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This article is about the city in Slovenia. For its football club, see NK Maribor.
Maribor's Old Town along the Drava River
Maribor's Old Town along the Drava River
Flag of Maribor
Coat of arms of Maribor
Coat of arms
Maribor is located in Slovenia
Location of the City of Maribor in Slovenia
Coordinates: 46°33′N 15°39′E / 46.550°N 15.650°E / 46.550; 15.650Coordinates: 46°33′N 15°39′E / 46.550°N 15.650°E / 46.550; 15.650
Country Slovenia
Municipality City Municipality of Maribor
 • Mayor Andrej Fištravec
 • Total 140 km2 (50 sq mi)
Elevation[1] 275 m (902 ft)
Population (2014)[2]
 • Total Green Arrow Up Darker.svg 114.487
 • Density 730/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+01)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02)
Post code 2000
Area code(s) 02

Maribor (pronounced [ˈmaːɾibɔɾ]; German: Marburg an der Drau) is the second-largest city in Slovenia with about 114,487 inhabitants in 2013.[2] Maribor is also the largest city of the traditional region of Lower Styria and the seat of the City Municipality of Maribor. In 2000, Maribor was given the Alpine Town of the Year award. Association football club NK Maribor is based in the city.

In addition to its Slovene and German names, the city is also known as Latin: Marburgum and Italian: Marburgo.

Early years[edit]

Maribor in the 17th century. A copper engraving by Georg Matthäus Vischer, 1678.

In 1164, a castle known as Castrum Marchburch ("March Castle") was documented in the March of Drava.[3] The castle was originally built on Piramida Hill, which is located just above the city. Maribor was first mentioned as a market near the castle in 1204, and received town privileges in 1254.[citation needed] It began to grow rapidly after the victory of Rudolf I of the Habsburg dynasty over King Otakar II of Bohemia in 1278.[citation needed] Maribor withstood sieges by Matthias Corvinus in 1480/1481 and by the Ottoman Empire in 1532 and 1683.[citation needed]

Jewish community[edit]

Jewish people living in Maribor were first mentioned in 1277. However, it is suggested that at that time there was already a Jewish quarter in the city. Notwithstanding, the first reliable source for Jewish citizens appeared in 1317. The Jewish ghetto was located in the southeastern part of the city and it comprised, at its peak, several main streets in the city centre including part of the main city square. The ghetto had a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery and also a Talmud school. The Talmud scholar and Halakhist Israel Isserlein was the chief Rabbi of Carinthia, Styria, and Carniola, and spent most of his life as a resident of the city. The Jewish community of Maribor was numerically at its apex around 1410. After 1450 the circumstances changed dramatically: increasing competition that coincided with an economic crisis dealt a severe blow to the economic activities that were crucial to their economic success. According to a decree issued by Emperor Maximilian I in 1496, Jews were forced to leave the city of Maribor. Restrictions on settlement and business for Jews remained in power until 1861.[4]

In April 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia, and Lower Styria was annexed by the Third Reich. The Jews of Maribor were deported to concentration camps from late spring 1941 onward.

Maribor synagogue is one of the oldest existing synagogues of Europe, and one of only two left in Slovenia.[5]

Early 20th century[edit]

In 1900 the city had a population that was 82.3% Austrian Germans and 17.3% Slovenes (based on the language spoken at home);[6] most of the city's capital and public life was in Austrian German hands. Thus, it was mainly known by its Austrian name Marburg an der Drau. According to the last Austro-Hungarian census in 1910, the city of Maribor and the suburbs Studenci (Brunndorf), Pobrežje (Pobersch), Tezno (Thesen), Radvanje (Rothwein), Krčevina (Kartschowin), and Košaki (Leitersberg) was inhabited by 31,995 Austrian Germans (including German-speaking Jews) and only 6,151 ethnic Slovenes. The surrounding area however was populated almost entirely by Slovenes, although many Austrian Germans lived in smaller towns like Ptuj.

During World War I many Slovenes in the Carinthia and Styria were detained on suspicion of being enemies of the Austrian Empire. This led to distrust between Austrian Germans and Slovenes. After the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Maribor was claimed by both the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and German Austria. On 1 November 1918, a meeting was held by Colonel Anton Holik in the Melje barracks, where it was decided that the German-speaking city should be part of German Austria. Ethnic Slovene Major Rudolf Maister, who was present at the meeting, denounced the decision and organised Slovenian military units that were able to seize control of the city. All Austrian officers and soldiers were disarmed and demobilised to the new German Austria state. The city council then held a secret meeting, where it was decided to do whatever possible to regain Maribor for German Austria. They organised a military unit called the Green Guard (Schutzwehr), and approximately 400 well-armed soldiers of this unit opposed the pro-Slovenian and pro-Yugoslav Major Maister. Slovenian troops surprised and disarmed the Green Guard early in the morning of 23 November. Thereafter, there was no threat to the authority of Rudolf Maister in the city.

