The Roman necropolis of Šempeter and the Ancient Mithraic temples in Ptuj
Located in the village of Šempeter, this Roman Necropolis is one of Slovenia's most famous archaeological sites, which ranks among the finest memorials from the Roman era anywhere in Europe. The reliefs on the tombs of the Roman necropolis in Šempeter reveal the rich spiritual world of the Roman population and illustrate the clothes worn by the natives and Roman settlers, while the inscriptions tell us about the high offices they occupied in the nearby Roman town Celeia.
The city of Poetovio was the base-camp of Roman soldiers in the bordering province Panonia. The city had 40,000 inhabitants until it was plundered by the Huns in 450. Poetovio is known among the scholars of Roman history and religion because of a great quantity of preserved stone monuments (inscriptions, statues, stelae) dedicated to the Persian god Mithra. Find out more about the mysterious Mithraic religion by visiting with our guide the preserved Mithreum (sanctuary) and the Municipal Museum.
On the main square of the town stands the Orpheus Monument, a monumental marble stele with the carved story of Orpheus enchanting the beasts. The story of Orpheus might be read in an allegoric key, related to the journey and purification of the soul. Find out more on our excursion.
Ptuj is the center place of a ten-day-long carnival in the spring, an ancient Slavic pagan rite of spring and fertility, called Kurentovanje. Kurenti are “demonic” figures with teryfing masks, dressed in sheep skin. Organized in groups they go about the town making noise with their bells and wooden sticks, to symbolically scare off evil spirits and the winter. We will enter the museum in the Ptuj Castle where the masks are on display.
Next we shall visit the Gothic Basilica of Mary on Ptujska Gora which is recognised as the most outstanding gothic architecture in Slovenia, erected at the beguinning of the 15th century.
Žiče monastery was founded in the 12th century and was the first charterhouse outside France or Italy. The monastery also had one of the first pharmacies in the territory of nowadays Slovenia and a considerable library of manuscripts. The monastery was abolished in 1782 and is nowadays being gradually restored.
- Ancient Roman necropolis in Šempeter
- Ptuj Castle & Museum
- Orpheus Monument
- Mithraic temple
- Gothic Basilica of Mary on Ptujska Gora