Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenska Bistrica Castle
Slovenska Bistrica Castle is located centrally in the town, and is an example of Slovenia’s large lowland castles. Its earliest documented mention is in 1313. It was first owned by the Duchy of Styria; however in 1578 it was sold into private possession. In 1717 it was bought by the then Count Attems whose descendants retained ownership until 1945. After the Second World War the castle became a national property. Renovations began in 1985 lasted over 20 years and are now entirely complete. Once a medieval fort surrounded by a wall, it was after many historical renovations transformed into a large baroque manor which indicates the interdependence between the town and the castle, and also between successful development and wealthy owners. Today the castle is the main cultural centre of the town and municipality, and was granted the status of a cultural monument of national importance in 1999.
Lately the Exhibition room in the Bistrica castle has been gaining importance. Most of the exhibited collections have to do with the area between Pohorje and Haloze which includes the Slovenska Bistrica Municipality. Apart from regular exhibitions different cultural events take place in the castle throughout the year. We must mention Starobistiški večeri (Old Bistrica Evenings) which take place in June and create a unique atmosphere in the inner yard, and Praznično grajsko mesto (Holiday castle town) at the beginning of December when the outer castle yard with its stands offers plenty of opportunities for amusement, both for children and adults.
Apart from concerts, folklore shows, theatre plays, lectures and book presentations the castle also hosts different exhibitions (artistic work, photographs, ceramics, statuary, etc.). It is also possible for different organisations to rent the castle’s facilities for their arrangements.
Inside the castle you can find the shop “Lodn” which is furnished with the replicas of trade equipment from Northeast Slovenia from the previous century. You can buy quality craft products which come with quality certificates. All of us working here wish for you to get to know the Bistrica Castle as well, regardless of the fact that there is practically no old castle equipment left. Many artefacts that used to be inside the castle are now somewhere else which is why the castle is furnished with new pieces.
The municipality of Slovenska Bistrica with its 25,000 inhabitants represents one of the largest municipalities in Slovenia. The town Slovenska Bistrica was built on the remains of the Roman settlement Civitas Negotiana and represents the centre of the municipality. It is situated at the crossroads of three towns: Maribor, Celje and Ptuj, and prides itself in having a long history. Already around 1300 a wall was raised around the settlement and at the beginning of the 14th century it received town privileges.The more noteworthy development of the town and also the municipality existing today started with the road between Vienna and Trieste. At a later point a railway track was built outside the town’s area which slowed down the progress significantly.
The Slovenska Bistrica municipality includes several natural areas: the Polskava Valley, the Ložnica valley, Pohorje and the area around the town itself. The region is extremely heterogeneous, easy to explore, economically interesting and with many tourist opportunities. The town of Slovenska Bistrica and therefore also the municipality have a perfect geographical position; the town is situated next to the motorway between Ljubljana and Maribor, and the railway station and the Maribor airport are in the close vicinity. There is a large amount of natural sights, cultural and historical monuments in the area that already offer the opportunity for a good development of tourist activity. Counting only the sights under protection ordinance, there are over 500 natural and cultural monuments. Among the most important ones in the town area are certainly the Slovenska Bistrica Castle, the castle park with its famous beech avenue, the ruins of the city wall with the preserved NW and SE corner pillars, the church of St. Joseph as an example of a special type of church architecture from late Baroque called sladkogorski tip, and both town churches. The magnificent natural sights in the municipality include the Pohorje Ridge with its famous peat bogs and bogs with characteristic flora and fauna, the Black Lake on Pohorje, a distinctive natural monument, and Marolt fir tree, a dendrological monument.
The cultural monuments worth mentioning are the well-known Tinje fort sights, the most prominent one being the Ančnikova fort in Jurišna vas on Pohorje, the archeological sites in Velenik, the ruins of the Gromberg Castle and more. The number of great cultural monuments is so big it would be nearly impossible to present them in a guide. The processing industry is the prevailing industry in the area and represents two thirds of the municipality’s economy (the dominant industries are the wood processing industry, the production of metal products, namely aluminium, and the food processing industry). The main companies in the municipality are Impol, Tovarna olja Gea (Gea Oils), Aha Emmi, Granit, Svit, etc. There are around 800 successful craftsmen in the area as well. Apart from all this, the Slovenska Bistrica Municipality prides itself in rich forests, vineyards and fruit cultivation, all of which directs the future of the municipality’s development. Bigger towns in the municipality are Spodnja Polskava, Zgornja Polskava, Pragersko and Tinje, Šmartno and Kebelj on Pohorje.