Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Festive Slovenj Gradec

The medieval town of Slovenj Gradec is slightly hidden from the view among the meadows and forests of Pohorje and the mountain of Uršlja Gora. Well-kept bike and hiking trails take visitors to the quiet embrace of nearby hills and forests. Take a stroll with the ancient Romans along the remains of the Roman road past Stari Trg near Slovenj Gradec, once an important Roman outpost called Colatio, or to Rahtel’s peak with the best view of the town and the entire upper part of the Mislinja valley with its surrounding hills. Go on a bike ride across the Pohorje Mountains and around Mount St. Ursula, or chose the easier paved roads across the Mislinja valley. After a relaxing trip visit one of the rest stops with interesting cultural historical sites along the way back to the 750-year old town steeped in history, but with a modern and prospective feel.


Slovenj Gradec offers a modern cultural tourist beat, though it is full of medieval architecture and it bears a unique mark left by many families of craftsmen and artisans, some of whom are still active in the town and surrounding areas today. A short stroll through the town reveals many artisan workshops and display windows, where local craftsmen still continue with the traditions of their ancestors. The Perger family is one of them, with their ninth generation successfully keeping the secret of beekeeping, gingerbread, and candle making alive. Following the path of craftsmen leads you outside the city, on a cultural-ethnological trip through the area of Šmartno, Golavabuka, and Legen, which is based on the town’s and surrounding areas’ artisan tradition.

The medieval tradition of wood carving and baroque artistry developed into the contemporary artistic scene found at the Art Gallery Slovenj Gradec. The gallery also hosted the first major international fine art exhibition entitled Peace, Humanity, and Friendship. The exhibitions were sponsored by the United Nations and they had an important influence on the development of the city, which the UNO included among the cities with the title UN Messenger of Peace in 1989.

@Author - Uroš Raztresen
Slovenj Gradec, the birthplace of Hugo Wolf, and its strong connection with the famous composer helped create a series of successful musicians and sparked a special love for music that is felt at the city’s many jazz concerts for aficionados. Other genres and top domestic and foreign musicians are also celebrated at concerts held in the composer’s house of birth, as well as other cultural institutions and venues.

The oldest building in town is the Church of St. Elisabeth. In 1251 Berthold V of Andechs dedicated the parish church to his niece, St. Elisabeth of Hungary, the patron of the wretched poor and a figure devoted to doing good deeds. She even used her own funds to have a hospital built in Marburg, where the poorest patients could be treated. She died in 1231 at the early age of 24. Miracles were said to occur at her grave the next day after her burial, and so pope Gregory IX declared her a saint in 1235. Many legends of her good deeds and miracle work exist, such as the legend of the roses, which tells the story of how Elisabeth was once bringing bread to people in her care and she ran into her father-in-law, who asked her what she was carrying in her apron. Afraid he might forbid her from doing good deeds, she lied and said she was carrying roses. When she opened her apron, he indeed saw blooming fragrant roses in her apron in the middle of winter. This is why roses are Elisabeth’s defining mark, and she is often depicted with roses. Many archaeological sites in the area of what is today Slovenj Gradec attest to the city’s significance as an early settlement area, with a fortified castle standing here at the end of the 11th century; city rights were granted two centuries later in 1267.   

This year Slovenj Gradec is celebrating the 750th anniversary of receiving its city rights, and the townspeople are celebrating the event with a diverse festival programme under the title Long Live Slovenj Gradec! Vivat Windisgretz! A whole range of cultural events with a mix of traditional and modern elements will take place throughout the year, and the yearlong cultural program will take visitors through the city’s entire 750 years of history. The Carinthian Regional Museum organised an exhibition entitled My Town, My World, displaying 22 old postcards in one of the town’s most beautifully arranged medieval historic centres, where descriptions of important city landmarks are shown in window displays, and the museum organises free guided tours of the city centre every first Saturday of the month. 


The key event of the celebration takes place on June 17 and 18, when the modern town is transformed into the medieval Windisgretz with medieval groups, marketplaces, food, and drink. The marketplace offers visitors the opportunity to haggle and use medieval coins, as well as join craftsmen and artisans in their festivities, dance to medieval music, cheer for their champion knight in jousts, and eat at a medieval pub. The events following the town’s festival will this year be joined by the cultural programme of the Summer of Slovenj Gradec, which will bring even more diversity to the city streets with live music and activities for visitors of all ages. The height of the autumn celebration on September 16 will be a spectacular video projection accompanied with live music and theatre scenes, with the slogan Long Live Slovenj Gradec, Vivat Windisgretz!  


One of the better options of overnight stay is the Hostel Slovenj Gradec youth hostel at Ozare 18, which is also a member of the Hostelling International Slovenia. It is located next to a cycle lane and a footpath, close to the city centre of the 750-year old town, regarded by the experts as one of the most beautiful medieval town centres in the country.  



Javni zavod za turizem, šport, mladinske in socialne programe
SPOTUR Slovenj Gradec
Glavni trg 1
2380 Slovenj Gradec
Telefon: +386 2 88 462 83
E-naslov: info@spotur.si


No comments :

Post a Comment