SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

Hohnjec Viktor, carpenter and Donko Franc, blacksmith

A blacksmith and carpenter tool near the names of the deceased craftsmans symbolize the executive will, which coordinate right and left hand. These symbols concern energy and moral determination, on which practical execution depends on. Both are professional symbols. Here buried Hohnjec, carpenter and blacksmith Donko represent two old crafts, present in the area of the city for millenniums. 

Wood processing has been present since the time of the first inhabitants of the area surrounding the city around 7000 thousand years ago. Blacksmith is from metal ages. In the 13. Century, when economy, based on goods exchange was turning into a monetary economy, Maribor gained the status of a market, since feudal masters wished to concentrate Arts and Crafts at certain points. Outside the market, craft works were forbidden with the exception of tailors and shoemakers. Until mid-13th century, the importance of market grew so much that Maribor received the status of a town. At the end of 13.century, craftsmen in Maribor were organized in guilds. In the middle of the 15. Century Maribor was successful and a developing city.

But in the second half of the century, development has been stopped for over two centuries. This was caused by several factors, peasant uprisings, Styria noble conspiracies and especially Turkish invasions. The land around Maribor was at the end of the 15. Century in ashes, all trade had stalled. Even worse were the consequences in year 1532, when at least hundred thousand soldiers of Sultan Suleiman II passed river Drava near Maribor and burnt all villages around. Turkish incursions, although no longer so frequent, continued until 1683, when Turks were defeated in front of Vienna and driven out of Hungary. Three years before that, Maribor was devastated by plague, which killed almost half of the citizens. But soon came better times for the city and in the second half of 18. Century the economy strengthened.

In this age first modest signs of industrialization collided with strong opposition of some city guilds, including the carpenter and blacksmith. The craftsman defended their own interests and for decades blocked development of industrial workshops. Blacksmithing and carpentry remained organized in Guilds until the revolutionary year 1848, which definitively abolishes the feudal social order and open the way for development of capitalism.

This launches the collapse of traditional crafts in the city by the Drava River. Soon after the railway was built through Maribor, domestic craft products were replaced by cheaper industrial. Many of the city's craftsmen have reorganised into dealers of commodity, which they formerly produced. Only a few insisted, and these we have to thank, that knowledge was maintained and passed on to new generations, which created goods in the next century.

Among them are carpenter Hohnjec and blacksmith Donko, buried in this humble, but full of symbolism, grave.

carpentry tool
blacksmith tool
life stages