Chronicles on the road: Maribor and Ptuj

The third day of our road trip through Slovenia was simply wonderful! Not that the other days weren’t great, but today we went on a guided tour of Maribor, and after that we headed to Ptuj — a dazzling, historical city. Therefore, we were very busy today, learning lots of interesting facts about Slovenian history and culture.

There are three core things I learnt today: 1) the oldest noble-variety vine in the world can be found in Maribor. It’s more than 400 years old and still growing and bearing fruits nowadays; 2) when it comes to traditions, Slovenia and Romania are very similar. From the spearman wedding and the goat (called “Capra” in Romanian) customs, to the use of korant (or kurent) masks — which mix together the pre-Christian Romanian custom of bear dancers with the masks used on New Year’s Eve to commemorate the famous Battle of Ruginoasa (except for the fact that no one gets killed here and there’s no need for law enforcement intervention); and 3) the historical town of Ptuj deserves more than a couple of hours for exploring. Actually, it deserves a couple of days, because it features an impressive medieval castle, beautiful old buildings, captivating history, a big modern spa resort, and lots of other compelling locations nearby. All in all, I hope to return to Slovenia soon.” — Alexandra Palconi

Carnival collection in Ptuj
Ptuj, Slovenia
Ptuj, Slovenia

“The Maribor tour was a blast! I loved the way our guide was invested in her work; it actually inspired me — her dedication to the work was amazing. I feel that ‘doing her job’ is a cold way of putting it — she was extremely involved in showing us great places and, at the same time, telling us stories filled with history and personal experiences that created the definition of a perfect guided tour. The tour wasn’t free, but we got so much more value than we paid for: we got to have actual conversations with a person who had a teacher-like vibe, happy to plant the seeds of knowledge in our minds while making her way into our hearts.” Flavius Neamciuc

Mrs. Blanka, our guide through Maribor

“The third day in Slovenia was, for me, a complete success. Despite the sun’s announcing a great day on the slopes, we decided to head down to Maribor for a two-hour tour of the city. Blanka, our guide, took us on a stroll through Maribor’s old town, showing us what felt like a quaint and pleasant city. The sun was shining, the weather was sweet, jazz was playing in the streets, the cafés outside were filled with people — all in all, the whole experience was wonderful. (You’ll surely hear more about Maribor from us, so keep an eye out.)

After the Maribor tour, next on our schedule was a tour of Ptuj, a little town nearby. Although we hadn’t heard a lot about it, we were curious nonetheless. Although we were a little tired, we eventually decided to go, and thus created the highlight of my day. Ptuj is a cozy little town on the river Drava, with paved streets that go up and down the hill, and small pubs and historic buildings which are wonderfully preserved. The main attraction, however, is the castle, a 14th-century construction that is very well cared for and exhibits so much more than one might expect. Ptuj was a wonderful surprise for me, so much so that I’ve already started looking into accommodations for April. I can’t wait to get back here!

Hot tip: if you’re in Ptuj, be sure to eat a meal at Ribič — we started our little tour with an octopus dish that blew me and Alexandra away.” — Alexandra Dragos

Street in Maribor
Ptuj Castle (14th century)
Architecture in Ptuj

“Such an awesome day! I started by dropping the idea of spending time on the slopes, and instead got the chance to see two of the most fascinating cities in Northern Slovenia: Maribor & Ptuj. We visited the old cities and left marvelling at their tiny streets and lovely buildings. And then there’s the history that you can smell at each and every corner, history that you can see on the scratches on the kerbstones, on the medieval houses and citadel walls, on the hoary statues & bas-reliefs. They even have this old vine which is the oldest of its kind in the world, holder of a Guinness World Record for its outstanding age of more than four centuries.” — Cristian Sitov

On our way to Maribor
World’s oldest noble vine can be found in Maribor

Tomorrow we’re heading home, but we’ll definitely keep Slovenia in our minds for a while, because we were truly amazed by it. Over the next few weeks, we’ll upload detailed articles on all the wonderful places we saw on this trip. So stay tuned — some great Slovenian stories are coming up!

Photo credit: Flavius Neamciuc

Replica of a goodbye letter sent from a Slovenian to his family before he was executed
Maribor
Basilica of Our Mother of Mercy — Maribor
Basilica of Our Mother of Mercy — Maribor
Ptuj Town Hall
Music instruments collection inside Ptuj Castle
Statues collection inside Ptuj Castle
Ribic Restaurant in Ptuj
Ptuj
Statues Collection inside Ptuj Castle
Furniture collection inside Ptuj Castle
Ptuj Castle
Architecture in Ptuj
Street in Maribor
Maribor Castle
View of Pohorje Mountains from Maribor
Architecture in Maribor
Architecture in Maribor
Maribor Cathedral
Maribor’s coat of arms
Ptuj

This story was originally published on www.easternchronicles.com.

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