STA, 5 March 2019 - Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, was visited by almost 202,300 tourists last year, up 13% from 2017, and the number of nights they spent there reached a record 451,610, a rise of as much as 36%.
The majority of nights was spent in Maribor by tourists from Germany, Croatia, Poland, Italy, Serbia and Austria, whereas only 13% of domestic tourists decided to stay more than one day.
The average period a tourist spent in the city thus increased from 1.86 days to 2.23 days.
"We've surpassed all set goals," Doris Urbančič Windisch, the director of the Maribor-Pohorje Tourist Board, told the press on Tuesday.
She attributed the upbeat figures to intensified promotional campaigns and a number of events taking place in Maribor.
Last year, the board promoted Maribor and the broader destination around the Pohorje hills at 22 fairs, ten workshops and four exchanges.
It moreover worked hand in hand with organisers of 65 local events.
Maribor and Pohorje play host to a number of interesting events, not least World Cup skiing races, the Lent summer festival and the Maribor Theatre Festival.
An event attracting a number of visitors is also the pruning of the Old Vine, which is more than 450 years old and is believed to be the oldest in the world.
"The Old Vine is one of our strongest trade marks which can take the good name of the city to the world and tell people that we appreciate our past and can build new stories on its basis," Mayor Saša Arsenovič, the new Old Vine master, said.
The pruning is an opportunity for the city to give Old Vine grafts to towns around the world to strengthen cooperation with partners from Slovenia and abroad.
The Žametovka or Modra Kavčina vine has won a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest cultivated vine in the world still bearing grapes.
The vine was planted towards the end of the Middle Ages, when Maribor was facing Ottoman invasion, and grows in the old city centre in front of the Old Vine House.
STA, 25 February 2019 - A nurse from the UKC Maribor hospital is being investigated for forging more than 200 prescriptions for medicines in high demand on the black market. She and a male accomplice are suspected of defrauding the national healthcare insurer ZZZS from 3,000-5,000 euros.
The Maribor criminal police assistant chief, Andrej Kolbl, told the press on Monday that a healthcare worker and an accomplice had been temporarily detained while the police searched six houses, commercial offices and cars on Friday.
The pair is suspected of fraud, a crime that carries a three year sentence, but the investigation will also look into other potentially criminal activities such as illicit sale of medicines, and the reason for the crime.
The police will also investigate whether any other persons were involved in the scheme.
The suspect allegedly forged more than 200 prescriptions since 2017, using the green-coded prescription pads used to prescribe medicines fully or almost fully funded by the ZZZS.
The suspect had made the prescriptions out to herself and the accomplice, forging the signatures of some 20 doctors in the process.
More than 600 cartons of Sanval, Zaldiar, Lexaurin and Doreta have been issued by several pharmacies based on the prescriptions.
Kolbl said these medicines, which are mostly tranquillizers or insomnia drugs, were in high demand in particular among drug addicts.
It was a pharmacist who had suspected the signature on one prescription did not belong to the doctor who had issued it, explained Roman Košir, UKC Maribor's emergency unit head, who spoke to the press later in the day.
The pharmacist also realised the person to whom the prescription had been issued, received very large amounts of tranquillizers, and notified the doctor in question.
Košir explained UKC Maribor had been notified of the suspicious activity a week ago by the community centre for which the doctor worked.
They had checked with several doctors to establish the signature on the prescriptions were not theirs, and reported the case to the police.
The nurse had mostly forged signatures of doctors from the community centre who regularly helped at the emergency unit, according to Košir.
He also explained it was not unusual for a nurse to have access to prescription pads or stamps.
"This is how we do things. Doctors, nurses, prescriptions, stamps are available at any moment due to the very nature of the work process."
Košir said the nurse had worked for the emergency unit for more than two years and the procedure to dismiss her had already been launched.
He said UKC Maribor was not harmed financially by the wrongdoing, as prescription drugs are paid by the national health care insurer.
It is yet to be established how much the two suspects have gained from the illegal activity.
STA, 2 February 2019 - The Alpine Ski World Cup overall leader Mikaela Shiffrin of the US won the slalom part of the Golden Fox on Saturday to complete a double win in Maribor and come even closer to the absolute record in wins in a single World Cup season.
