Maribor is a wonderful Slovenian city, capital of the Region of Lower Styria (Štajerska) and the second densely populated city of the country (around 112,000 inhabitants) after the capital Ljubljana. It lies at the meeting point of the wonderful natural surroundings of Pohorje mountains, Drava Plain and Valley, the Kozjansko hills and Slovenske Gorice hills.
The city, of uncertain origin, is probably related to the first documents dating back the 12th century where a mention is made of the Castle of Marchburch (its name may be derived from this castle); here originally a series of small settlements of artisans and merchants outside the castle fortifications sprung up. Rich is its history because of a tragic sequence of bloody events occurred over centuries: it was besieged by the Turks, under the Habsburg rule until the First World War, claimed by the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs thanks to the slovene Major Rudolf Maister, annexed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and then invaded by Hitler's Third Reich. Its history inevitably influenced the architecture, especially as regards the Austrian style reflected mostly in buildings facades, in the ruins of towers, castles and in the beautiful old town located around the two banks of the Drava River.
Maribor is also an important university center and in 2012 has been the "European Capital of Culture", an economically and culturally dynamic city also due to the fact that it is only 18 Kms from the Austrian border, this transformed it into a thriving center of of trading and transportation, but the beauty of the place made it an ever growing tourist destination. Tourists will discover a lively city offering a variety of attractions and events, in winter for skiers will be a pleasure to spend their holidays around the Pohorje Massif, completely covered in snow, for the laziest people it could be very exciting to spend a weekend in SPA centers scattered everywhere; in summer, autumn or spring a trip on Pohorje will offer unforgettable experiences for hikers, cyclists as well as lovers of nature, moreover the good weather conditions and the vastness of its territory will allow to enjoy exciting extreme sports such as mountain climbing, paragliding, parachuting, balloon or hang-gliding flights in total safety; these flights, excursions or alpine skis take tourists to altitudes from where they can admire the unspoiled natural beauties and above all the ancient vineyards climbing the green hillsides. In this regard, Maribor is one of the oldest and richest traditions in world in wine production, a real temple where the wine-making culture has very deep roots, it was cultivated and improved for many generations, the lively calendar of events offered throughout the year shows in fact how important the ethnological culture is; a wonderful mix of local culinary specialities, genuine wines and a rich entertainment program has helped earn Maribor as an exciting holiday destination. The lovely Lent, the oldest part of the city, will enchant everybody with the oldest Vine in the world (Stara trta), this treasure, that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, has thrived (and thrives even today) for more than 400 years in the medieval core of the city, as a real jewel of natural beauty with these features it entered into the famous Guinness Book of Records in 2004.
Maribor was born around the banks of the Drava River, a true resource for its inhabitants as regards the trasportation. It is a small tributary of the Danube (720 kms., about 300 of those can be navigated) and flows through five countries (Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary); its source is the italian Toblach (Dobbiaco-Bolzano), it wends its way through Maribor only for a few kilometers that are enough to tell its story, the oldest part of the city stands in fact on its left bank. It has often caused violent and heavy seasonal spates, however its wonderful waters are still home to many endangered species ("Cobitis Taenia", "Barbatula Barbatula", "Cottus Gobio", "Phoxinus Phoxinus", "Rhodeus Sericeus", "Austropotamobius Pallipes"...). With the growth of the city the need to connect the two riverbanks became concrete in 1963 with the construction of Tito's Bridge (Titov most), named after the famous yugoslav President Josip Bros Tito and crossed today by thousands of vehicles and pedestrians.