Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia. It is the economic, university, cultural and sports centre of the north-eastern part of the country. It lies at the heart of central Europe, at the junction of important traffic routes from central Europe to the south-east, and from western Europe to the Pannonian lowlands. It is located by the Drava River, at the point of contact of five different regional units: the Drava valley, important for traffic and energy, the Pohorje with livestock-rearing and tourism, the forests and farms of Kozjak, Slovenske gorice with its vineyards and orchards, and the arable Drava plain.
Maribor has experienced ups and downs in its almost thousand years of history. It gained town rights in the 13t" century, and in the Late Middle Ages the town had to ring itself with strong walls to ward off the Turkish army which pressed there towards the heart of Europe. The remains are still well preserved in Lent, the old town by the Drava.
Modern Maribor is a city with a university, diocesan seat, museums, concert and congress centres, shops, international airport, famous park, sports and recreational facilities etc.
It is thus trying to develop high quality tourism. This relies primarily on good wine and cuisine and the well-preserved city core which reflects the images of centuries. The pulse of the city is reflected in Maribor streets and squares.
"If the banks of the Drava could talk" they could tell how lively it was there at times. Rafters loaded and unloaded timber, firewood and posts until late evening, then sat in the inn, ate and drank, and gave vent to their cheerful natures.
The Drava was formerly not so quiet and at least apparently meek as today, but a great deal more torrential and full of rocks. Rafts and punts tied up at the landing stage at Maribor, which they called LENT. Prior to the renovation in the eighties it had been one of the most neglected parts of the city, though unfortunately also one of the most visible. Maribor Lent, after decades of stagnation, has again come to life. The area by the water breathes with the city, draws people to the banks of the Drava and again, spontaneously and imperceptibly, just as the Drava flows, has become the heart and soul of the city.
Maribor is proud of the numerous cultural, entertainment and sporting events with international involvement: ZLATA LISICA (skiing), LENT FESTIVAL, BORŠTNIK MEETING (theatre), NAŠA PESEM (our song), etc. which attract increasing numbers of tourists to the city.
Right above the city rises the Pohorje range, one of the the largest ski centres in Slovenia. The world cup in alpine skiing for ladies, the Zlata lisica', countless ski slopes, walking and bicycle paths, adrenaline sports, events at Snežni stadium, a sea of refreshing forests, meadows, treasure houses of peace and oxygen, a workshop for a healthy body and full spirit, all this is Pohorje.
Today, too, Maribor is the centre of south Štajerska viticulture and viniculture, which produces the highest quality white sorts. Kalvarija, a hill which protects the city from the north wind, is mantled in grape vines which literally sprout from the city, including Stara trta, the oldest vine in the world, which has already been growing for more than 400 years as a tourist attraction on the banks of the Drava in the old, renovated town core. In all directions, vinecovered hills spread from the very city, dotted with farmsteads at which guests can taste pure home cooking and the best wines that the Maribor wine-growing district has to offer.