Maribor was attested in historical sources as Marpurch circa 1145 (and later as Marchburch, Marburc, and Marchpurch), and is a compound of Middle High German march 'march (borderland)' + burc 'fortress'. In modern times, the town's German name was Marburg an der Drau (literally, 'Marburg on the Drava'). The Slovene name Maribor is an artificial Slovenized creation, coined by Stanko Vraz in 1836. Vraz created the name in the spirit of Illyrianism by analogy with the name Brandenburg (cf. Lower Sorbian Bramborska). Locally, the town is known in Slovene as Marprk or Marprog. In addition to its Slovene and German names, the city is also known as Marburgum in Latin and Marburgo in Italian.
In 1164, a castle known as Castrum Marchburch ("March Castle") was documented in the March of Drava. 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. It began to grow rapidly after the victory of Rudolf I of the Habsburg dynasty over King Otakar II of Bohemia in 1278. Maribor withstood sieges by Matthias Corvinus in 1480/1481 and by the Ottoman Empire in 1532 and 1683.
In 1900 the city had a population that was 82.3% Austrian Germans and 17.3% Slovenes (based on the language spoken at home); 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; 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. 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.
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", 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. Many Slovene patriots were taken hostage and some are believed to have been shot later in the prisons of Maribor and Graz.This led to organised resistance by partisans..
Maribor was the site of a German prisoner-of-war camp from 1941-45 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. Over 2,600 people died in Maribor during the war.
By the end of the war, Maribor was the most war-damaged major town of Yugoslavia. 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 Croatian Home Guard members and their relatives who tried to escape from Yugoslavia were executed by the Yugoslav Army. The existence of nine mass graves in and near Maribor was revealed after Slovenia's independence.
After the Second World War, 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.
On the Drava River lies Maribor Island (Mariborski otok). The oldest public bath, still important and much visited place in Maribor, is located there.
There are two hills in Maribor: Calvary Hill and Pyramid Hill, both surrounded by vineyards. The latter dominates the northern border of the city. Ruins of the first Maribor castle from the 11th century and a chapel from the 19th century also stand there. The hill offers an easily accessible scenic overlook of Maribor and the countryside to the south over the Drava River.
Maribor has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfb), bordering on oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb). Average temperatures hover around zero degrees Celsius during the winter. Summers are generally warm. Average temperatures during the city's warmest month (July) exceed 20 degrees Celsius, which is one of the main reasons for the 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. The most recent temperature heatwave record for August is 40.6 °C, measured at the Maribor–Tabor weather station by the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) on 8 August 2013.
Many historical structures stand in Maribor. Of the remains of city walls surrounding the old downtown, the most prominent are the Judgement Tower, the Water Tower, and the Jewish Tower. Maribor Cathedral was built in the Gothic style in the 13th century. Maribor Synagogue was built in the 14th century, and is the second oldest synagogue of Europe. Today it serves as a centre for cultural activities. Other prominent Medieval buildings are Maribor Castle, Betnava Castle, and the ruins of Upper Maribor Castle on Pyramid Hill. Town Hall was constructed in the Renaissance style, and the Plague Column in the Baroque style.
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 the 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 has been postponed.
In 2008, the Studenci Footbridge (Studenška brv) was renovated according to the design of the Ponting company. The design was awarded that year at the 3rd International Footbridge Conference in Porto.
In 2010, Maribor organised an international architectural competition ECC Maribor 2012 – Drava 2012 to gather proposals for the design and reconstruction of the Drava banks, the 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 is currently under construction.
The construction of a new modern Faculty of Medicine started in 2011 near the Drava River. It was designed by architect Boris Podrecca and was completed in 2013.
There are plans to renovate the Maribor Public Library and Town Hall Square (Rotovški trg). In addition, the renovation of Maribor Island (Mariborski otok) in the Drava River has been planned.
The main park of the city is Maribor City Park, with the City Aquarium and Terrarium, and a wide promenade leading to the Three Ponds (Trije ribniki), containing over 100 local and foreign species of deciduous and coniferous trees.
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.
Jewish people living in Maribor were first mentioned in 1277. It is suggested that at that time there was already a Jewish quarter in the city. 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 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 place until 1861. From late spring 1941, after Lower Styria was annexed by the Third Reich, the Jews of Maribor were deported to concentration camps.
The city hosts the University of Maribor, established in 1975, and many other schools.
Every June, the two-week Lent Festival (named after the waterfront district called Lent) is held, with hundreds of musical, theatrical and other events. Every year the festival attracts theatre, 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.
Maribor is known for wine and culinary specialities of international and Slovene cuisine (mushroom soup with buckwheat mush, tripe, sour soup, sausages with Sauerkraut, cheese dumplings, apple strudel, special cheese cake called gibanica). There are also many popular restaurants with Serbian cuisine. The Vinag Wine Cellar (Vinagova vinska klet), with the area of 20.000 m2 (215.28 sq ft) and the length of 2 km (1 mi), keeps 5,5 millions litres of wine. The house of the oldest grapevine in the world (Hiša stare trte) at Lent grows the world's oldest grapevine, which was in 2004 recorded in Guinness World Records. The grapevine of Žametovka is about 440 years old.
The most listened radio stations transmitting from Maribor are the commercial radio stations Radio City and Radio Net FM. They are followed by the national non-commercial Radio Maribor.
The alternative scene of Maribor is situated in the Pekarna (Bakery; former squat) area next to Magdalena Park.
Maribor is the hometown of the association football club NK Maribor, playing in the Slovenian PrvaLiga. NK Maribor has won the domestic title 14 times and has participated in the UEFA Champions League group stages three times, in the 1999–2000, 2014–15, and 2017–18 seasons. The club's home ground is Ljudski vrt, located in the Koroška Vrata district.
Maribor's handball club is RK Maribor Branik. Maribor Branik competes in the Slovenian First League of Handball and play their matches at Tabor Hall.
Every January the Maribor Pohorje Ski Resort, 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).
In November 2012, Maribor hosted the World Youth Chess Championship with Garry Kasparov as the guest-of-honour. It was presumed that Maribor would also host the XXVI 2013 Winter Universiade but the Government of Slovenia refused any financial support for this project due to major financial problems. As a result, the International University Sports Federation decided that it would organise the Universiade elsewhere.
Maribor sports parks include Pohorje Adrenaline Park (Adrenalinski park Pohorje) with a high ropes course, one-track-line PohorJET, and summer sledding; Pohorje Bike Park; and Betnava Adventure Park (Pustolovski park Betnava) with ropes courses, zip-lines, and poles.List of bridges in Maribor
Maribor railway station
Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport
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