If you arrive by train the sombre and striking monument in Trg Borisa Kidrica may be the first sight you see in the city as this square is directly opposite the train station which, in fact, forms one side of the square. It’s an attractive square with plenty of grassy areas, well kept flowerbeds and plenty of seats so you can sit down and watch the world go by for a while.
There are a couple of bars and a fantastic bakery on one side of the square (on the right as you face the train station) or you could buy some fruit from the excellent stall that stands in front of the square as you look with the station behind you. There’s also a bread kiosk where you could by snacks for a picnic lunch on the square or for supplies for a train journey.
Whichever you choose you should step across and have a look at the monument first. It was erected in 1962 and designed by Stojan Batica. It takes the form of a group of slightly abstract figures holding up poles on which is threaded a huge piece of stone into which the face of Kidric is sculpted. It’s a dark and intensely serious piece but clearly fitting for the subject and the time.
Who was Boris Kidric I hear you ask? He was a Slovenian communist (he became leader of the Slovenian Communist Party in 1937) who helped to organise the Partisan struggle in the years between 1941 and 1945. He did pretty well for himself in Tito’s government, becoming Finance Minister in 1946, a post he held until his death in 1953. After he died, the eastern Slovenian town of Strnisce (missing vital carons on the second S and C) was renamed Kidricevo (missing the caron on the C) in his honour. There is a more traditional monument - a statue of him – in Ljubljana.
The train station was designed by Slovene architect Milan Cernigoj and you may see a more of his work around the city.He was born in Tolmin and died in Maribor in 1978. I love the simple clock tower on this low rise building which is constructed from white stone but sadly people often don’t notice it because their attention is drawn to the locomotive on display outside the station instead. Lots of train stations in Slovenia have an old locomotive on display outside and this one was built in 1903 and used until the mid 1970s.
You probably wouldn’t make a beeline for this square but if you are nearby it’s a nice place for a rest and if you arrive by train at least you now know what that curious monument is!