This December Maribor in Slovenia will start to glow in festive atmosphere with the switching on of the Fairy’s Ball Festive Lights throughout the old town. The Colourful December festival offers a rich event programme including numerous art productions and concerts in a number of cultural institutions and churches, street performances and open air music concerts of popular artists, a lively children’s programme, festive fairs and the biggest live nativity scenes in Slovenia. The Festival’s highlight is the popular New Year’s Eve Celebration in the Maribor’s old town core with the top Slovenian ensembles and soloists and a large midnight fireworks show. Check out the programme in full below…
Colourful December 2010 Programme:
3rd December: the festive switching on of the holiday lights
3rd – 5th December: St Nicholas Fair
11th – 25th December: a Christmas – New Year Fair
10th – 30th December: a Colourful December program for children
20th – 30th December: street performances
25th December: a Christmas concert
28th – 30th December: concerts by Slovenian music stars
31st December: a big open-air New Year’s Eve celebration with the best Slovenian ensembles and soloists, as well as a firework display at midnight
There are so many reasons to visit Slovenia and this September there are some fantastic events taking place which will not fail to lure you to this bountiful Balkan land. First up is the Maribor Music Festival which is taking place between the 3rd and 12th of September. The festival offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a traditional international festival of chamber music against the historic backdrop of Slovenia’s second city, Maribor.
Comprising 17 main concerts together with several accompanying events, the festival will feature performances of masters such as Dvorak, Beethoven and Rachmaninov, as well as world premieres written for the event. They will take place in some of Maribor’s most impressive venues, such as its 12th century Gothic-style cathedral and Maribor Castle, which was first mentioned in the 1100s. Visit www.festivalmaribor.si for more details.
Next up is Bohinj Cow Ball! The Kravji Bal or Cow Ball takes place on 19 September at picturesque Lake Bohinj in the heart of the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park, and celebrates the return of the cattle to the valley after a long summer pasture. Cows are decorated with wreaths and bells and paraded through the now dry Govic waterfall accompanied by herdsmen, dairy maids and cheese-makers; stalls sell wicker work, wooden products and herdsmen’s cheese. Plus there’s traditional entertainment with folk music, dancing, sling shooting, horse-shoe casting and log sawing.
With lakes, mountains, picturesque coastal towns and a buzzing capital city, there really is something for everyone in Slovenia! For more information about this Balkan gem visit Slovenia.info
The Old Vine Festival, held in Maribor and the surrounding winegrowing regions takes place between the 18th and 26th of September 2010. The festival honours the city’s 440-year-old vine (of which there is a permanent, all-year exhibition, where visitors can learn about the vine) officially the oldest in the world. The festival itself is a celebration of local food, wine and folk music. However, the most significant event is the traditional grape-gathering ceremony which takes place on the final day of the festival.
The events take place on Grajski Trg and Glavni Trg (main town squares), around the old Lent district of the city and on the surrounding wine roads. Here you can purchase fresh regional produce from the street displays. You will find all manner of local produce on offer, including pumpkin seed oil, potted plants, flowers and fruit. Plus you will have the change to taste traditional Slovenian recipes cooked up in cauldrons by local chefs.
I would normally shy away from discussing all things sport related (certainly football related) but last week I was invited to The Colonies pub in Victoria, London to celebrate the launch of Slovenia’s goals for hols promotion. Slovenia’s World Cup footballers have set a goal of attracting thousands of British fans with the kick-off of a holiday giveaway campaign.
Drawn in the same tournament group as England, the plucky Slovenian squad wants to encourage British holidaymakers to head for their home country in this unique promotion. Travellers will be given back part of the cost of their planned trip as Slovenia progress in South Africa – culminating in a full refund if the side carries off the trophy.
Under the Slovenia… Bet You’ll Love It campaign, travellers booking Slovenia holidays between 10 March and 10 June with participating holiday companies and travelling before June 2011 qualify for the cash-back offer. Should Slovenia reach the quarter finals, those with qualifying bookings get back 25 per cent of the cost of their holiday. If the team gets to the semi-finals, a 50 per cent refund is paid. Should the Slovenia team win the World Cup final the full cost of the holiday is paid back!
