Growth and expansion of Slovenska Bistrica arose from several intensive trades and handcrafts, which were very numerous in this area, to the point that they overgrew into industrial production. The Vienna–Trieste road built in the time of reign of Emperor Charles VI contributed to even quicker development. Early 19th century saw the emergence of industry of forged copper products and gradually moved to other copper, brass and bronze products. Industrial development played a great role in expansion of the town.
Centre of art and crafts
Centre of art and crafts Slovenska Bistrica was established in 2003 in the framework of the Phare cross-border cooperation programme, active as a section of the Majolika association. It was successfully managed by the social enterprise Cooperation cooperative and members of the Consortium of handcraft centres of Slovenia until 2018. The role of the centre is to protect and represent pottery cultural heritage and produce replicas of objects in the framework of the »From grandma’s kitchen and grandpa’s workshop« programme. Their products are made by hand, using traditional techniques and technology. The centre also organises workshops and exhibitions of modern pottery.
The centre promotes living cultural heritage, connects craftsmen, and raises public awareness on importance of preservation and development of cultural heritage.
Slovenska Bistrica Manor
The manor located in the centre of the town is now home to the cultural centre which, along with the town park, represents a first grade monument unit. The Bistrica manor is first mentioned in written sources in 1313. The manor was in regional ownership and passed into private ownership after being bought by the aristocratic family Vetter von der Lilie in 1578. Before 17th century expired, it became property of the Wildenstein counts, while its last private owners, the Attems counts who purchased the manor in 1717, remained its owners until 1945.
The manor was entirely renovated in 1985 and can be viewed with a guide. It houses several permanent collections and has a gallery with temporary exhibitions. The Knight’s Hall adorned with wall frescos, art salons and wedding hall are all opened for visits. The manor also hosts several cultural events including the now traditional evenings in Slovenska Bistrica that take place on the internal courtyard. The varied cultural programme attracts different types of visitors, recently including children, as the manor nowadays organises series of creative learning workshops on the history of the manor.
The park is a regional cultural monument and was built in the second half of the 16th century. The original geometric design of the park has by now been completely modified: with the main axe with the small Gabarska Street being the only remaining original feature, while the remaining surface of the park remains designed in free landscape style. Despite modifications and degradation the remaining park, the park is nevertheless the true portray of the former design of the garden. The Vetter counts planted the park in the French style, while the Wildenstein counts completed it to the final appearance. The Park measurements are 85 meters width and over 240 meters in length. Only a quarter of the park has been preserved until today, along with statues of Mercury and Hercules, and the late 17th century stone statuettes of the four seasons. The park underwent thorough renovations in 1990s, including renovation of previously torn down walls. Today the Community health centre, elementary school, a sports hall and a new road are located on the surface of the former park.
The Grassel tower – former defence tower, once part of the city wall, stands in proximity of the manor. The Grassels were members of lower aristocracy that used to be lords of smaller tenants. Anton Grassel appears in records in 1455 as builder of the manor and owner of the tower. The exposed location of the tower in comparison to the city wall leads to believe that the tower was built in 16th century.
Tower represents exceptionally well preserved medieval building which has not undergone significant changes. In 1710, the building with the attached Gromberg property was purchased by count Attems, who had it re-designed into a wheat storage building. The north-eastern tower was part of what is today the manor building: the south-western building, also known as the Grassel tower (or wheat tower, gunpowder tower), has been renovated. Following longer renovation works in 2004, the three storey tower is an area for exhibitions.