In the lower Drava Valley, the Drava is dammed by the Fala hydropower station dam. The hydropower station at Fala was the first on the Drava river, built-in 1918. From the dam to Maribor the valley bottom is gravely sandwiched between steep wooded slopes of the Pohorje and the Kozjak.
At the foot of the Pohorje lies Ruše which was settled already by the Illyrians. The Ruše had a gymnasium as early as 1645 which remained open until 1758. Despite that Ruše has never been a market town.
The Drava Plain
The Drava Plain ( Dravsko Polje ) is a vast triangular gravel pit deposited over the millennia by the Drava. Numerous streams flowing from the Pohorje have also had their share in shaping it.
At the foot of the Pohorje, between Hoče and Polskava lie several villages. The Maribor Airport, today mostly used for cargo transports, is also on the Drava Plain.
The town, already inhabited by the Romans, was developed by the main road linking Maribor and Ljubljana. It acquired the status of a market town in the 11th century and the status of a town in 1313. During the Turkish invasions, the town was fortified with strong walls. In the center of the town is the mighty Attems Castle ( Attemsov grad ).
The slopes of the Pohorje above the town represent one of the famous wine-growing districts in Slovenia. In the direction of Maribor, Ritoznoj is the best-known of numerous vineyards and wine-cellars.
Near the village of Ložnica, on one of the slopes of the Pohorje, lies Tinjska gora, famous for its remains of the Celtic burial grounds.
In Pragersko the railroad splits, one fork leads to Čakoves in Croatia and Hungary.
The Dravinja runs through the Dravinjske gorice between the wine-growing hills on one and Zbelovska gora ( 548 m ) and Boc ( 979 m ) on the other side. The views on a clear day are excellent from the top of Boč. Poljčane is the local center.
Right after Poljčane, at the foot of Boč, lies Studenice where they built a monastery for aristocratic women in the 13th century. During the Middle Ages, the monastery was one of the richest in Štajerska. The monastery was dissolved by Emperor Joseph II in 1782. In the middle of the 19th century, a castle was built on the same spot. Today Studenice is only a small village.
In the nearby village of Makole sits the Baroque Štatenberg Castle, built in the first half of the 18th century. In the surroundings are also the ruins of the old Štatenberg Castle whose master in the 16th century was the notorious Hungarian aristocrat, Ferenc Tahi.
The Haloze Hills
When it leaves the Dravinjske gorice, the Dravinja flows through a valley at the foot of the Haloze Hills. The Drava Plain and the valley of Dravinja are separated only by the low ridge of Ptujska gora which stretches from Štatenberg to the confluence of the Dravinja and Drava Rivers. In the valley lie Lešje and Majsperk. From those settlements lead roads via the famous Ptujska Gora to Ptuj and via the Haloze to Rogatec.
Ptujska gora was given a market charter in 1490. The 15th-century church is one of the most genuine Gothic churches in Slovenia. The Haloze is wine-growing hills stretching between the Drava and Dravinja Rivers on one and the Croatian border on the other side. Numerous streams flowing from the Haloze into the Dravinja and the Drava have cut deep valleys. In the west, the hills are higher than in the east but they hardly ever rise above 500 meters. There is a road leading from Ptuj which crosses the Drava at the Borl Castle. The river crossing was protected already by a Roman military camp.
The Borl Castle has a turbulent history. It is first mentioned in writing in 1255. Documents from 1291 describe terrible fights the castle had survived. In 1481 Hungarian king Matija Korvin had it destroyed, but it was evaluated as severely damaged in 1542 and later rebuilt. In 1706 the castle was burnt down and consequently, a new one was built on the same spot. During WW II, it was, just as Rajhenburg Castle, used as a detention camp.
There are so many hills in the Haloze that it is quite easy to get lost in them. It is also a famous winegrowing region. The center of the Haloze is Cirkulane, which lies in its eastern part.
The Štatenberg castle, which is actually more of a mansion, was built at the beginning of the 18th century for count Dizem Attems by Camesini. The square central courtyard is encompassed by four wings of the Baroque manor.
Castle rooms boast impressive frescoes and the stucco work has no match in Slovenia. The manor is surrounded by a large lavish park with a fishpond.
A traditional farmhouse with straw roofs from the Drava Plain.