Captained by West Bromwich Albion midfielder Robert Koren, Slovenia have been drawn in the tournament’s Group C, together with England, USA and Algeria. Slovenia’s opening match is against Algeria on 13 June and they play England on 23 June.
There are plenty of events taking place to lure you to Slovenia this year! Check out a schedule for this spring:
21st January – 4th April 2010
Pablo Picasso: Bullfights. Myth. Eros
This Ljubljana exhibition of Picasso’s work brings together 11 series of prints, including a selection of prints from the Suite Vollard series that art critics consider to be one of the 20th century’s most important print series. Bullfights, myths and Eros are recurrent themes in these prints. An accompanying programme of workshops, lectures and film screenings will run alongside the exhibition at Mestna Galerija Ljubljana. www.picasso-clave.si
6th – 16th February 2010 50th Annual Kurentovanje Festival, Ptuj
This annual takes place in Slovenia’s oldest city, Ptuj, each spring. Kurenti are figures dressed in sheepskin who go around the town wearing masks, a long red tongue, cow bells, multi-coloured ribbons and sometimes feathers and horns. This is one of Slovenia’s most famous carnivals, now in its fiftieth year, which attracts over 100,000 visitors each year. During the festival, Ptuj is alive with music and dancing, competitions and events, plus opportunities to sample local wines and traditional ‘Ptuj chicken’. www.kurentovanje.net
12th March 2010
Pruning of the Old Vine
The pruning of the official world’s oldest vine in Maribor is a ceremonious occasion each spring. The town’s vinedresser carries out the pruning and the vine’s scions are then presented by the Mayor of Maribor to selected representatives of other wine growing regions as a sign of friendship and co-operation. www.maribor-pohorje.si
18th – 21st March 2010
Ski Jumping and Ski Flying World Cup Final
Planica, an alpine valley in the northwest of Slovenia is famous for its ski jumping, being the first place for a jump of over 100 metres to be registered and where the current World Record of 239 metres was set in 2005.
From 18th March, spectators can witness some of the world’s top ski jumpers take on the jump at Planica. Traditionally, around 1,500 of the crowd come armed with accordions to play Planica’s famous theme song.
Standing tickets cost from €3 per child / €10 per adult and seated tickets start from €30.
For further information and ticket reservations visit www.planica.si
3rd April 2010
World Book Day
World Book Day marks the official start of Ljubljana’s year-long tenure as the UNESCO World Book Capital. Ljubljana is the tenth city to boast this distinguished title and a series of book-related events will take place in the city throughout the year, marking the honour. www.visitljubljana.si
This is just a selection of the events taking place around Slovenia during 2010. For full listings and further event details, see www.Slovenia.info.
Several of Slovenia’s ski resorts have undergone developments for the 2010 season, offering skiers and snowboarders new facilities and greater access to the country’s slopes. The new ski piste linking Slovenia’s Kanin ski resort with the Italian resort of Sella Nevea had its official opening in December 2009, creating the first international ski area in the region. This resort features a new aerial lift and ski run, providing a wider choice of slopes for winter sports enthusiasts. A single lift pass gives skiers and snowboarders access to the pistes on both the Slovenian and Italian sides of the border. Daily lift passes for Kanin-Sella Nevea area start from €24 per adult and €15 per child.
Last December also saw the opening of a new gondola lift at Maribor Pohorje, Slovenia’s largest ski area, situated in the northeast of the country. The new lift runz from the foot to the summit of the Pohorje Mountain in six minutes, with a capacity of 1,000 people per hour. This is double the capacity of the previous lift.
Furthermore, 0ne of Slovenia’s most famous resorts, Kranjska Gora, recently opened a children’s outdoor play area. A new magic carpet lift has been installed to transport young skiers safely. The area is open to all children and is free of charge.
While skiers and snowboarders looking for an adrenalin thrill should head to the new snow park at the Cerkno Resort in northwest Slovenia. The Cerkno Snow Park is aimed at snowboarders and acrobatic skiers and snowboarders, although freestyle skiing instructors will available to teach beginners.
Slovenia has over 280 kilometres of ski runs offering downhill skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and cross-country skiing. Some resorts also offer snowmobile excursions, dogsled rides and horse-drawn sleigh rides.