Sunday, October 9, 2011

Maribor, Slovenia

Maribor is Slovenia's second largest city. It's just two hours from Ljubljana and four hours from Vienna, on the way back to Brno.

So I decided to get off the train, store my luggage in a locker and explore the town for four hours until the next train came.

With a population around 158,000 it is a small town. There is a bit of construction going on now as Maribor prepares to be a European Capital of Culture in 2012.

The town hall was built in 1515 and is found at the main square.

Across from it is the marble plague column built in 1743. The plague epidemic in 1680 killed one-third of the town's population.

The St. John the Baptist Cathedral is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Maribor. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century.

At Liberty Square is the National Liberation monument. The bronze WWII monument was dedicated in 1975. It has graphical reproductions of old public proclamations about hostages and rebels being shot during the war. I was told that the locals call it "Kodžak" because it reminds them of the fictional, bald detective Kojak.

The Franciscan church was built from 1892 - 1900. It is dedicated to St. Mary Mother of Mercy and is the biggest church in Maribor.

The main attraction is the Old Vine. It is the oldest vine in the world that still produces grapes. It is around 440 years old and in 2004 it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. 440 years!?!? That means it was around when the Ottoman Turks invaded, when Napoleon's army held Slovenia, two world wars and communism. Wow!!! This grape vine is older than my country.

The one thing that I didn't get a chance to see was Maribor's synagogue. It is one of the only two left in Slovenia and one of the oldest preserved synagogues in Europe. Next time.

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