When I got off the train from Ljubljana, a strong wind was blowing dust through the air - the summer sun was not able to warm me up; a welcome respite from the heat when I carried my stuff to a hostel just across the Drava river. After dropping my luggage, I stopped at the footbridge, which allowed me good views of the white-and-red buildings of the old town of Ptuj, crowned by a big castle building on top of the hill. Once founded as a military colony by the Romans on the other side of the river, it became known as Poetovio, and is mentioned as such by Roman historian Tacitus in the first century. Once I was walking the narrow streets of the compact town, the yellow, green, red colours of the houses gave it a pretty face as well as a distinct medieval feel. I walked to the west, and found a cobble-stone street leading up the hill - straight to the castle. It was already early evening, and to my surprise, a door in the gate was still open. A platform inside offers unobstructed views of the old town below, the Drava river, as well as Lake Ptuj in the distance. I walked up to the castle buildings, found an even better viewpoint, and a cosy U-shaped courtyard.
Right outside the entrance, I took a shortcut leading straight back to the old town. The streets and alleys were empty, making it easy to imagine how these streets would have looked the same hundreds of years ago. When I hit the main street, I turned left, and walked to the tower dominating the skyline of Ptuj. It is the City Tower, originally a belfry, but later turned into a watchtower. It stands at the small triangular square of Slovenski Trg, the heart of Ptuj, and is surrounded by various interesting monuments and buildings. Old Roman tombstones adorn the outer walls of the tower, and a big slab of white marble stands right in front of it: Orpheus Monument. I was getting thirsty and looked for a shop, but it was too late: the few shops in town were closed, and I ended up having a drink at a place near the bus station instead. While doing so, rain finally started to fall from the sky that had grown increasingly dark. Where it seemed we were in for a night of rain, sunlight surprisingly started shining within minutes, creating a bright double rainbow over Ptuj. I hurried up to the old castle again, but when I reached there, and turned back to see the city, the rainbow had already disappeared. Instead, the red rooftops of Ptuj were not bathing in the light of a setting sun. I walked down, and watched sunset from the footbridge.
The next morning, I was out before sunrise. Clouds were covering the sky, were reflected in the waters of the river Drava that was now quiet; the old town of Ptuj seemed to be sandwiched between the clouds above and their reflection below. I sat at the river bank for a while, enjoying the view of the touch of light reaching the clouds and, eventually, also the buildings below. It was time to cross the bridge again, and wonder the winding streets of the old town of Ptuj. I first went to the Minorite Monastery - to my surprise, I found an open door and did not miss the opportunity to enter. Inside, the colonnaded courtyard had been filled by a platform for a concert. Next door, the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul had been rebuilt after it was destroyed by Allied bombing at the end of World War II. I walked through the town again, but where I had hoped to catch the special morning sunlight on the old buildings, the sky turned grey and dulled the colours of the medieval buildings. It was time to have breakfast, after which the sun managed to return, giving Ptuj back its colours.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ptuj (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ptuj.
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