A city nestled in vineyards, Maribor is the second-largest city in Slovenia, but somehow often overlooked as a tourist destination. A day in Maribor will give one plenty of time to explore the sites and take a stroll along the tranquil banks of the river Drava. It is a relaxed city and easy to walk around.
During the Nazi occupation, Maribor was heavily bombed, so walking around the city one will notice that much of the city has been rebuilt. There are still many old buildings in the city’s Old Town like the Gothic cathedral, a section of the Renaissance-era castle, and the remains of the 16th-century town walls and towers.
One of the city’s remarkable architectonic monuments, Maribor Castle, grew on one of the main squares of the Old Town, Grajski Trg, which was named after the castle in front of which it spreads. The castle, which boasts several constructional and style periods, was first built by Emperor Frederick III in the 15th century for the purpose of fortifying the northeastern part of the town wall. Later on, the castle turned into a manor house. Now Maribor Castle serves as a regional museum.
In Maribor’s main square (Glavni Trg in Slovene) there is an old building of the Town Hall, built in the 16th century, which holds a story. Notice the Town Hall’s clock tower is a bit off center due to a builder who was not happy for not being paid on time. The baroque plague monument holds another story, which was erected by grateful survivors in gratitude for the end of a 1680 plague epidemic that had claimed a third of Maribor’s population.
Located in what was the center of medieval Maribor’s ghetto, another important building dating from the Middle Ages is one of the oldest preserved synagogues in Europe. Maribor had a thriving Jewish community from the 13th century until the Holocaust of World War II.
Lent, Maribor’s oldest district, is laid out along the tranquil banks of the river Drava and was once a busy trading port where rafts carrying goods would be leaned up against the banks. Lent is marked by 16th-century fortification system, where protective walls and defense towers were built to fortify the town, which successfully secured the residents from foreign invasion. When the railway reached Maribor in the 19th century, the river and the district of Lent fell out of favor, only recently revived in the 1980s.
Lent is home to the world’s oldest vine. The Old Vine was planted towards the end of the Middle Ages, and it still grows in front of the Old Vine House, which used to be part of the town walls. The Old Vine is more than 450 years old!
One of the finest bridges in the Austro-Hungarian Empire was built in Maribor in the early 20th century. The steel bridge has grown into a symbol of the city of Maribor and today serves as the city’s trademark.