Negova is cute little village with noble castle and historic centre with a small square and church on a top of little hill which is quite iconic image of old Slovenian settlements. The castle has been recently thoroughly renewed but the re-construction work has not been finished yet entierly. Worth seeing though as a lovely day trip not too far from Maribor, half way to Gornja Radgona in middle of Slovenske gorice hills.
The castle holds cultural shows and regular exhibitions so it's worth checking out the programe. Herb gardens were set in the area around it and in spring, the view of flowering white narcissus is a cure for soul and feast for an eye. I can't help myself thinking how humble and innocent those flowers are, but they are endangered as well. Only fifty or less years ago they were more abundant at many places in country, but when you've got modern agriculture and excessive use of fertilizer combined with rough methods of 'cultivating' meadows they began to vanish at rapid speed.
Only a few kilometers away there is small Negova lake that older generations used for fishing and swimming. Now I am not sure that you can fish here, but it certianly is a habitat worth keeping as it is. After all, it's a treasure for local birds and amphibians.
Walk north-west from the railway station across elegant early 20th century housing, alongside the city park and up through the vineyards (replanted in 1986) to the Piramida, or Kalvary. There was a castle here once, torn down in 1784 by the Brandeis family. Great views in all directions. Amazing to be able to get out of the city quite so quickly.
Holy Three Kings have a lot of churches in Slovenia, and this one is from a village Sv. Trije kralji v Slovenskih goricah - on a ridge of a small hill between town Lenart and village Benedikt.
Impressive buidling can be noted from a main regional road, but it is somewhat lonely place today, unless you're visiting on Sundays or religious festivals for the ceremony. You may easily find doors shut, but still there is small opening from which you can see inside. It is biggest late gothic church in the region that has served pilgrims for many decades since it was built in 16th century.
Having been surrounded with some good views to all directions, it is indeed a place worth to visit. And like ancient traveller, you can still walk here on foot all way from Medieval Cologne, if you only dare.
Maribor received town privileges in 1254. The City Hall was built in 1515 and remodeled in Renaissance style between 1563 and 1565. In the mid-19th century in was again renovated in th late Classical style, but was later restored to its original 16th century appearance. In addition to city offices, Rotovž houses a Slovene national cuisine restaurant called "Toti Rotovž".
Adolf Hitler visited town briefly in 1941 and adressed local Germans from the balcony of the Rotovž.
Surroundings of Maribor are rich with vineyards and forests, and wine here has excellent quality in abundance. You can take few or the routes, all are nice and scenic, but if you want some stunning views with Pohorje at the backdrop, take a ride towards Malečnik, Trčova and so on... You need to go to Pobrežje (follow Drava river downstream from centre, pass europark mall), then across Drava into Malečnik, here you can take side roads into hills at walking distance or drive a little further when main road starts ascending. There are signs so you cannot get lost really.
There are few wine cellars and local restaurants to check out and even if you're not into wine the area is worth to do for the views in nice weather, especially on autumn when colors get wild.
Enclosed by mountains and forest there's a hill station of Trije Kralji, the Three Kings in English, named upon the church from begining of 16th century, being built in Gothic and Renaissance style. It's a little unusal and very modest church - unusal for its roofs were covered by local stones and for the atmosphere of the building. A little of detail is here in place, not much on outer walls and little more inside with altar, while its floor has been beaten by times, almost nonexisting - just like it used to be in remote areas in past. Most of time remains this church closed, but a little peek inside will give you the idea of the whole. We remember times in winter when this place became modest ski resort, of black dressed women comming here for sunday mass, travelling path through deep snow.
They keep it simple. It is not easy to build shelters and infrastructure here for hostile winters when snow will be as high as 1 meter or more deep. That's why, the buildings here will be of robust shape, no matter their purpose. Nature still being stonger than man and god together, keeping monumental projects in such remotes areas out off its ways.
Other than church in this area there's pension and restaurant (they cook excellent here), ski slopes and hiking trails.
How to get from Maribor: go to Slovenska Bistrica centre, by the sign Trije kralji turn right, pass Impol factory building, ascend the hill by narrow road for 20-30 min drive by car through village Tinje and eventually you will get to Trije kralji.
You depend on your own transport - public is none.
One of the most tragic battles of WWII in Slovenian soil was fought in deep Pohorje mountains near Osankarica, by Trije zeblji most precisely. It is here in the silence of deep spruce forest where generations after generations come to pay respects for the dead partisans whom entire battalion of 69 men and women was first betrayed, then ambushed and brutally killed by Nazi German troops. Teenaged children of Alfonz Sarh, one of the men – a patriotic, small and local farmer who joined partisans - were shot with them among these trees, although they barely began to live. It was coldest time in winter then in January 1943, snow deep as 1 meter, food and weapon too scarce for decent defence. Enemy troops outnumbered them by 2000 men – that was a fight of small against big army and with terrible, predictable result.
Now, 60 years later memeorial site still gets numbers of visitors. Time changed but things weren't forgotten. Quietly you will walk though soft, earthen forest path revealing bare tree roots right above surface, touch with ground so gentle to feet… yet it's is something dark in the air knowing what happened in these humble nature some decades ago. Spirits have stayed and they continue to dwell as long as someone bothers to remember … and now adult spruces were young then, if they could speak… what they witnessed! If you can listen unspoken words, then it tells enough (and if you don't then there's board and museum you can visit for information) about wounds left in their sacred forest.
