a secret meeting, where it was decided to do whatever possible to regain Maribor for German Austria. They organized a military unit, called the Green Guard, and around 400 well-armed soldiers of this unit opposed the pro-Slovenian and pro-Yugoslav Major Maister. Slovenian troops surprised and disarmed the Green Guard early in the morning of 23 November. Thereafter, there was no threat to the authority of Rudolf Maister in the city.
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, including the German-speaking officials who did not originate from the region. Austrian German schools, clubs, and organizations 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.
Subsequently, 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, resulting in record levels of unemployment of almost 25%. The situation has improved since the mid-1990s with the development of small- and medium-sized businesses and industry, allowing Maribor to overcome the industrial crisis and look forward to brighter days. Slovenia entered the European Union in 2004, introduced the Euro currency in 2007 and joined the Schengen treaty; accordingly, all border controls between Slovenia and Austria ceased in 2007 on Christmas Day.
Popular Tourist Sites in Maribor
Popular tourist sites in Maribor include the 12th century Maribor Cathedral in the Gothic style and the Maribor Town Hall constructed in the Renaissance style. The Maribor castle dates from the 15th century.
The city hosts the University of Maribor, established in 1975, and many other schools. It is also home to the oldest grapevine in the world, called Stara Trta, which is more than 400 years old.
Maribor is the hometown of NK Maribor, a Slovenian football (Maribor football) team. They participated in the UEFA Champions League in the 1999-2000 seasons.
Every January, the skiing center of Mariborsko Pohorje, situated on the outskirts of the city on the slopes of the Pohorje mountain range, hosts women’s slalom and giant slalom races for the Alpine Skiing World Cup known as Zlata Lisica or The Golden Fox. Every June, the two-week Festival Lent is held, with hundreds of musical, theatrical and other events.
Maribor was named as an Alpine city in 2000 and chosen as European Capital of Culture 2012 alongside with Guimaraes, Portugal. Maribor will be the host city of the 2013 Winter Universiade.
In 2008 the new footbridge called “Studenska Brv” was completed. It was designed by Slovenian well knew structural engineering company, Ponting. This bridge also received in 2008 the prestige Footbridge Award, awarded on 3th International Conference Footbridge in Porto.
Some years ago it was also a huge discussion to build the new modern business, residential and entertainment district in Maribor called “Dravska Vrata” with nickname Maribor Manhattan. This megalomanic project would include many new exclusive residential apartments, offices and conference halls, green and recreational “oasis” and other objects. In project was also included 111m tall skyscraper, which would be, if built, the tallest building in Slovenia. Currently, the project is on hold, because of the recent financial crisis.
In the 2010 City of Maribor also organized an international architectural competition ECC Maribor 2012 – Drava 2012 for designing and reconstruction of river Drava banks, for new Art Gallery and for a new footbridge. They received about 400 solutions for three competition zones. The footbridge and river embankments will be built in near future, but the Art Gallery was exchanged with cultural multicenter MAKS, which is currently under construction.
In 2011 also began the construction of new modern Faculty of Medicine near to river Drava. The faculty was designed by architect Boris Podrecca and it is expected to be completed in 2013.
Not very long ago it was also an architectural competition for a renovation of Maribor City Library Rotovz with Rotovz Square and for the Main Square in Maribor. Additionally, the renovation of Maribor Island – Mariborski took is also waiting to see the light of the day.
Some of the main bridges from west to east are namely: Corinthian Bridge, Footbridge Studenci Old Bridge, Tito’s bridge, Rail bridge, Double-storey bridge and so on.
Apart From this, Maribor also has Many Touristic Places and Attractions as well as Many Interesting Events to Boast About:
- Lent Festival- a major festival event held for approximately two weeks at the end of June. Every year the festival attracts theatre, opera, ballet performers, classical, modern, and jazz musicians and dancers from all over the world as well as visitors. There are also mimes, magicians, and acrobats performing during the festival.
- House of the oldest grapevine in the world, in Maribor it is also the world’s oldest grapevine, which was in 2004 signed in a book of Guinness World Records. It is rumored to be 440 years old.
- Women’sslalom and giant slalom races for the Alpine Skiing World Cup known as “Zlata Lisica” or The Golden Fox. This event is held on mountain range Pohorje which is also the most visited place – both recreational and touristic in winter and also summer.
- Maribor Island- the oldest public baths, but still important and well-visited place in Maribor. The city also offers many indoor swimming pools.
- Maribor Castle, Maribor Town Hall Rotovz, Betnava Castle, Plague Memorial, Maribor.
- Wine and culinary specialties- international and Slovene cuisine like mushroom soup with buckwheat mush, tripe, sour soup, sausages with sauerkraut, cheese dumplings, apple strudel, special cheesecake called gibanica to name a few. Also many popular restaurants with Serbian cuisine.
- Vintage Wine Cellar – with 20.000 m2 surface and 2 km (1 mi) length have 5,5 millions liters of excellent wine.
- Maribor City Park with City Aquarium and Terrarium, wide promenade, which leads to the Three Ponds, in a park is over 100 local and foreign species of deciduous and coniferous trees.
- Adrenaline park Pohorje with High Ropes Course, one track line PohorJET, summer sledding and Bike park Pohorje.
- Maribor Synagogue- built in the 14th century, it is the second oldest in Europe. Today, it serves as a center for cultural activities and it offers visitors various events including exhibitions, concerts, literary evenings and roundtables. The Synagogue is located in the square Jewish square in the former Jewish quarter.
- Kalvarija and Piramida surrounded by vineyards.
- Maribor, along with Guimaraes, is going to be European Capital of Culture in 2012.
The city of Maribor has 12 districts as listed below, but the whole Municipality of Maribor also includes Kamnica, Pekre, Limbus, Razvanje, Malecnik-Rupert, and Srebrenica-Gaj. The river Drava divides the district’s Center, Koroska Vrata, Melje and Ivan Cankar from the other districts of the city. They are all connected with 4 traffic bridges, 1 train bridge, and 1 pedestrian bridge.
In 2012 Maribor will be the European Capital of Culture and in 2013 it will also host the XXVI 2013 Winter Universiade. In November 2010 The European Youth Forum announced that Maribor will be in 2013 also the European Youth Capital