Short history of the city of Maribor
There, where already in antiquity an important traffic crossroads between Celeia and Falvia Solva originated on one side and Ptuj and Carinthia on the other is today Maribor. A modest site from the Early Stone Age, an urn burial ground, a Celtic site and the Roman villa Rustic bear witness to the oldest traces of settlement in the region of the present-day city.
In the middle of the 12th century, margrave Ottokar III of Styria built a fortress on a hill, that today is called Piramida. The fortress itself was literally named "Fortress in the borderland (mark)" or Marchburch. At that time, there were already farmhouses underneath the fortress. The small settlement under the castle grew into a market and afterwards a city, fist mentioned as such in 1209 and 1254 respectively. Soon after the town's people began to build a two kilometre long wall, which surrounded the old town. The wall was later additionally fortified with defence towers. The Barrel tower, Tscheligi tower, Jewish tower and the Water Tower helped to preserve the town even against Turkish invasions and still today reveal many legends.
In Maribor in the Middle Ages there lived a large and economically very strong Jewish community! They built for those times a large and mighty synagogue, which due to its characteristics was exceptional in the Central European space.
The town, which was built of stone and wood, was neither spared of fire nor plague! At the end of the 17th century the plague killed a fifth of the inhabitants and at this time Maribor got one of the most beautiful cultural monuments in the town, Mary's or Plague column.
Slovene Bishop Anton Martin Slomšek is a man who endeavoured to bring about national awakening! With the transfer of the seat of the Lavantine diocese from St Andraž to Maribor, in the year 1859, the Church of St John the Baptist, in what today is called Slomšek square, became a cathedral.
Construction of the Southern railways from Vienna to Trieste in 1846 brought fast industrial development to the town. Once a small town it began to quickly expand and with the expansion of the town traffic also increased. It became necessary to build new bridges and it was precisely these that trampled the medieval plan of the old part of the town Lent river port, called Lent. The river Drava was an important traffic artery already in Roman times. Annually 700 small cargo boats called šajks - and 1200 rafts docked at the Lent river port. Beside timber they also transported wine, iron products and textiles all the way from Carinthia (Koroška) to Belgrade and on to the Black Sea. Once a rapid river today it whispers about its important role for the prosperity of the town. Just a few metres from the river is the Old Vine, the oldest grape vine in the world, which after 400 years still bears grapes and as queen of all grape vines is a potent reminder of the past.
Several new countries were set up from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the First World War. General Rudolf Maister was the Slovene general and poet that outline and defended the today northern border of Slovenia. The stormy years during the First World War had a decisive impact also on the later development of the town. A strong textile industry appeared that continued to grow in the following decades. With the Second World War on the horizon Maribor lived in fear of the coming military power. It was 6th April 1941, when the former Yugoslavia fell under the military fire. All development and also industry was stopped in the town. During the war the town was almost levelled and the consequences was felt decades after the end of the war. After the Second World War Maribor registered leaps and bounds in development. Companies in the period of self-governing socialism employed people mostly according to social criteria and created a new age working class.
The town has become the university, economic, cultural, traffic and tourist centre of northern Slovenia.
Before approximately fourteen centuries ago our ancestors arrived from the Balkan peninsula and the north and in front of them saw the mountain chain, which they named with a unique, general name in Slovene toponymics– simply Pohorje. In historical documents dating from 1230 we can trace the name “supania Pocher”, which is undoubtedly the original topographic meaning of Pohorje. Pohorje is the end of the Alpine mountains.Its exceptionalness and distinctiveness is shown in flat land and peat moors and small lakes, canes in marble and tonalite, tallest Slovene pine trees (Sgermov’s pine tree), remains the primeval forest Šumik, site of magmatic rock (tonalite, chislakite and marble). Due to the abundance of wood, Pohorje has provided conditions for the development of woodworking, glass and coal industry.