Ptuj: the Oldest City in Slovenia

The city of Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia, the city is a museum.

Ptuj is a small town, like the whole of Slovenia, with only 23,000 inhabitants. But he has the reputation of being the oldest in Slovenia. Already 2100 - 1750 BC there was a large settlement here. It was called Poetovia and was part of the Great Amber Route, which, according to Herodotus’ description, connected the Baltic states with Oglei.

Orpheus monument and St.George church

Then Poetovia was part of the state of the Tauriscans and Noricans, and then, in 15 BC, the city became part of the Roman Empire. In 97 Poetovia received city status and became the one of the largest settlements in Roman Empire. It was here that the largest legions of Rome were based, the great XIII Double, created by Julius Caesar. In the 3rd century, at least 30,000 inhabitants lived here (in London - 15,000, in Vienna - 20,000). After the fall of the Roman Empire, Poetovia was constantly attacked by barbarians, gradually falling into decay.

View of Ptuj from the opposite bank of Drava river

In the 9th century, the region came under the rule of the Salzburg bishops, and the first fortifications appeared on the left bank of the Drava. The city is growing and being built. 1555 - Ptuj, in German, Pettav, is already under German rule.

In the 18th century, life here came to a standstill again. A new trade route Ljubljana - Maribor appeared, which bypassed Ptuj. Even the railway, built in 1860 through Maribor, Vienna, and Trieste, did not save the situation.

Another flourishing of the city began after the World War Two. Ptuj is unique for its buildings, monuments and the famous carnival. Ptuj is a wine-making city. The oldest cellar in Ptuj is located in the Minorite monastery. The Minorite monastery, built in the 13th century, was rebuilt at the end of the 17th century in the Baroque style: the Summer refectory and the monastery library are interesting.

The main attraction of Ptuj is Ptujski Grad - a castle that stands, as it should, on a hill. The construction of defensive structures dates back to the 9th - 10th centuries. Gradually the city was built around them. From the ancient walls there is a beautiful view of the city roofs, the Drava River, and Lake Ptuj.

Ptuj - Tours in Slovenia

View from Ptuj castle

The oldest monument in the city is the Monument to Orpheus, which has been preserved in its original form since the 2nd century. This is the tombstone of the mayor of Poetovia, Aurelius Verus, 5 meters high. On white marble is an image of a scene from the myth of Orpheus mourning his Eurydice. In the Middle Ages, this stele served as a pillory for criminals who were tied to iron rings at the bottom. In 2008, the Monument received the status of a national cultural heritage.

Dominican monastery in Ptuj

The most valuable and richest monument of Ptuj is the Church of St. George on Slovenska Square from the 12th century with a statue from the 14th century: St. George Slaying the Dragon. The church amazes with its magnificent interior design and Gothic and Baroque architecture.

There is also a Small Castle under Castle Hill, information about which can be found already in the 13th century. At one time it was used for housing, so the appearance is of a later date, already from the 16th century. The only one of the six towers that survived is Dravskaya, built in 1555. Initially, it was without a roof with a special platform at the top for cannons. The tower was used to measure water levels during floods in 1576 and 1857.

Ptuj is also famous for its Kurentovanje carnival, a folk holiday in honor of spring and the expulsion of winter. The first carnival took place on February 27, 1960, and since then the Kurentovaniya carnival has been one of the best in the world. By the way, Kurentovaniye is a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage site.

Small mansions, medieval and baroque architecture, narrow streets with steep stairs. All of this and much more is the city of Ptuj, Poetovia, Pettav, which has survived all historical eras.