How to find from Maribor: in Slovenska Birstria follow the signs for Sv. Trije kralji, which is hill station on about 1200 m above sea level, some 20 – 30 min drive from Bistrica. You can walk to Trije zeblji – Osankarica or use the road. Most people come hiking from Trije kralji, since it's only few kilometers aways through beutiful forests and pass magic turf waters of Black lake. I didn't see any local buses to get you here so your best bet will be rented or your own transport.
Some 20 kilometers east (by the main road Maribor - Lenart) of Maribor there's rather shallow and quiet lake Komarnik. Name comes from the word 'komar' which is mosquito in English (and komarnik would be then something like 'collection of mosquitos') and therefore we can find plenty of these blood sucking insects here, but also those much nicer animals and rare plants such as white water lily.
Actually this lake is so important for birds, rare insects and leech that it has been declared protected area and included into Natura 2000 network. Here birds are safe, therefore! No hunting and fishing is allowed which makes it peaceful enviromnent for them with plenty of food and safe for laying eggs in reeds, bushes and trees.
Among other significant fauna there're rare medicinal leech, European otter, 35 kinds of dragon flies, amphibians and rare invertebrates. Even without strong knowledge from biology field you can have very nice time here watching birds and hiking. Good thing about hiking here in winter is there're no mosquitos (so, make sure you use good repellent in summer). Bring good boots if you want to visit after rain because it can get muddy.
The lake was first mentioned in 16th century when it was used for growing fish for lords of nearby Hrastovec castle which is going through renovation process these days. It is now one of these acumulation lakes which had undergone large regulation works in past but has been successfully reclaimed by nature.
You can see some birds all year round but migratory will join in spring.
If you come by your own car take Lenart direction and pass Hrastovec by the main road and near Komarnik you can park it by deserted 'hotel Crni les' which has large parking place. If you come by public bus from Maribor, ask driver to stop you at Komarnik bus stop and then walk through field to lake direction. It's not really so often visited like you'd think of place of huge importance - there's no fortified path - but you will know where to go because there are reeds and trees by the shores (and, yes - birds in the air around!).
You could as well take a look around Hrastovec castle which is 1 km from the lake, a significant and impressive building, but I am not sure if they open to public since it is also care home - see the web site: Hrastovec
This statue can be found in a corner niche by the entrance into the Orel Hotel in Grajski trg. It features the Greek or Roman god of wine sitting on a barrel drinking and being merry. It replaced a stolen statue of the Holy Virgin which once adorned the same niche.
According to the dsign, it was probably chapel, turn into the Tabacceria nowadays. It stands on the right bank of the river Drava, where the main bridge to the centre of the town ends. Too bad, it could have much better purpose.
This contemporary monument stands on the square right next to the Old Castle of Maribor. Very often, when in front of such an work, we ask ourselves what the artist wanted to express. It is, as far as I know, unique monument in the world and is dedicated to the "secondary most important thing" the foot-ball.
Well, it was very pleasant surprise hearing the fantastic group of young people from New Zeland singing Maori songs on the Main Square of Maribor. I didn't catch the name of the chor but they were just fantastic performing folk songs and dances from their people. Great experience!
The statue of Archbishop Anton Martin Slomsek, a fiery nationalpatriot, stands opposite to the Cathedral.
Slomsek started campaign of patriotic education with the schools. He built many new schools and gave to all of his national schools a syllabes in which Slovenian values, both religious and cultural, were reinforced. As an able writer himself, he was the author of many atractive school books. Next, he founded a weekly newspaper, but his most effective cultural project was the foundation of a publishing house called the St. Hermagoras Society.
Where else can you ski among vineyards and practically in the city? And that on more than 120 snowy days per year? From the top down to the valley!? And on top of it, Mariborsko Pohorje is also the biggest Slovenian ski resort.
Slovenia’s largest ski area is in the northeastern part of the country. It is noted for hosting World Cup alpine races.
Elevation: Village: 325 m (1,066 ft) Top: 1,347 m (4,418 ft)
Vertical: 1,022 m (3,352 ft)
Terrain: 60 km (37 mi) of downhill trails and slopes; 40% beginner, 35% intermediate, 25% advanced; snowmaking; the longest night skiing trail in Europe!
Lifts: 1 gondola, 3 chairlifts, 17 surface
Lift Capacity: 18,000 p/h
Ski Season: Mid-November to March
Cross Country: 28 km (17 mi) of trails
Ski School: All disciplines, including racing
Other Winter Activities: Hiking, ice skating, curling, indoor tennis, indoor swimming
Après-Ski: Sightseeing, exhibitions, cinema, theatre, fine restaurants, disco, nightclubs
Shopping/Services: Maribor is Slovenia’s second largest city and has everything a visitor could possibly need
Credit Cards: AE, MC, VISA
Child Care: Kindergarten
Lodging: 1,253 hotel beds
By auto on Motorway 10 from Ljubljana
By train from Ljubljana, 2 hours
Other Information: The Austrian and Hungarian borders are less than 30 miles away from Maribor, offering still other cultures to explore
Over the Drava River, this bridge was built between 1.906 and 1.912 and was "one of the most beautiful bridges in the Austro-Hungarian Empire".