Maribor is the capital of Lower Styria and is the economic, administrative, educational, and cultural centre of eastern Slovenia. First mentioned in 1164, Maribor grew into a town in 1254. It was under Habsburg rule until 1918, when Rudolf Maister secured the city for the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. However, numerous prehistoric excavations have been discovered dating back to prehistoric times. Today, Maribor is a very vibrant city and a popular tourist destination. Its charming Old Town is alive with cafes and restaurants, its beautiful architecture steeped in history on the banks of Drava River. Besides its strong winemaking tradition, which includes an obligatory visit to the 400-year-old grapevine and the Vinag Wine Cellar, Maribor’s lovely squares feature stunning buildings like the Town Hall, built in 1515, the white marble Plague Column, dating back to 1743, and the bell tower at the Maribor Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The riverside district of Lent also hosts a major summer arts festival. Maribor is a perfect base for winter holidays, as it lies near the Maribor Pohorje, famous for its ski resorts. In warmer months, Maribor is an excellent starting point for exploring the rest of eastern Slovenia.