On 27 January 1919 Austrian Germans gathered to await the United States peace delegation at the city's marketplace were fired upon by Slovenian troops, who apparently feared the thousands of ethnic German citizens. Nine citizens were killed and some eighteen were seriously wounded;[citation needed] who had actually ordered the shooting has never been unequivocally established. German sources accused Maister's troops of shooting without cause. In turn Slovene witnesses such as Maks Pohar claimed that the Austrian Germans attacked the Slovenian soldiers guarding the Maribor city hall. Regardless of who was responsible, the Austrian German victims all had been without any arms.[citation needed] The German-language media called the incident Marburg's Bloody Sunday.

As Maribor was now firmly in the hands of the Slovenian forces and surrounded completely by Slovenian territory; the city had been recognised as part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes without a plebiscite in the Treaty of Saint-Germain of 10 September 1919 between the victors and German Austria.

After 1918 most of Maribor's Austrian Germans left the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs for Austria. These included the German-speaking officials who had not been from the region. Austrian German schools, clubs, and organizations were ordered closed by the new state of Yugoslavia, even though ethnic Germans still made up more than 25% of the city's total population as late as the 1930s. A policy of cultural assimilation was pursued in Yugoslavia against the Austrian German minority similar to the Germanization policy followed by Austria against its Slovene minority in Carinthia. However, in the late 1930s the policy was abandoned and the Austrian German minority's position improved significantly in an attempt to gain better diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany.

World War II and aftermath[edit]

Adolf Hitler on the Old Bridge in Maribor, Yugoslavia in 1941.

In 1941 Lower Styria, the predominantly Yugoslav part of Styria, was annexed by Nazi Germany. German troops marched into the town at 9 pm on 8 April 1941.

On 26 April Adolf Hitler, who encouraged his followers to "make this land German again",[7] visited Maribor and a grand reception was organised in the city castle by the local Germans. Immediately after the occupation, Nazi Germany began mass expulsions of Slovenes to the Independent State of Croatia, Serbia, and later to the concentration and work camps in Germany. The Nazi goal was to re-Germanize the population of Lower Styria after the war.[citation needed] Many Slovene patriots were taken hostage and some are believed to have been shot later in the prisons of Maribor and Graz.[citation needed] This led to organised partisans resistance.[citation needed]. Maribor was the site of a German prisoner-of-war camp from 1941 to 1945 for many British, Australian, and New Zealand troops who had been captured in Crete in 1941.

The city, a major industrial centre with an extensive armament industry, was systematically bombed by the Allies in the closing years of World War II. A total of 29 bombing raids devastated some 47% of the city area, killing 483 civilians and leaving over 4,200 people homeless.[8]

By the end of the war Maribor was the most war-damaged major town of Yugoslavia.[9] The remaining German-speaking population, except those who had actively supported the resistance during the war, was summarily expelled at the end of the war in May 1945. At the same time mass killings took place of (alleged) Croatian Home Guard members and their relatives, who tried to escape from Yugoslavia and were executed by the Yugoslav Army, mass graves were discovered in 1999 and 2002.

Postwar period[edit]

After the liberation Maribor made good use of its proximity to Austria and its workforce, and developed into a major transit- and cultural centre of northern Slovenia, which had been enabled by Tito's decision not to build an Iron Curtain at the borders with Austria and Italy and to provide passports to all Yugoslav citizens.

When Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, the loss of the Yugoslav market severely strained the city's economy, which was based on heavy industry. The city saw a record unemployment rate of nearly 25%. After Slovenia entered the European Union in 2004, introduced the Euro currency in 2007, and joined the Schengen treaty, all of the border controls between Slovenia and Austria ceased on 25 December 2007. The economic situation of Maribor after the mid-1990s crisis worsened again with the onset of global economic crisis combined with the European sovereign-debt crisis.

In 2012, Maribor saw the beginning of 2012–13 Maribor protests which spread into 2012–2013 Slovenian protests. During the year 2012 Maribor was one of two European Capitals of Culture. The following year Maribor was the European Youth Capital.[10]

Roman Catholics[edit]

Maribor, previously in the Catholic Diocese of Graz-Seckau, became part of the Diocese of Lavant on 1 June 1859, and the seat of its Prince-Bishop. The name of the diocese (after a river in Carinthia) was later changed to the Diocese of Maribor on 5 March 1962. It was elevated to an archdiocese by Pope Benedict XVI on 7 April 2006.

Contemporary culture[edit]

The city hosts the University of Maribor, established in 1975,[11] and many other schools. Maribor is also home to an old grapevine, called Žametovka,[12] which is more than 400 years old.