After splitting the win in the giant slalom race on Friday with Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, Shiffrin was too dominant in the slalom, earning a one-second advantage over Vlhova already in the first run to finish in 1:42.60.
Anna Swenn-Larsson of Sweden was second (+0.77) and Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was third (+1.15). Vlhova finished fifth (+1.70) after being second in the fist run.
With another victory, the 23-year-old American has increased her win total in the World Cup this season to 13 to remain in play for beating the absolute record in wins in a single season.
The winner of the last three slalom races in Maribor is on pace to beat Vreni Schneider of Switzerland, who won a record 14 events in 1988-89. It was the win number 56 for Shiffrin in the World Cup.
"It was an amazing weekend! For some people watching it feels like I'm used to this but it's not, it's always a fight, every race is a fight," she told the Slovenian national television after the win.
The only Slovenians in the second run were Meta Hrovat (+2.76), who finished 11th for her best career slalom result in the World Cup, and Ana Bucik, who was 24th (+3.84).
Hrovat was sixth overall at the Golden Fox after finishing 8th in Friday's giant slalom for her best ever result in Maribor.
"I'm very happy with Hrovat's success, she is stepping up her form excellently. She keeps the same quality in the giant slalom and slalom, which is a progress," said Denis Šteharnik, the head coach of the Slovenian women's team for technical disciplines.
The slalom at the 55th Golden Fox was the last event for ladies in the World Cup before the Alpine Ski World Championships in Are, Sweden (5-17 February).
* Results of the World Cup slalom event in Maribor: 1 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 1:42.60 50.05 52.55 2 Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) 1:43.37 +00.77 51.14 52.23 3 Wendy Holdener (SUI) 1:43.75 +01.15 51.95 51.80 4 Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 1:43.94 +01.34 51.62 52.32 5 Petra Vlhova (SVK) 1:44.30 +01.70 51.05 53.25 6 Bernadette Schild (AUT) 1:44.71 +02.11 52.30 52.41 7 Kristin Lysdahl (NOR) 1:44.97 +02.37 52.03 52.94 8 Chiara Costazza (ITA) 1:45.25 +02.65 52.52 52.73 9 Katharina Truppe (AUT) 1:45.27 +02.67 52.80 52.47 10 Christina Geiger (GER) 1:45.32 +02.72 52.28 53.04 11 Meta Hrovat (SLO) 1:45.36 +02.76 53.43 51.93 Katharina Huber (AUT) 1:45.36 +02.76 53.57 51.79 - Overall standings (after 26 of 37 events): 1 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 1,694 2 Petra Vlhova (SVK) 1,043 3 Wendy Holdener (SUI) 747 4 Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) 617 5 Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 589 6 Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) 509 7 Ilka Štuhec (SLO) 507 8 Federica Brignone (ITA) 500 9 Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 497 10 Michelle Gisin (SUI) 442 - Slalom standings (after 9 of 11 events): 1 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 860 2 Petra Vlhova (SVK) 725 3 Wendy Holdener (SUI) 485 4 Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 348 5 Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) 336 6 Katharina Liensberger (AUT) 285 7 Katharina Truppe (AUT) 255 8 Bernadette Schild (AUT) 207 9 Erin Mielzynski (CAN) 185 10 Irene Curtoni (ITA) 175
STA, 1 February 2019 -
The Alpine Ski World Cup overall leader Mikaela Shiffrin of the US and Petra Vlhova of Slovakia split the win at the giant slalom part of the Golden Fox event in Maribor on Friday as they finished the two runs with the same total time.
The 23-year-old American was almost half a second ahead of the Slovakian after the first run, but made some mistakes in the second to squander the advantage, with both finishing in 2:31.31.
Third place went to Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway, who finished 0.93 seconds behind the winners.
It was a win number five for Shiffrin at the Golden Fox and the third giant slalom win this season and second in a row.
With another victory, Shiffrin has increased her win total to twelve to remain in play for beating the absolute record in wins in a single season.
She is on pace to beat Vreni Schneider of Switzerland, who won a record 14 events in the 1988-89 season.
Shiffrin defended her win in last year's giant slalom event of the Golden Fox, which was hosted by the Kranjska Gora ski resort, and has the chance of repeating her double win from 2018 as she will also appear in Saturday's slalom.
"It was a fight in the second (run) and I almost lost it at the bottom, so it's always nice when you have this luck," Shiffrin was quoted by the French agency AFP.
