Maribor (130,000 inhabitants) is the second largest city in Slovenia. This historic city is located in Lower Styria along the banks of the Drava river at about 273 meters above sea level. The city is situated in a very favorable position right at the crossroads of the main European routes along the Drava river, between Pohorje, Kozjak and the Slovenian hills.
The city originated in the twelfth century first as a castle and then as a market area around the castle. In the Middle Ages the city was the center of Jewish communities in the area. Consequently, between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries in the south-east part of the city, the Jewish ghetto was built, consisting of houses, the synagogue, the Jewish cemetery and the Talmudic school. The Jews were driven out in 1496 by decree of Maximilian I.
In the 13th century Maribor gained city privileges and has since been under Habsburg control. The city was part of the Habsburg Empire until the end of the First World War and until then was known by its German name of Marburg an der Drau. Maribor fell under German control during World War II. In fact, the city was occupied by the Nazis in April 1941.
WHAT TO SEE IN MARIBOR: TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
The center of Maribor features numerous medieval buildings. These include the remains of the city walls, including several towers. The ruins of the first Maribor castle built in the 12th century are located on the Piramida hill. Among the religious buildings stands out the Maribor Cathedral, a Gothic-style building dating back to the 13th century. The ancient synagogue, dating back to the 14th century, is now a museum and is among the oldest synagogues in Europe. Maribor Town Hall (Mariborski rotovž) is instead a Renaissance-style building.
Maribor is today an important tourist destination in Slovenia, thanks to the interesting Austrian-style historic center and the appeal of the Mariborsko Pohorje ski resort. Mariborsko Pohorje is a winter resort located on the outskirts of the city, and where Alpine Ski World Cup races are held annually. Among the curiosities, the city is home to the oldest vine plant in the world, called Žametovka, its estimated age is over 400 years.