In Slovene "trg" means "square" or "place", the equivalent of a Spanish "plaza" or an Italian "piazza"; it’s pronounced "turg".
Rotovški trg (in Slovene the second word of a name is not capitalised) is basically the "town hall square" although the "front" of the old town hall is actually on the more impressive Glavni trg ("Main square" – except that, really, Trg Svobode, or "Liberty Square" is the biggest and most central of Maribor’s many squares). The name derives from the old German name Rathaushof, literally the courtyard of the town hall and this eventually morphed into the Slovene Rotovški. The first town hall was built in 1515 and before this time this area was the site of a market, sometimes referred to as the "Mehlplatz", the "flour market". The courtyard of the town hall, now known as Rotovški trg was used from time to time in the eighteenth century as a place for bull-fighting!
In the geography of Maribor, Rotovški trg links Glavni trg with Slomsek trg, which is where you’ll find Maribor’s cathedral and the impressive main post office. It’s pedestrian only except for access and unless you’re taking a short cut you’d be pretty unlikely to need to be in Rotovški trg at all. However, because it links two squares that tourists do visit, and especially because of the enticing vaulted passageway that links Glavni trg with Rotovski trg, many visitors do stray into the square to have a look.
At the Glavni trg end of the square, the rear of the town hall, the architecture is quite interesting with a two floors of arcaded walkway. At the other end of the square is the handsome Neobaroque building of the "Pioneer’s Library" with its twin balconies.
In the cellar of the town hall is the restaurant "Toti rotovž thanks to a less than glowing mention in Lonely Planet we’ve never eaten here. Apparently the restaurant boasts an eclectic international menu which doesn’t work too well. If you are looking for somewhere good to eat in this part of town I can make a couple of suggestions. For special occasions try Rožmarin which serves modern Mediterranean food; it’s one of Maribor’s most stylish restaurants and its food is excellent. Alternatively, for cheap eats head to Cevapcicarna Hadzija which is in the street that runs parallel to Rotovški trg and runs off Glavni trg north towards Slomsek trg; this place is a cosy little place serving authentic Bosnian cevapcici (spicy little sausages made of minced veal served in a special bread bun). It’s not all bad news, though, because Toti rotovž does have an outdoor summer terrace in the square and you can just have a drink there if you want, and not feel obliged to eat.
In guidebooks much is made of Maribor’s Puppet Theatre but this is another place I have yet to visit; I am sorry to say that in the three years I have been part-time resident in Maribor, I have never been able to coincide a stay with a performance. However, I do know that it’s very highly regarded and stages mostly entertainment for children; it is known for adapting classic and modern stories from all over the world to make them work as puppet shows. An international festival is held over July, August and September every year and many of the festival performances take place in the open air in the square.
So far I’ve not been able to give any compelling reasons to persuade anyone to make a point of seeing Rotovški trg; the truth is there aren’t any. Maybe you’re looking for somewhere to access the internet and think of using the library? Yes, that’s possible. You could try that but there aren’t many terminals and you’d probably be directed to the internet café on Glavni trg; if that happens, head instead for the one in the Narodni dom (standing on Glavni trg with the town hall behind you, turn left, walk past Elektro Maribor and the line of bus stops and turn left at the next corner. The building across the road is the Narodni dom, an art space that also has an internet café, the cheapest in Maribor).
The "Top Five Things about Rotovški trg":
1. Sometimes you get people playing didgeridoos in the archway between Glavni trg and Rotovški trg. That’s pretty cool.
2. As you get to the northern end of Rotovški trg you can catch the delicious aromas emanating from the (primarily) seafood restaurant Novi Svet Pri Stolnici on Slomsek trg.
3. If it’s raining or snowing you can get some temporary shelter by walking under the arcade rather than getting wet going by any other route.
4. If you’re around on a Saturday you might be able to see some wedding groups posing for photographs.
5. It’s quite nice to look at (but there are many more interesting things to see in Maribor)