PODRAVJE (The Drava Region)


Maribor is the second-largest Slovene city situated at the mouth of the Drava Valley between the Kozjak range and the Pohorje Massif. To the south of the city stretches the Drava Plain ( Dravsko polje ) and to the northeast the wine-growing Slovenske Gorice. In Maribor, the Drava is crossed by an important road linking Vienna to Trieste and another one leading from Koroška to Croatia. The water power of the Drava river and position at the crossroads of important routes brought Maribor fast economic growth.

In the 12th century, they built a castle atop Piramida to control the roads, and around the river-crossing developed a settlement which was soon fortified with walls and defense towers. During the Turkish invasions, its development almost stopped.
In 1846 Maribor was the first Slovene town to be reached by railway and 20 years later it became an important railway crossing, which brought it great prosperity.

Due to the ally bombardments, the city was partly destroyed during WWII, but it flourished afterward and it still does today. It grew along the main roads leading into the city and on the right bank of the Drava right to the foot of the Pohorje Massif. Today it has over 200.000 inhabitants.
The gymnasium was established in 1758 and today it is a university city. The Maribor Museum is one of the richest in Slovenia. The Aquarium in the city park is also worth visiting.

Right before the beginning of the lower part of the Drava valley, at Kamnica, there is a hydropower station with the Mariborsko jezero dam. Further down the Drava lies Mariborski otok, a popular recreational resort with open swimming pools.
From one of the suburbs, Radvanje, there is a cable car leading to the top of Mariborsko Pohorje where we find a winter sports center with large skiing grounds.

By the main road from Ljubljana, near Betnava lies the Betnava Castle ( Betnavski grad ) which is already on the Drava plain. To the north of the city lead a road and a railroad via Košaki and Pesnica to Šentilj, the nearby border crossing with Austria. At Pesnica, the road branches off and leads through the valley of the Pesnica river to Lenart in the Slovenske Gorice and further on to Pomurje ( the Mura Region ). From another suburb, Tezno, a road leads along the Drava to Ptuj and further on to Zagreb in Croatia.

There are quite some narrow streets and passages leading from the center of Maribor to Lent.

Maribor has a well-preserved and almost completely restored old town core. You can still see the remains of ancient town walls and the city is adorned with a number of green oases and a huge city park. In the middle of Glavni trg is the plague pillar and among the buildings around Glavni trg the Town Hall ( Rotovz ) sticks out.

The vine growing on Lent is called Stara trta and has been there for over 400 years. It has become a wine symbol of Maribor and the wine-growing Slovenia. And an older vine can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

In Tristan, another part of Lent, there are numerous cultural and entertaining events taking place in summer.

In the center of Maribor is also a huge, over 200 years old wine cellar. Wine is very much at home here and Styrians are merry people. Hills stretching from the city to the Austrian border are covered with vineyards and the wine cellars offer so many delicacies that you might find it hard to say good-bye to the area.

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