Ptuj and Celje.

Community Highlights Europe Ptuj and Celje.

View over old town of Ptuj. - Ptuj

View over old town of Ptuj. - Ptuj

We did two day trips when we were in Maribor. One was to Ptuj and one was to Celje.

Ptuj.

Ptuj is 26KM southeast of Maribor, but that does not necessarily make it easy to get to. We bought a return train ticket to it, because we went on a Sunday. Slovenia offers tourist weekend tickets where you can buy a return ticket for 30% off the normal price on Saturdays and Sundays. However, we were told the next train was being replaced by a bus. That was fine. We got there by bus in 25 minutes. It was coming back that we had problems. We had been told it would also be by bus, but it was not; it was by train. We got talking to some English people who had got to Ptuj from Maribor by train and it had taken them 50 minutes. Our train back was 40 minutes late, then took about 50 minutes, so 25 minutes to get there and an hour and a half to get back. Ptuj is a lovely town with a castle perched on a hill and a lovely old town with churches, a town hall, statues and pretty squares. It is the oldest town in Slovenia. There is a lovely view back over the old town from the far side of the Drava River. The British people we met at Ptuj Station had gone to Ptuj for its large thermal swimming pool which they told us was really good. Ptuj is famous for a festival which is called the Kurent Festival. This takes place during Lent each year. It derives from an ancient fertility festival and involves dressing up in weird womble like costumes. The Kurent Festival is celebrated in Ptuj on Shrove Sunday. it attracts hundreds of visitors. The main character in the festival is Kurent. He wears a huge white sheepskin garment and a chain with huge bells around his waist. The bells make so much noise they chase away winter. Kurent collects handkerchieves from girls and women at the festival.

Enjoying a drink in Ptuj. - Ptuj

Enjoying a drink in Ptuj. - Ptuj

Ptuj Castle.

The first thing we did in Ptuj was walk up to the castle. We went the back route, but later found a way up from the centre of the old town, too. Ptuj’s castle is quite an impressive one. A castle was first built at this site in the ninth or tenth century. Only a tower survives from this. The castle has been rebuilt several times. Nowadays the castle is a museum, but we did not bother to go to the museum part inside. We enjoyed the views from the viewing terrace at the castle. You can see across the old town, the vineyards and the Drava River. We had a look at the statues in the castle’s central courtyard. There is a café in the courtyard, too and a souvenir shop near the entrance. There is a statue of a horse near the shop. The castle houses an old vine as do many places in the vine growing areas of Slovenia. Apparently the museum inside the castle contains examples of the costumes used during the Kurent Festival. It also houses musical instruments and armour. There are lovely views over the old town, the vineyards and the Drava River from Ptuj Castle. We were fortunate to visit on a beautiful sunny clear day.

Ptuj Castle. - Ptuj

Ptuj Castle. - Ptuj

Ptuj Castle - Ptuj

Ptuj Castle - Ptuj

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Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Views from the castle - Ptuj

Peter with the horse statue. - Ptuj

Peter with the horse statue. - Ptuj

The Dominican Monastery.

The Dominican Monastery was built in 1230. It has not been used as a monastery since the late 18th century when the Habsburgs dissolved the Catholic religious orders. This is now the archaeological and lapidary museum. We did not go in. It’s quite an attractive building from the outside.

The Dominican Monastery - Ptuj

The Dominican Monastery - Ptuj

Slovenski Trg.

Slovenski Trg is a beautiful square with several interesting sights. This was the market centre of Ptuj until 1923. Here you will find the tourist office in Ljutomer House, the old town hall used as the town hall until 1907, the theatre, the city tower which dates from the 16th century. St George’s Church which dates from the 12th century and the intricately carved Orpheus Monument a 5 metre high Ancient Roman tombstone which was once used as a pillory. In St George’s Church there is a model of St George killing the dragon. There are some ornate gravestones outside. There is also an interesting and slightly scary gothic head carved onto one of the buildings here.

Theatre - Ptuj

Theatre - Ptuj

City Tower and Theatre - Ptuj

City Tower and Theatre - Ptuj

The Town Hall - Ptuj

The Town Hall - Ptuj

Gothic Head - Ptuj

Gothic Head - Ptuj

The Old Vine. - Ptuj

The Old Vine. - Ptuj

Mestni Trg.

Mestni Trg should be a beautiful square but when we visited it was being restored and was all dug up, fenced off and full of portaloos. It took skill to try and avoid these in any photos I took! The town hall is located in this square. In the centre of the square is St Florian’s column which dates from 1745. The town hall was built in 1907.

St George's Church.

St George's Church is located on Slovenski Trg . This church was built originally in the twelfth century and later rebuilt in Gothic style in the fifteenth century. Outside the church there are some beautiful Renaissance and Baroque gravestones with intricate and detailed carvings. There were also some beautiful roses growing here. It was possible to enter the church and view it through a locked grill when we visited. There was a statue of St George fighting the dragon inside.

