Ptuj is a city in Eastern Slovenia on the Drava River. It is known for its historic buildings and its Kurentovanje festival.
Ptuj is one of the oldest town in Slovenia, with settlement dating back 2000 years. Its history reaches back to the Stone Age, but the city experienced its greatest flowering in the Roman period. The name originates in the times of Emperor Trajan, who granted the settlement city status and named it Colonia Ulpia Traiana Poetovio. Roman Poetovio developed into an important military, commercial, customs and administrative center. Forty thousand people lived in the Ptuj area in this period, a number never since reached. It was later burned by the Huns and occupied by the Avars and the Slavs. In the period of the Slav prince Pribina, it was incorporated into the Frankish state. Later, it became the property of the Salzburg archdiocese and experienced the Hungarian attacks. The city recovered and when city rights were granted, it was able to build a wall around the city. The first city statutes from 1376 provided the legal regulation of the city and contributed to its economic power. This declined under the pressure of Turkish attacks and major fires, floods, and epidemics.
Today, it is an important center of the lower Podravje region of Slovenia. It is a city of fairs, wine cellars and thermal springs.
By car, Ptuj can be reached from Maribor and the A1 highway by the A4 highway. There are also frequent bus and train connections between the two cities.
There are also bus and train connections to Ljubljana.
Eurobusways do a transfer to Ptuj, on the way between Budapest and Ljubljana [dead link].
You can see a regional bus timetable here [dead link].
- 1 Ptuj railway station.
- Orpheus Monument, Slovenski trg (in front of the town tower). An almost 5-m-high tombstone that has become the symbol of the town. The memorial is the biggest ever found in the Roman province of Upper Pannonia and the mythological scenes it depicts gave it its popular name - the Orpheus Memorial. In the Middle Ages, the stone was used to chain criminals to it, which severely damaged the inscription.
- Town Hall, Mestni trg. It was erected in 1907 on the site of Poskočil House, named after a very rich merchant of Slovene nationality, Poskočil. The Town Hall was built on the ground-plan of the former late Gothic building and according to plans of Max Ferstel, an architect from Graz, Austria. The new Town Hall, where the administration of the Town Municipality of Ptuj is still based, dominates the entire square with its dynamic architecture.
- Town Tower, Slovenski trg. The town tower with the Povoden Museum at the bottom, which a collection of stone memorials. It includes pieces of tombstones, urns, sacrifice altars, relief votive slabs and ashlars. Most memorials have been built into the eastern inner walls.
- Ptuj Regional Museum (Pokrajinski muzej Ptuj), ☏ . The biggest and most popular general museum in the Ptuj region. Its collections cover local prehistoric and antique sites (Roman Poetovio), the period of migrations of peoples, medieval and modern age monuments, and the area's rich folklore traditions. The museum spans several buildings and sites. You can pay individually for each site, or buy a ticket that will get you into multiple sites. Ticket 1, for all the buildings in Ptuj excluding the shrines, is child €3, senior €5, adult €6. Ticket 2, for all buildings and shrines, is child €4.50, senior €7.50, adult €9.
The various parts of the museum are:
- Dominican Monastery, Muzejski trg 1, ☏ . Apr 15 - Nov 1: daily 10:00-17:00. The monastery was first built in the 13th century and features a variety of architectural styles. Highlights include the vaulted ceiling of the cloister, artwork and the rich stucco façade. It is now part of the regional museum with displays of ancient coins, artifacts, tombstones and other stone-work. Child €2.50, senior €3, adult €4, discount if only seeing one collection; €10 for guided tour.
- Mihelic Gallery, Dravska ulica 4. Tu-F 10:00-16:00, Su 10:00-13:00. An art exhibition hall. Free.
- Mithras Shrine III, Ulica k mitreju. By appointment or obtain the keys from the neighbours of the temple. The biggest temple of Mithras was erected in the western area of Roman Poetovio (in what is today part of the Breg neighbourhood of Ptuj). The temple, built in the mid-3rd century, contains mainly sacrificial altars, with dedications of soldiers belonging to the Roman legions under Flavius Aprus. The temple consists of three sections, of which the central one is lowered. On the wall opposite the entrance is a fresco, a copy of the altar relief from the Mithras Shrine in Osterburken in Germany. The dedication stones show a variety of artistic representations and are full of symbols relating to the legend of Mithras. Child €0.50, adult €1; €10 for guided tour.
- Ptuj Grad (Ptuj Castle), Na gradu 1, ☏ . Winter: daily 10:00-17:00; summer: daily 09:00-18:00. Build on a steep hill overlooking the town, the castle is now part of the regional museum. It hosts a collection of items marking feudal culture from the 16th to the 20th century. Displays include a collection of musical instruments, medieval arms and period furnishings. One of the most interesting is the collection of traditional carnival masks from Ptuj area. Child €2.50, senior €3, adult €4, discount if only seeing one collection; €10 for guided tour.
