Friday, October 7, 2011

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is Slovenia's capital city but it is a small town with only 270,000 people. The city's symbol is a dragon and it is everywhere.

The city's architecture is a mix of Renaissance, Baroque and Secessionist. The Slovene architect Jože Plečnik left his mark throughout the city.

Ljubljana Castle is a medieval castle, built in the 12th century, which overlooks the city. The area around the castle has been inhabited since 1200 BC.

Preseren Square is the town's main square. It is dedicated to Dr. France Prešeren - the greatest Slovenian poet. There is a statue of him in the middle of the square. This is the main meeting point in the city.

The pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation is the town's parish church. It was built between 1646 and 1660. Next to the church is a 13th century Franciscan monastery.

Plečnik's triple bridge is one of the best known landmarks in the city. The main bridge was replaced for automotive traffic and pedestrian bridges were added on both sides. In 2008 the whole area was turned into a pedestrian zone. The bridge is great but it is really tough to get a photo clearly showing all three. Even from up at the castle tower.

The St. Nicholas Cathedral is the city's main church, and the biggest. Slovenia's major religion is Roman Catholicism and the cathedral serves as the Archdiocese of Ljubljana.

The Dragon Bridge, with four green dragons, was built between 1900 and 1901. This is one of the first bridges in Europe made of reinforced concrete. Word is that the dragons waive their tails when a virgin crosses the bridge.

Tivoli Park is the largest park in Ljubljana. In the park is the National Museum of Contemporary History. The museum chronicles Slovenia from before WWI until present day. I was really interested in seeing what they had on the last twenty years, in particular the 10-day war of independence. The museum exhibits were well done and all of a sudden ended with the early 80s. Everything since then is still a work in progress. I guess a return visit is in order once the exhibits are finished.

Near the park is the Serb Orthodox Church. It was built in 1936 as the church of St. Cyril and Methodius.

The skyscraper was inaugurated in 1933. At 70.35 meters (~231 feet) tall, for a while, it was Europe's tallest residential building.

You can get anywhere in town, on foot, within 20 minutes and there are cafes everywhere. Ljubljana is a great little town. While on a free city tour a man passed us while talking on his mobile. It was Milan Kučan – Slovenia's first president. A former president walking through the center of town without body guards? Unfortunately, I didn't realize who the man was before it was too late to get a photo.

I had a feeling that I would like Ljubljana but I had no idea just how much. A return visit is a definite must.


  1. I can't wait to see Ljubljana. The idea of this place seems to have captured my special interest while planning my 2012 Europe travel itinerary. I took a train from Prague to Zagreb last year, stopping briefly at Zadani Most, Slovenia and since then have been dreaming of exploring the rest of the country. Thanks for the post!

  2. Thanks Nic, I'm glad you like the post. Slovenia is great! I can't believe I waited two years before I went there. I will be back soon for sure. Have a great trip in 2012!!