Ljubljana is one of the most charming European capitals. Its old urban center is serried between the Ljubljana castle and river Ljubljanica, which represents the main “artery” next to which the pulse of Ljubljana is the strongest. A major part of the strict center is closed for traffic and you can delight in a noiseless walk, have lunch and a drink in one of its numerous bars. The youthful liveliness of Ljubljana reaches its climax in the warmer half of the year (from May to September), when annual terraces of cafes, bars, and restaurants spread onto the pavements, and concerts and other cultural performances line up constantly. Ljubljana is something special in December too: countless lights, a Christmas fair, concerts, and mulled wine ensure a cheery-romantic atmosphere.
Ljubljana is a city without sights of universal format. Neither Big Ben nor Eiffel Tower is here but there are loads of nice spots, where everyone will find something that will make an impression. The old city center is small and we can visit all the main sights on foot:
- Ljubljana castle
- Prešeren Sguare and Triple Bridge
- Old Town (from Town Square to Upper Square)
- Congress Square
- Dragon Bridge
- Park Tivoli
- City Museum of Ljubljana
- Museum of Modern Art
- National Gallery of Slovenia
- Slovenian Museum of Natural History
- National Museum of Slovenia
- Slovene Ethnographic Museum
- Museum of Architecture and Design...
A tip for the young and the young at heart: visit the Independent Cultural Center Metelkova. Buildings of old Yugoslav army barracks became a site for alternative art, walls are full of graffiti, vivid paintings, and peculiar statues. In the evening everything turns into busy a concert and club scene.
History of Ljubljana:
- Beginnings: A legend says that the Greek mythological hero Jason, who sailed from Greece across the Black Sea, Danube, and the Sava to Ljubljanica river, founded Ljubljana. Jason defeated and killed a monster, that dwelled in a large lake at the source of the Ljubljanica river. This monster is supposedly a dragon which is still a symbol of Ljubljana today.
- 2000 B.C.: Ljubljana lies at the edge of the swampy Ljubljansko Barje. The first inhabitants of this area were lake-dwellers who lived in wooden shacks built on stilts.
- 1st century: Romans arrive in the region and set up the colony Emona, which was the first-ever name for Ljubljana.
- 6th century: The arrival of Slavic forefathers
- 13th century: Ljubljana grows into a medieval town, it obtains municipal rights, and becomes the capital of Carniola. Habsburgs took over Ljubljana and they name it Laibach.
- The year 1511: The first strong earthquake affects the entire region. The city is rebuilt and renovated in Renaissance style.
- 16th century: Protestantism and blossom of Slovene culture. We get the first books in the Slovene language, first secondary school, public library, and printing office. Ljubljana is the Slovene cultural center.
- During the time of the French occupation under Napoleon (1809-1813) Ljubljana is the capital of Illyrian Provinces.
- Middle of 19th century: The railway connection Trieste-Ljubljana-Vienna is completed. The rapid development of the city starts.
- The year 1895: A devastating earthquake. Rebuilding and reconstruction in Secession style follow.
- Between the two wars the University, National Gallery, and Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts have been established. In this period a strong mark has been left by Slovenia's most splendid architect Jože Plečnik. His most significant creations in the city center are Triple Bridge, National and University Library, Križanke, Central Market, Cobbler's Bridge,...
- During the 2nd World War the city was surrounded by 30 kilometers of barbed wire. Today a walking-recreational route runs around its course.
- Ljubljana became the Socialist Republic of Slovenia within Yugoslavia and from 1991 the capital of the independent country Slovenia
For more info take a look at the city's official tourism website.