The Judgement Tower is a medieval defence tower, characterized by a cylindrical shape, located on the bank of the river Drava, on the so-called Lent, in the very centre of Maribor. It is the oldest part of Maribor's city walls, which once protected the city.
Today, the Judgement Tower is considered a cultural and historical monument, where, in the framework of the public institution Narodni dom Maribor, the cultural events are taking place, including the Lent Festival or the DOKUDOC International Documentary Film Festival.
The Judgement Tower was built in 1310. Its purpose was to fortify and protect the south-western part of the city from unwanted intruders. In the following centuries it was rebuilt several times: its look changed for the first time in 1540, when it was rebuilt into a fortress form. In the 17th century it was reshaped in Renaissance style. The present look originates from 19th century, from 1830. In 1937, the tower was partially burnt down, but in the 1950’s it was restored and given its present appearance.
Due to its shape, the Judgement Tower is also known as the Round Tower, and due to the vicinity of the Minorite Monastery also as the Monastic Tower. In the future, the revitalization of the whole old city centre is planned: the Judgment Tower is to become an international centre for the cultural and creative industries, while also serving as scenery for performing medieval stories and legends, such as a medieval marketplace or medieval trials.
Namely, the Judgement Tower was named after the judgments that were passed there. It is also connected with the times of witchcraft processes, with judgments against women who were convicted as witches. However, the death penalties were never executed there.
Today, the Judgement Tower, its cozy cafe, is a venue of cultural and social events, concerts of various genres from chansons to ethno and chamber music, multimedia performances, exhibitions, seminars. Its surface covers 132 m², the number of seats is 150.
It is one of the most beautiful, but also the most intimate cultural venue of the Summer Lent Festival, its concerts, conceptually varied, but mostly jazz, which do not address the wider public, but the music connoisseurs. It is also the main venue of the DOKUDOC International Documentary Film Festival.
In 2012, when the city of Maribor was titled the Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012, Ulay – a German conceptual artist, now living in Slovenia, one of the key figures of European art performance, together with the French art collective Société Réaliste, exhibited in the Judgement Tower the installation entitled “Whose water is it”, which dealt with the dualism of European culture, that separates matter from the soul and good from the evil and, more specifically, addressed the issues of accessibility of natural resources, especially water.