Ptuj is known for fairs since Middle Ages, when fairs lasted for weeks. Nowadays the fairs are contracted to only 3 days a year - Jurijev sejem (23 April), Katarinin sejem (25 November) and Ožbaltov sejem (5 August).
- Carnival - Kurentovanje — Since 1960, Ptuj has been the stage for the annual traditional carnival event called Kurentovanje, the biggest organised carnival event in Slovenia. The membership in the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC) since 1991, has without any doubt helped the Ptuj carnival to distinguish itself from other carnivals and gain an international reputation. At the same time, the carnival has grown enriched by new carnival figures and concepts. If Kurentovanje used to be a one-day ethnographical-carnival event, it has grown into an eleven-day carnival festival of ethnographical, carnival and musical performances. Ptuj, traditional and carnival centre of Slovenia, combines Kurentovanje together with other carnivals or "fašenk" in neighbouring villages of Markovci, Cirkulane, Dornava, Videm, Cirkovci, Bukovci. The word Kurentovanje is derived from the traditional carnival mask Kurent or Korant, as it is sistematically called by traditionalists. The most prominent mask belongs to the so-called group of animal masks - furry masks. That means that its outfit consists of a fur coat made of different domestic animal skins (especially of sheep skin), of a chainbelt with five bells (previously, only one enormous bell), of a wooden club with a hedgehog skin at one end called "ježevka" to be carried in its hand. The former vegetative demon represents today an important identification symbol for a wider local community, region and even the state.
- Ožbaltov sejem (Oswald's fair) — In the old town of Ptuj happens once a year, on the 5th August (except if it is Sunday, then it happens on Monday, the 6th). It is very interesting and you can see (and buy) almost everything - traditional wooden products, traditional products made of honey, dried fruits, clothes, antiquities and many more (and more and more :)
Whatever you do, don't forget to bargain!
- Jurjev sejem (George’s Fair) —It opens the season for traditional fairs in Ptuj. It takes place on the streets and squares of the town on April 23. There are approximately 150 manufacturers and sellers from all over Slovenia that gather on this fair and offer a great variety of products.
On this day a Medieval market is also organized and it is a thing that shouldn't be missed out.
- Katarinin sejem (Catherine's Fair) — The last of three fairs, which take place on the streets and squares of the town. It happens on November 25 and there you can see a large number of sellers offering a variety of goods (also second hand goods).
- [formerly dead link] Park Hotel Ptuj, Presernova 38, Ptuj (on central street in the old town core of Ptuj: follow the green Park Hotel Ptuj signs to reach the hotel), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. The Castle of Ptuj is right above the hotel, which is surrounded by Soncni park (the Sunny Park), and by two true architectural gems, originating from the 13th and 14th centuries: the former Dominican Monastery and the lovely Mali Grad (Little Castle), which houses the town's library. The hotel rooms provide views of the Church of St. George, and of the Haloze Hills. Rooms (singles, doubles and twins available) include a mini bar, safe, television, telephone, internet and air conditioning (the latter in 4 rooms). A buffet-style breakfast is included in the price, while lunch and dinner can be had in nearby restaurants. Secure parking available. €47 - 126.
- Hotel Mitra, Presernova ulica 6, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Renovated hotel in the centre of old town.
- Grand Hotel Primus, Terme Ptuj d.o.o., Pot v toplice 9 (at Thermal Park (Terme Ptuj) and near Golf playground), ☏ . Named after Mark Antonius Primus, who was an important person in the Roman era of Ptuj. It is a 4-star hotel with 250 beds that is near Thermal Park. There will be also a wellness center, pools, saunas etc.
- Ptuj's Campground. Thermal Park (Terme Ptuj) has its own 4-star camp. It is near the indoor and outdoor pools with thermal water and a tennis centre with 8 tennis courts. It is open year-round. The campground has 120 camp spots and the possibility of renting cottages with modern facilities. The campground enables locating trailers and tents on a marked and settled space under tree shadows, surrounded by green. Camp guests can also use Thermal Park pools and saunas at no additional cost. Over-night stay: Customers who arrive after 18:00 and leave the following morning by 09:00, pay only for an over-night stay (no use of the swimming pools).
Ptujska Gora is a small village 15 km southwest of Ptuj with a church dating from the 15th century noted for its Gothic art. It is also provides excellent views of the Drava flatlands and Haloze hills and the spot is popular with hikers and cylists.