Vlhova added that "we are always very close and today we can share first place, so it's good for everyone and I'm just happy."
The only Slovenians to make it to the second run were Meta Hrovat, who finished eighth (+2.39) for her best career result in Maribor, and the best Slovenian skier, the downhill specialist Ilka Štuhec, who was 20th (+3.75).
Hrovat, who earned her third top-10 career finish, while Štuhec was also relatively good given that it was her first giant slalom appearance in more than 22 months.
* Results of the World Cup giant slalom event in Maribor: 1 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:31.31 1:14.28 1:17.03 Petra Vlhova (SVK) 2:31.31 1:14.76 1:16.55 3 Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 2:32.24 +00.93 1:15.48 1:16.76 4 Wendy Holdener (SUI) 2:32.60 +01.29 1:15.89 1:16.71 5 Sara Hector (SWE) 2:32.81 +01.50 1:15.37 1:17.44 6 Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 2:32.97 +01.66 1:15.74 1:17.23 7 Marta Bassino (ITA) 2:33.02 +01.71 1:15.38 1:17.64 8 Meta Hrovat (SLO) 2:33.70 +02.39 1:15.87 1:17.83 9 Tessa Worley (FRA) 2:33.71 +02.40 1:14.86 1:18.85 10 Kristin Lysdahl (NOR) 2:33.93 +02.62 1:16.70 1:17.23 ... 20 Ilka Štuhec (SLO) 2:35.06 +03.75 1:17.90 1:17.16 - Overall standings (after 25 of 37 events): 1 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 1594 2 Petra Vlhova (SVK) 998 3 Wendy Holdener (SWI) 687 4 Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) 617 5 Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 589 6 Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) 509 7 Ilka Štuhec (SLO) 507 8 Federica Brignone (ITA) 500 9 Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 447 10 Michelle Gisin (SWI) 442 - Giant slalom standings (after 6 events): 1 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 455 2 Tessa Worley (FRA) 374 3 Petra Vlhova (SVK) 318 4 Federica Brignone (ITA) 310 5 Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 259 6 Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) 255 7 Stephanie Brunner (AUT) 195 8 Wendy Holdener (SUI) 194 9 Marta Bassino (ITA) 164 10 Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 149
STA, 1 February 2019 - The annual Golden Fox meet will start in Maribor on Friday as part of the Alpine Ski World Cup caravan, with the US superstar Mikaela Shiffrin being the main favourite in the giant slalom and slalom events. The best Slovenian skier, the downhill specialist Ilka Štuhec, will make her appearance in the giant slalom.
Shiffrin, who is in a comfortable lead in the overall World Cup standing for ladies, will be by far the biggest star, having already won eleven races in the current season after winning a total of twelve in the entire last season.
The American will be going for her fourth overall victory at the Golden Fox, which consists of giant slalom and slalom events, after she managed the feat in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
The 55th Golden Fox is back to its traditional venue, the Pohorje Hill above Maribor, after being hosted last year by the Kranjska Gora resort due to the shortage of snow in Maribor. It was there that Shiffrin earned one of her double wins.
The American, who is not even 24 yet, has won a total of 54 World Cup events to currently stand fourth all time, only one win behind the third-placed Vreni Schneider of Switzerland.
Schneider won a record 14 events in a single season (1988-89), the feat Shiffrin could beat this year considering her almost unbeatable form.
Meanwhile, Slovenians will be looking for their first winner after the legendary Tina Maze took the overall win in 2013 as the last Slovenian to do so. Their chances are slim as the main contender, Ana Drev, is out for season due to knee injury.
This is one of the reasons why Štuhec, who is known as specialist for fast disciplines, has decided to appear in Friday's giant slalom, the discipline in which she very rarely competes. The giant slalom will be followed by the slalom on Saturday.
A total of 116 competitors have been registered for the two events, which will be covered by around 250 accredited journalists. The organisers expect at least 20,000 visitors to the two-day skiing festival.
Some high-profile guests are also expected in Maribor, including President Borut Pahor and some government ministers, as well as Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini.
10.00: 1st run Giant slalom, between runs concert,
13.00: 2nd run Giant slalom
10.00: 1st run Slalom, between runs performance,
13.00: 2nd run Slalom
FIS Alpine has a good YouTube channel, and may be showing the event live. If not, there’ll certainly be highlights soon after it ends.