Maribor is the hometown of NK Maribor,[13] a Slovenian football team. This club participated in the UEFA Champions League in the 1999–2000 and 2014–15 seasons, and in the UEFA Europa League in the 2011–12, 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons.

Every January the skiing resort of Mariborsko Pohorje,[14] situated on the outskirts of the city on the slopes of the Pohorje mountain range, hosts the women's slalom and giant slalom races for the Alpine Skiing World Cup known as Zlata lisica (The Golden Fox). Every June the two-week Festival Lent[15] (named after the waterfront district called Lent) is held, with hundreds of musical, theatrical and other events.

The most listened radio stations transmitting from Maribor are the commercial radio stations Radio City and Radio Center (Slovenia). They are followed by the national non-commercial Radio Maribor.


In November 2012 Maribor hosted the World Youth Chess Championship, with Garry Kasparov as the guest-of-honour. It was presumed that Maribor would host the XXVI 2013 Winter Universiade, but the Government of Slovenia refused any financial support for this project in February 2012 due to major financial problems.[16] As a result, in March 2012 the International University Sports Federation decided that it would organise the Universiade elsewhere.[17]

Association football club NK Maribor, playing in the Slovenian PrvaLiga, plays its home matches at the Ljudski vrt stadium in Maribor. Maribor's handball club is RK Maribor Branik. Maribor Branik competes in the Slovenian First League of Handball and play their matches at the Tabor Hall. HDK Maribor, an ice hockey team, and KK Maribor (basketball) are also competing on a professional level in the top domestic leagues.

City districts[edit]



The Maribor Town Hall

Many medieval structures still stand in Maribor. Of the remains of city walls, the most prominent are the Judgement Tower, the Water Tower, and the Jewish Tower. The Maribor Cathedral was built in the Gothic style in the 13th century. The Town Hall was constructed in the Renaissance style.

Piramida Hill dominates the northern border of the city. Ruins of the first Maribor castle from the 11th century and a chapel from the 19th century are also located here. The hill offers an easily accessible scenic overlook of Maribor and the countryside to the south with the Drava River.

At the start of the 21st century, plans were made for a new modern business, residential and entertainment district, called the Drava Gate (Dravska vrata) and nicknamed Maribor Manhattan. The project includes many new exclusive residential apartments, offices and conference halls, a green and recreational space, and other structures. It also includes a 111 m (364 ft) tall skyscraper that would be the tallest building in Slovenia. Due to lack of finances, the project is currently postponed.

In 2008 the Studenci Footbridge (Studenška brv) was renovated according to the design of the Ponting company. Also in 2008, during the 3rd International Footbridge Conference in Porto, this design was awarded the prestigious Footbridge Award.

Maribor organised in 2010 an international architectural competition ECC Maribor 2012 – Drava 2012 to gather proposals for design and reconstruction of the Drava banks, construction of a new art gallery, and for a new footbridge. Its jury received about 400 proposals for the three different projects. The footbridge and the river embankments will be built in the near future, but the art gallery was replaced with a cultural center MAKS, which currently is under construction.

Construction of a new modern Faculty of Medicine started in 2011 near the Drava River. It was designed by architect Boris Podrecca and is expected to be completed in 2013.[needs update]

There are plans to renovate the Maribor Public Library and the Town Hall Square (Rotovški trg). In addition, the renovation of Maribor Island (Mariborski otok) in the Drava River is being planned.

Tourist attractions[edit]

The over 400 year old Žametovka vine growing outside the Old Vine House in Maribor, Slovenia. To the right of the vine is a daughter vine taken from a cutting of the old vine.

Maribor has many tourist areas, attractions, and interesting events:

