Maribor, the Styrian capital of Slovenia, is not just a home to the oldest vine in the world but is also a home to the largest contemporary floor mosaic in Slovenia. Both of those, the oldest vine and the largest floor mosaic, are not as incompatible as it might seem on the first sight. In fact, in Maribor, the vine and mosaic are in perfect harmony as they are two astonishing features jointly forming the face and character of the same house – the Old Vine House.
The Old Vine House, the 16th Century long solid two-storey old town house, is situated near the serene Drava River which has been for centuries giving life to the oldest vine growing in the front of the house. The Drava, thus, deserved an honourable depiction with an ornamental mosaic that praises the river’s nutritional gift to the precious Maribor’s vine. The images of the mosaic reflect the Maribor’s historical turning points and the way of life with a focus on the river and the oldest vine which is an indisputable pride of this north-eastern Slovenian city marked with rich wine tradition.
Coloured pieces of stone fixed to a base draw on over 5 thousand years of tradition of making ornamental and figurative images. In the case of the Old Vine House mosaic, we are talking about an incredible number of more than one million stone pieces that stretch over the whole length of the house and make, with its 35 meters in length, the largest project of this kind in Slovenia. The author, Igor Orešič, was putting the mosaic together for a year and a half. The total weight of the stones, with each stone 1x1x1 cm in size, amounts together to equal more than one tonne.
Added to the House’s interior in 2015, the flow of the mosaic parallels the flow of the Drava River and along the way relates the history of Maribor through the implication of symbols, names, and important names. For example, the 1254 marks the time of the first written mention of Maribor as a city. The symbols, though, tell diverse stories from Maribor’s past and present, as well as about Maribor’s and Slovenia’s distinctive features like the three wine knight orders in Slovenia, vine leaf and grapes, the glass that symbolises the glass factories of Pohorje, the rafting tradition on the Drava River, the first school for wine-growing, the sword and moustache of Rudolf Maister, to point out just a few of the 25 symbols that make for a beautiful interweaving of the past, present and future of the Styrian capital of Slovenia.
A curious eye can also spot golden pieces that represent the gold actually found in the bypassing Drava river. And the gold also a symbol of Maribor’s rich history and traditions. Thus, the visit to the Old Vine House is highly recommended to any congress or business guest to Maribor who will be amazed by this heavy weight art piece built of million pieces. In addition, the Old Vine House’s mosaic makes for a beautiful artistic decoration when one organises an event in this special venue.