Great events are foreshadowed: in 2012 Greater Maribor in Slovenian Styria will be at the centre of European culture. Slovenia’s second largest city presents itself as European Capital of Culture to an international audience together with its five neighbouring cities of Ptuj, Murska Sobota, Novo mesto, Slovenj Gradec, and Velenje.
Each of the cities contributes to the overall project with its own charm: Velenje will above all focus on its industrial heritage, Ptuj is rich in artefacts from Antiquity and ethnological sites and it is the location of the traditional Kurentovanje carnival, Novo Mesto is known for its situlas of the Hallstatt culture and avant-gardes theatre, Murska Sobota showcases the world of rural culture, and Slovenj Gradec stands out as the World Peace City.
The varied programme breaks down into 4 sections: “City Keys”, “Urban Ruts”, “Terminal 12”, and “Life by the Touch of a Button”. It provides for numerous exhibitions, film shows, concerts, plays, literature events, children’s cultural festival, and theatre performances. The lively opening weekend is set for January 13th to 15th 2012. The annual festival of “Lent” and Creative Festival of serious music Festival Maribor are also parts of the official agenda.
Moreover, the World Youth Chess Championships will be held in Maribor in 2012, and in 2013 the bustling university town will be at the centre of attention as European Youth Capital. To complete this festive marathon in winter 2013, the 26th Universiade will attract visitors to Styria from around the globe.
The picturesque university town on the banks of River Drava is located between the dark forests of the Pohorje Mountain in the north and the lush vineyards of Styria in the south. The city centre offers a variety of well-maintained castles and palaces, among them the city castle and baroque palace of Betnava. The old town on the other hand is characterized by medieval squares. Even nowadays visitors may admire the remains of the historical city wall including the court tower, water tower, Jewish tower, and synagogue along the river embankment. Each year in June Maribor transforms into an international visitor destination: the former raftsmen’s quarter of Lent, today Maribor’s pub district, is home to Slovenia’s largest and most important music and cultural festival “Lent” visited by more than half a million guests. Also during the “Festival Maribor” which is held every year in September, culture, tradition, and artistic expression are clearly to the fore. Among wine experts the city enjoys widespread acclaim for its “old vine”. At 400 years the oldest productive vine is even in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Apart from the sites in the city centre, also Maribor’s surroundings offer attractive opportunity to become active and enjoy: numerous wine roads make Slovenian Styria an El Dorado for lovers of refined and autochthonous wines. Moreover, there is the greatest concentration of first-class natural spas and precious springs here in the country’s east. With the Pohorje Mountains the region around Maribor also offers ideal prerequisites for exciting outdoor holidays both in summer and winter. Whether cycling, Nordic walking, hiking, downhill skiing, ski tours, or tobogganing – there is something just right for everyone.
For more information on Maribor, the European Capital of Culture, please visit the official site of the European Capital of Culture 2012.