St George's Church - Ptuj

St George's Church - Ptuj

Door knocker - Ptuj

Door knocker - Ptuj

Tombstones - Ptuj

Tombstones - Ptuj

Roses - Ptuj

Roses - Ptuj

Inside the church - Ptuj

Inside the church - Ptuj

Tombstones - Ptuj

Tombstones - Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

St George and the dragon. - Ptuj

St George and the dragon. - Ptuj

Minoritski Trg.

Minoritski Square has a pillar to St Mary in its centre. This was erected to celebrate a victory over the Turks in 1664. Near the column stands the Minorite Monastery. This was established in the thirteenth century. The facade of this building is very ornate. We were able to visit inside the monastery church. I particularly liked the statues and sculptures which survived the bombing of the church in the Second World War. These were displayed in a small room to the left of the altar. Apparently Minoritski Trg used to be known as beef square in the middle Ages as cattle were assembled here before being led to the nearby Drava River.

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

The Minorite Monastery.

The Minorite Monastery church contained relics and statues from an earlier version of the church that was destroyed by bombs in 1945.

Survivor from old  Minorite Monastery. - Ptuj

Survivor from old Minorite Monastery. - Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

- Ptuj

Humorous Monument.

This humorous monument is located between the Minorite Monastery and the Drava River. I don't know who it is by or why it is there other than to make passersby smile.

Monument near the river. - Ptuj

Monument near the river. - Ptuj

The Drava River.

It is worth crossing the Drava River for beautiful views back over the old town. From this vantage point you can see how the castle towers over the lovely old town.

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Drava River - Ptuj

The Kurent Festival.

The Kurent Festival is a famous festival that takes place in Pjuj every year at Shrovetide. Participants wear elaborate furry costumes during the festival. The festival takes place on Shrove Sunday the Sunday before Lent and attracts visitors from all over Slovenia and the world. In the past only men dressed as kurent, but now anyone can. The kurent wear masks with scary long red tongues and clothes made of sheepskin. Around their waists they wear a belt with several large bells attached to it. they leap around ringing the bells in the hope that all the noise they make will scare away winter. As well as being a festival to welcome in the spring, kurent has associations with fertility festivals. Each kurent carries a stick with spikes made of hedgehog quills on the end. Girls attach handkerchiefs to the spikes. The kurent with the most handkerchiefs is the ladies' favourite. During a kurent festival one character also dresses as the devil and scares children. The devil is there to help the kurent. The worst thing that can happen to a kurent is for him to lose his mask and reveal his face. There are kurent costumes on display in Ptuj Castle. You can also buy kurent souvenirs.

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The Kurent Festival.

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The Kurent Festival.

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The Kurent Festival.

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The Kurent Festival.

Wine Wine Wine.

Ptuj is located in a major wine growing area and there are many many reminders of this dotted around the whole town. I rather liked the vine leaf patterns used to decorate the fronts of several buildings.

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Wine Wine Wine.

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Wine Wine Wine.

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Wine Wine Wine.

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Wine Wine Wine.

Elephant Statue.

I have no idea why this very attractive elephant statue was on display, but it was quite cute. We found it not far from the river area and decided to photograph it. My husband is rather fond of elephants.

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Elephant Statue.

Celje.

Celje is the third largest city in Slovenia with a population of around 50,000. It is located in a mountainous area on the confluence of the Savinja and Voglajna Rivers. Celje is dominated by an impressive medieval castle perched high on a hill. This was home to the Counts of Celje who ruled over Celje for more than three centuries. Celje’s old town has several interesting churches, statues, squares and a City Park. We got to Celje by train. It was about an hour long journey from Maribor through some pretty, mountainous scenery. Celje Train Station is right next to the old town.

Steam Train.
Trains Review
Like most railway stations in Slovenia, Celje Station has an old steam engine on display. I think this is rather a nice idea. It provides a use for these old engines, but makes them more visible than if they were shut away in a museum.

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Steam Train.

Celje Hall.

Celje Hall is located just across the road from the station. It is built in Germanic style and was built originally as a cultural centre for Celje’s German community in 1906. It contains Celje’s Tourist Information Office. The people there were very friendly and helpful when we went to collect our free map.

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Celje Hall.

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Celje Hall.

Alma Karlin Statue.

Outside Celje Hall there is a statue of Alma Karlin a famous Slovenian traveller and writer. She was born in Celje on the 12th of October 1889. Her father was a major in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and her mother a teacher. Alma studied in Graz, then travelled to London, where she studied languages. She was amazingly gifted at languages and learned English, French, Latin, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Russian, Spanish, Persian, Chinese, and Japanese. She worked on a dictionary of ten languages, including Slovene. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Alma had to move to Sweden and Norway, since Britain no longer welcomed citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1919, she returned to Celje and opened a language school. In 1919, she set out on a nine year journey around the world. She visited South and North America, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and various Asian countries. In 1928 when her mother was dying, Alma returned home. She devoted most of her time to writing. She wrote in German until the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, when she abandoned German as an act of protest. In Germany, her books were burned by the regime. After an eventful life Alma died on the 14th January 1950. On her world travels she had collected many souvenirs some of these are now on display in the Celje Regional Museum.

