Maribor (German Marburg; population 100,000) is the second largest city of Slovenia. It lies on the river Drave at the meeting point of the Pohorje mountain, the Drava valley, the Drava plain and the Kobansko and Slovenske gorice hill ranges. It is the largest city and the center of the Slovenian region of Styria. The city's coat of arms features a white pigeon flying downwards above a white castle with two towers and a portcullis on a red shield.
The city was first mentioned in the 13th century. Maribor was twice besieged by Turkish invaders, but the city remained under Habsburg control until the end of World War I, when Rudolf Maister organized a military operation which secured the city and the surrounding area for the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Before the war the city was populated by roughy equal numbers of Germans and Slovenians, but most of the city's capital and public life was in German hands. The surrounding area was populated almost exclusively by Slovenians, although many Germans lived in smaller towns like Ptuj. After the war, many Germans emigrated to Austria, but in the 1930s they still represented more than 25% of the population. In the late 1930s, German pro-nazi organizations were active in the city.
In 1941 the whole Yugoslav part of Styria was annexed by the Third Reich. Adolf Hitler visited the city and made a speech on the town house balcony, commanding his followers to "make this land German again". He was welcomed by a large mass of people, applauding his speech. The city was bombed by Allies several times during World War 2.
After the liberation in 1945 the city prospered into a major regional industrial and cultural center of Eastern Slovenia. After Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, the loss of the Yugoslav market severely strained the city's economy, resulting in record levels of unemployment. The situation has since improved.
Maribor hosts a university, established in 1976.
The oldest vine tree in the world, older than 400 years, grows in Maribor.
Every January, the skiing centre of Mariborsko Pohorje, situated on the outskirts of the city on the slopes of mount Pohorje, hosts women's slalom and giant slalom races for Ski World Cup known as Zlata lisica (The Golden Fox).