Maribor is cultural and economic centre of southern part of Styria (northern part is in Austria). Other major cities are Celje, Velenje and the oldest slovenian town Ptuj. This northeast part of Slovenia is known for its white wine and excellent gastronomy but also for Pohorje and Rogla ski resorts, cultural festivals like Lent festival and for pumpkin seed oil.
Celje (around 60 km from Maribor) is a third largest slovenian city that prides itself on its rich history. In medieval times, the town drew its power and pride from the Counts of Celje, who spread the splendor of the three stars of Celje across Europe. Castle complex in the city is the most important and largest medieval castle project on our territory.
Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia. There is evidence that the area was settled in the Stone Age. By the 1st century BC, the settlement was controlled by Ancient Rome. In 69 AD Vespasian was elected Roman Emperor by the Danubian legions in Ptuj and the first written mention of the city of Ptuj is from the same year. Ptuj is the center place of a ten days long carnival in the spring, an ancient Slavic pagan rite of spring and fertility, called Kurentovanje. Ptuj Castle is situated on a hill alongside the river Drava overlooking the town, and is a prominent landmark. It was built in 12th century, when the town was part of the Archdiocese of Salzburg.
Velenje is Slovenia‘s fifth largest city and is located among the rolling green hills of the Šalek Valley. The 1889 Old Velenje, the old part of today’s city, was a small market town with 364 citizens, located downtown at the foot of Velenje Castle. The mining industry in the area contributed to the expansion of the town before WW II. After the war, Velenje rapidly advanced and developed into a modern city that was planned and built in the 1950s. Velenje is also headquarter of the world known manufacturer of home appliances Gorenje.
Between Celje and Maribor there is also lovely old town Slovenske Konjice and nearby is Žička kartuzija, the place of an old charterhouse, first of its kind outside french and italian borders. It dates back to the 12th century and was built following the example of the french charterhouses. The monks were skilled in different crafts but were most renowned as healers and herbalists. In Slovenske Konjice there is also modern wine cellar Zlati grič.