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Alma Karlin Statue.

Churches.

Celje has several lovely churches. The only one we could go inside was the Church of St Daniel which was located on Slomskov Square. There was a statue of Bishop Slomšek, outside. There has been a church here since the 13th century. St Cecelia’s Church is located on the far side of the Savinja River. It is situated on top of a hill and is reached via a steep covered staircase with ninety steps. There are good views from outside the church. The church dates from the 17th century. The Church of St Mary's Assumption is on the same street as the tourist office. It was originally part of a Minorite Monastery and dates from the 14th century. It was closed during our visit. There was also a lovely church located on the mountain near the castle.

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Churches.

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Churches.

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Churches.

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Churches.

Sculptures.

Celje had several interesting sculptures. The most famous is war and peace. One side shows war, the other side shows peace. This sculpture was created in 1956 by Jakob Savinšek. The sculpture is five metres high. I liked the sculpture of the man on a bicycle clutching a camera.

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Sculptures.

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Sculptures.

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Sculptures.

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Sculptures.

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Sculptures.

The People’s Savings And Loans Bank.

This bank was designed by famous Slovenian architect Jože Plecnik during the interwar years.The building is three floors high with a fancy colonnaded facade. It is located on Stanetova and Vodnikova Streets. The bank is next to a rather fancy cinema called the Cinema Metropol. The Cinema Metropol was established in 1936 in a building also designed by Jože Plecnik. Nowadays the Metropol is an arthouse cinema.

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The People’s Savings And Loans Bank.

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The People’s Savings And Loans Bank.

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The People’s Savings And Loans Bank.

Celje Theatre.

The Celje Theatre is quite an interesting building with a sculpture of the Greek masks of comedy and tragedy on its facade. The theatre was constructed in 1824. In 1950 it became the Slovene People’s Theatre. It currently stages around six new productions a year. The sculpture of War and Peace is in a little park nearby.

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Celje Theatre.

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Celje Theatre.

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Celje Theatre.

Celje Castle.

We walked to Celje Castle via a steep path on the far side of the Voglajna River. It took around forty exhausting minutes. When we walked down, we took the road and walked along the river, past the station then through the tunnel under the railway tracks. There is a great view from both outside and inside of the castle. You cannot see any of the castle without paying to go in. It cost 2 Euros and if you presented your ticket in the castle café you got a Euro off your purchase, so it really only cost one Euro. Celje Castle was built by the Huenburg Family in the late 12th, early 13th century. Later it became the home of the Counts of Celje, who were later made Princes of Celje. When the last of these was murdered the castle was taken over by the Hapsburgs. Like Ljubljana Castle, celje Castle has been over-restored to the point where it looks brand new. However, it is worth visiting anyway for the beautiful views over Celje’s old town, rivers and mountains. Like most castles in Slovenia Celje Castle had an old vine. There was a photographic exhibition on when we visited showing the importance of colour. A photo was taken where everything was shades of gray then next to it, the same scene was shown in colour.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

Celje Castle Once Again

Celje Castle Once Again

Celje Castle Once Again

Celje Castle Once Again

Celje Castle Once Again

Celje Castle Once Again

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Celje Castle.

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Celje Castle.

Shop Signs.

I really love the highly decorative shop signs that can be found in most old European towns. These were my favourites in Celje. I especially like the man carrying the oversized knife over his shoulder.

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Shop Signs.

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Shop Signs.

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Shop Signs.

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Shop Signs.

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Shop Signs.

Faces Of Celje.

I really love the ornate faces that can be found carved on old buildings. These are some I especially liked in Celje. The first one reminds me of the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There is something similar in the style.

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Faces Of Celje.

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Faces Of Celje.

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Faces Of Celje.

Rivers.

Celje lies at the confluence of the Savinja and Voglajna Rivers. There are beautiful, scenic walks along each of these. There are also lovely views as you walk along the rivers or overlook them from the hills up above them.

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Rivers.

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Rivers.

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Rivers.

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Rivers.

Church And Home Of St Joseph.

Like the castle this beautiful, old building dominates the town of Celje from its hilltop location. We got near it on our walk down from the castle, but
unfortunately we did not have time to actually visit.

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Church And Home Of St Joseph.

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Church And Home Of St Joseph.

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Church And Home Of St Joseph.

This featured blog entry was written by irenevt from the blog Trips to the Balkans..
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By irenevt

Posted Wed, Mar 13, 2019 | Slovenia | Comments