Maribor - European Capital of Culture 2012!
Last week Flexicover Direct News looked at Guimarães in Portugal, European Capital of Culture for 2012. In fact this year there are two culture capitals, with the title also being held by Maribor in Slovenia.
Maribor is located in the northeast corner of Slovenia and sits between the Pohorje Mountains and its beautiful wine growing hills (the Slovenske Gorice and the Kozjak), with the river Drava meandering its way through the centre, splitting the city in two.
The Flexicover Team are happy to share some of Maribor’s secrets.
Take a walk along the banks of the river and through the lively streets and squares of this city, where you can gaze upon medieval towers and the remains of the city’s historic walls. Walk around Glavni trg, the largest of Maribor’s squares, home to the Plague Memorial, the Town Hall, Aloysius Church and Casino Maribor. Grajski trg is a magnificent square, on the doorstep of Maribor Castle housing the Regional Museum. Although Maribor is Slovenia’s second largest city and is relatively small by European standards, there is plenty to see and do here!
The Old Vine
Located on the left bank of the Drava River and in front of a house in the Lent Quarter of Maribor, the ‘Old Vine’ is over 400 years old and is so registered in the Guinness Book of Records! The Old Vine House is a veritable temple of viticulture, offering tastings of wine from all over the Štajerska region, as well as selling delicious Slovene chocolate and handmade pralines. Slovenia, in particular in the northeast of the country, has a rich winemaking culture and ‘From Vine to Wine’ events take place in the town throughout the year. The most eagerly anticipated event is the ritual grape harvest at the end of September, known as the ‘Festival of the Old Vine’.
Water Tower (Vodni stolp)
Dating back to the 16th century, the Water Tower was built to combat Turkish raids and secure the southeast part of the city walls. Previously, the southern part of the city walls was guarded by two such round towers, including the predecessor of the Water Tower, known as the Gunpowder Tower. Located just off one of the oldest streets in the town, it is now split into two floors; the lower level is a wine shop selling
some of the region’s best wines, while the upper floor is dedicated entirely to wine tasting in a large round room with a high ceiling, reminiscent of a medieval banqueting hall.
To the north of the town is Maribor’s city park which together with three ponds, Piramida (Pyramid) Hill and Kalvarija (Cavalry) Hill spans over 12 acres. Enjoy feeding swans and ducks and look out for terrapins! For a closer encounter with them and hundreds of species of fish, amphibians, insects and some of the world’s most poisonous snakes, visit the Aquarium-terrarium (Akvarij-terarij)! The park is also home to some of the bravest squirrels who have no qualms about coming close to pick up your offerings. Once you’ve finished admiring all the wildlife, take a stroll up Piramida Hill for possibly the most stunning views of the whole city!
Wherever and whenever you choose to travel in Slovenia, it’s important to pack for its diverse weather. Winters are relatively cold and the average temperature for this time of year hovers just around freezing but it’s also the driest time. Over the course of the year the temperature typically varies from -4°C in the coldest months (January and February) to a warm 27°C in the summer months.
Slovenian food borrows heavily from Balkan, German and Italian with traditional cuisine based on the use of bacon, pork, potatoes, beans, mushrooms, eggs and cabbage. Popular dishes include pleskavica (a burger stuffed with cheese and mushroom), Kranjska klobasa (a Slovenian sausage similar to a kielbasa) and Pohorje pršut (prosciutto), all of which are perfect with a glass of wine! Even if you are spending a day in
Mestni Park you can still sample some lovely Slovenian cuisine as the Gostilna Pri treh ribnikihrestaurant is conveniently situated at the upper end of the city park, right by the Three Ponds - delicious!
Whatever your interests, a trip to Maribor would be a highlight of your travels in 2012. When travelling remember, Flexicover Direct, the travel insurance specialist, is committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.
If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!
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