STA, 19 January 2019 - Maribor plans to join forces with nearby towns this year to expand what it has to offer to tourists and keep visitors in the region longer. Slovenia's second biggest city is betting on its assets in sports, culture, wine and cuisine, city tourism and conference tourism.
The Maribor - Pohorje Tourism Institute is working on a new four-year regional tourism strategy as the current one expires in 2020.
Maribor and 22 municipalities in the region will strive to attract guests with experiences they are offering in sports, culture, wine and cuisine, city tourism and conference tourism.
The Institute's head Doris Urbančič Windisch thinks the region should emphasise what distinguishes it from the rest of Slovenia. "We'll encourage our guests to stay at least two or three nights," she told the STA.
Urbančič Windisch sees great potential in Maribor's Old Vine, the world's oldest vine. The Old Vine can be a starting point for many gastronomic and cultural experiences, including in cooperation with nearby towns, she said.
Brochures presenting the region's sports infrastructure and facilities are also under way.
The data on nights and arrivals for 2018 are not in yet, but the institute expects the growth recorded in the first ten months to continue.
Between January and the end of October, 30% more nights were generated in Maribor (379,577) and 13% more arrivals (177,799). The Maribor - Pohorje destination recorded 29% more nights (486,792) and 12% more arrivals (218,876) compared to the same period in 2017.
The Tourism Institute presented its new visual identity last year and will launch a new website this year. It will also organise a number of workshops and activities for those working in culture and tourism to create interesting holiday packages for tourists.
Urbančič Windisch highlighted inappropriate working hours of museums and low entrance fees which she says do not reflect the quality of service.
Another problem for Maribor is the lack of a five-star hotel and other infrastructure for high-end guests.
All out posts tagged "travel and tourism" can be found here
STA, 17 January 2019 - An exhibition on Soviet World War II officer Alexander Pechersky, who led the uprising at the Sobibor extermination camp, will go on display at the Maribor Synagogue tonight, accompanied by the screening of the Russian film Sobibor, as an overture to the observation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The exhibition and the film by Konstantin Khabenskiy, Russia's candidate for the 2018 foreign language Oscar, cover the mass escape of Jews from the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland in 1943, organised and led by Pechersky.
Although only 53 of those who escaped survived, it was the most successful break from a World War death camp. The camp itself was ordered by the SS chief Heinrich Himmler to be closed, dismantled and planted with trees within days after the uprising.
Alexander Pechersky – Wikipedia
The event is being organised by the Maribor Library and Centre of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor in association with the Ljubljana-based Russian Centre of Science and Culture, the Russian Centre in Maribor, International WWII Research Centre in Maribor and the Association of History Students ISHA Maribor.
The event will officially launch this year's observation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day as part of the project Shoah - Let Us Remember 2019 in Slovenia with Culture Minister Dejan Prešiček as honorary sponsor.
The project involves a number of cultural, research and education institutions. Every year they hold exhibitions, scientific conferences and various cultural events to keep alive the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, Porajmos, Nazi persecution and genocide in general and to warn of instances of hatred and intolerance that could lead to crimes against humanity.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on 27 January, will also be observed by an event hosted by the ZZB NOB association of WWII veterans this Sunday at the Kino Šiška urban culture centre in Ljubljana. It will be addressed by Maca Jogan, a University of Ljubljana professor emeritus, who was born in the Lössnitz labour camp.
All our posts on Jewish Slovenia can be found here
STA, 16 January 2019 - The Slovenian Housing Fund plans to start building two housing complexes in Ljubljana and Maribor this year. In the capital, some 110 apartments for young people will be built, while in Maribor the new complex will offer some 400 apartments with an underground garage.
The fund has already filed for the construction permits and expects construction to start this year.
The youth complex in Ljubljana will be located in the Vič borough, where there are several student facilities already. The new apartments with either one-bed or two-bed rooms will be intended for young people aged between 18 and 29 who want to study or live in Ljubljana.
The 110-room facility will also feature an intergenerational centre, a kitchen with a dining room, a living room, an office, a maintenance room with a separate entrance and an atrium, the Housing Fund said.
According to the fund's head, Črtomir Remec, the construction is to start in the first half of the year.