  • Lent Festival - major festival event held during approximately two weeks at the end of June. Every year the festival attracts theater, opera, ballet performers, classical, modern, and jazz musicians and dancers from all over the world, and of course many visitors. There is also mime, magic shows are being held and acrobats perform during the festival.
  • House of the oldest grapevine in the world (Hiša stare trte) - in Maribor is also the world's oldest living grapevine, which in 2004 was recorded in Guinness World Records. The grapevine of Žametovka is about 440 years old.
  • Women's slalom and giant slalom races for the Alpine Skiing World Cup known as "Zlata lisica" (The Golden Fox). This event is hold on the mountain range known as Pohorje, which is Maribor's most visited tourist place.
  • Maribor Island (Mariborski otok) - the oldest public bath, still important and much visited place in Maribor. At the same time Maribor offers several new indoor swimming pools (Pristan, Fontana).
  • Maribor Castle, Maribor Town Hall Rotovž, Betnava Castle, Plague Memorial, Maribor, ruins of the old castle Upper Maribor on Piramida Hill.
  • Medieval defence walls with defence towers[18] delineating the old city limits.
  • Wine and culinary specialities - international and Slovene cousine (mushroom soup with buckwheat mush, tripe, sour soup, sausages with Sauerkraut, cheese dumplings, apple strudel, special cheese cake called gibanica). Also many popular restaurants with Serbian cuisine.
  • The Vinag Wine Cellar (Vinagova vinska klet) - with 20.000 m2 surface area and 2 km (1 mi) length has 5,5 millions litres of excellent wine.
  • Maribor City Park (with City Aquarium and Terrarium, wide promenade, which leads to the Three Ponds (Trije ribniki) in the park containing over 100 local and foreign species of deciduous and coniferous trees).
  • Pohorje Adrenaline Park(Adrenalinski park Pohorje) with High Ropes Course, one track line PohorJET, summer sledding and Bike park Pohorje.
  • Maribor Synagogue (Sinagoga Maribor) - built in the 14th century, is in fact the second oldest synagogue of Europe. Today it serves as a centre for cultural activities and features various events such as exhibitions, concerts, literary evenings and round table discussions. The Synagogue is located in the Jewish Square (Židovski trg) of the former Jewish quarter.
  • Kalvarija and Piramida (well visited city hills Pyramid, Maribor) surrounded by vineyards, and ruins of old castle Upper Maribor.
  • Birthplace of the Austrian admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff in "Slovenska ulica" (today's "Admiral" caffe)
  • Pekarna alternative cultural (former squat) area next to Magdalena Park.
  • 2013 European Youth Capital.


Maribor has a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.[19] Average temperatures hover around zero degrees Celsius during the winter. Summers are generally warm. Average temperatures during the city's warmest month (July) exceede 20 degrees Celsius, which is being one of main reasons for Maribor wine tradition. The city sees on average roughly 900 mm (35.4 in) of precipitation annually, and it's one of the sunniest Slovene cities with an average of 266 sunny days throughout the course of the year.

Climate data for Maribor
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.4
Average high °C (°F) 3.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.2
Average low °C (°F) −3.6
Record low °C (°F) −21.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 35
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 9.0 8.0 10.0 13.0 14.0 15.0 13.0 12.0 11.0 10.0 11.0 11.0 137.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 86 118 148 185 237 242 277 253 191 143 90 67 2,037
Source: Slovenian Enivironment Agency (ARSO), sunshine hours are for: Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport 1981-2010 [20] (data for 1981-2010)

Most recent Temperature heatwave record for August is 40,6 °C, measured at weather station Maribor-Tabor by ARSO organization on 8 August 2013. respectively.[21][22]

Notable natives and residents[edit]

List of notable individuals who were born or lived in Maribor:

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Maribor is twinned with:[23]


  1. ^ "Nadmorska višina naselij, kjer so sedeži občin" [Height above sea level of seats of municipalities] (in Slovene, English). Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. 2002. 
  2. ^ a b "Maribor, Maribor". Place Names. City of Maribor, web site. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Castrum Marchburch, 850 let od prve omembe Maribora" [Castrum Marchburch, 850 Years Since the First Mention of Maribor]. MMC RTV Slovenija (in Slovenian). 14 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Jewish community of Slovenia[dead link]
  5. ^ Maribor Synagogue[dead link]
  6. ^ Leksikon občin kraljestev in dežel zastopanih v državnem zboru, vol. 4: Štajersko. 1904. Vienna: C. Kr. Dvorna in Državna Tiskarna, p. 4. (Slovene)
  7. ^ Jozo Tomasevich (31 January 2001). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration. War and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945 2. Stanford University Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-8047-3615-2. 
  8. ^ "Maribor 2012: Smrt je kosila tudi iz zraka". Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  9. ^ "Zveza mariborskih športnih društev Branik". 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  10. ^ "Evropska prestolnica mladih" (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  11. ^ University of Maribor site.
  12. ^ "Old vine in Maribor". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  13. ^ NK Maribor. "NK Maribor" (in Slovenian). NK Maribor official website. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  14. ^ "Official website of Mariborsko Pohorje". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  15. ^ Festival Lent website[dead link]
  16. ^ "Kresanje mnenj o univerzijadi" [Clash of Opinions About the Universiade]. (in Slovenian). 19 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "Mariboru odvzeli univerzijado" [Universiade Taken Away from Maribor]. Slovenske novice (in Slovenian). 6 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "Slovenia-Maribor: Defence Towers". Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  19. ^ Kottek, M.; Grieser, J.; Beck, C.; Rudolf, B.; Rubel, F. (2006). "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated". Meteorol. Z. 15 (3): 259–263. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  20. ^ "Maribor Climate normals 1981-2010". ARSO. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Pobratena mesta" [Twin towns] (in Slovenian). Retrieved 13 May 2014. 

External links[edit]