Brežice In Your Pocket

Throughout its long turbulent history Brežice has always had something of a border town feel to it, which has been both a benefit and a drawback for those who have called it home. Thanks to its strategic position along the so-called Military Frontier against the Ottomans, the Austrian empire took great pains to secure and invest in the town - most notably with the construction of the massive defensive castle that still remains in excellent condition today and houses both the Posavje Regional Museum and the incomparable Knight's Hall, which is blanketed in 17th century Baroque murals and frescoes, and is the symbolic home of the annual SEVIQC Brežice Festival of Early Classical Music.

However, the border has also lead to certain hardships, first at the hands of the Turks, then the Germans during both World Wars, and finally after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. While Zagreb and its million plus inhabitants are less than 30km away and literally within sight of Brežice's higher points, the Schengen border that sits in between still restricts the free flow of people in both directions, despite Croatia's accession to the EU in 2013.

Nature too has treated the town with fickle hands. While the name Brežice is derived from the Slovene word 'breg', meaning (river) bank - which itself was taken from the original German name for the city, Rein - the Sava river long ago changed course and left the old town and the formerly waterfront buildings along the west side of Cesta Prvih Borcev looking peculiarly high and dry.

But Mother Nature has also been quite generous with the area, blessing it with no less than three unique sites: the Natura 2000 protected Jovsi and Dobrava nature reserve; the flint stone wine cellars, or repnice, of Bizeljsko; and the thermal spring at Čatež, around which the Terme Čatež resort was built and has grown into Slovenia's largest spa and wellness centre - attracting guests from all across Europe and alone accounting for the majority of accommodation in the entire Posavje region. All in all, Brežice offers visitors a wealth of historical, natural and modern sights that simply cannot be found anywhere else.
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