In the southern part of Maribor, near the city's landmark hill Pekrska Gorca, several two-storey apartment buildings will be constructed in the form of four unfinished squares.
Each building will have a basement, ground floor and two floors, with the complex offering a total of some 400 apartments, 35 to 80 square metres big. Each apartment will also have an underground garage space.
In the first phase, 212 apartments will be built and another 188 in the second, Remec said.
A total of 60 apartments in the complex will be intended for elderly people who need assistance, while the centre will also feature a daycare centre for the elderly, and some shops and offices.
The two projects are in line with the Housing Fund's goal of providing 2,000 new apartments for rent by 2020 and three times as many by 2025 to have a total of 10,000 publicly-owned apartments available for renting.
STA, 2 January 2019 - The Slovenian National Theatre (SNG) Maribor (Slovensko narodno gledališče Maribor) will mark its centenary in 2019, with celebrations culminating on 27 September, exactly 100 years after its founder Hinko Nučič staged the first play there.
Maribor had a vibrant cultural scene even before the professional theatre was formally established in what is now Slovenia's second largest city.
But the new theatre enhanced Slovenian national identity and positioned Slovenian as the national and official language.
The building housing SNG Maribor was built in 1852, and since then Maribor has had a professional theatre, but at the time it was fully German.
"Slovenian actors were not allowed to perform there," director and author Vili Ravnjak, who has worked for SNG Maribor for many years, has told the STA.
While first productions in Slovenian were staged as early as the middle of the 19th century, they were performed at a different location.
"It was only when Maribor became a politically and culturally Slovenian city that acting naturally moved to the former German theatre", which closed shop after WWI in early 1919.
In 1941, when Slovenian lands were occupied by the Nazis, German theatre was reintroduced, while Slovenian professional theatre was revived after WWII in 1945.
Although it is hard to say when SNG Maribor had its heyday, Ravnjak highlighted the 1930s and 1990s for drama and the last decade for opera and ballet.
Plays at SNG Maribor attracted the most media attention when director Tomaž Pandur (1963-2016) put on stage his controversial extravaganzas in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ballet and opera ensembles have meanwhile made a name for themselves under artistic directors Edward Clug, a choreographer of world renown, and conductor Simon Krečič.
SNG Maribor is the largest public cultural organisation in Slovenia and the only one bringing under one roof drama, opera and ballet.
It formally consists of Drama, Opera, Ballet and the Symphony Orchestra, while also housing the Maribor Theatre Festival as a separate unit.
In 2003, it was granted the highest status - that of national theatre, which means it is fully funded by the state or the Culture Ministry as its founder.
Danilo Rošker, SNG Maribor's director for the past 15 years, believes that ever since its beginnings, the theatre has enriched the cultural scene and extended the boundaries of what is possible.
The celebrations will be launched in January when SNG Maribor's production is presented at Ljubljana's Cankarjev Dom, accompanied by talks with acclaimed artists.
But it will be particularly festive in September: an exhibition tracing the theatre's history will be put up in the streets of Maribor, a monograph and a special postal stamp will be published and a special ceremony staged.
September 27 will see the premiere of Grmače, a play by acclaimed Slovenian author Dane Zajc (1929-2005) staged by Nina Rajić Kranjac, a rising star on the Slovenian theatre scene.
The celebrations will end with an opera premiere in May 2020 to remember 1 May 1920, when SNG Maribor's predecessor staged the first opera, Hervé's Mam'zelle Nitouche.
The theatre’s English website can be found here
While Slovenia gears up for New Year’s, and Ljubljana billboards show the latest editions of the Petarde? Ne hvala posters - as seen above and below - Maribor has taken the lead in making the celebrations more peaceful for the city’s animals.
"Would you kill your friends?" Poster: Tam Tam
As reported by Večer, among other outlets, the usual sponsors of the annual firework display, Večer and Nova KBM, have decided to spend the money they usually donate for explosives to humanitarian societies and organisations. The groups supported are Red Cross Maribor, Karitas Maribor, Pika - day centre for children and youth, Varna House Maribor, the shelter for homeless people on Šentiljska cesta, counselling for victims of violence and abuse, Association Toti DCA (a daycare centre for seniors), VDC Polž, Sonček Society, Bresternica Maternity Home, Hospice Maribor Association and the Friends of Youth Association Maribor.