Read about the city

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and it is the economic, political and cultural center of the country. And th city offers many sights and activities to visitors. The center of Ljubljana is cozy and picturesque with narrow streets, elegant churches, beautiful architecture and fine museums.

The city castle is built on the top of Ljubljana, and for centuries it has been an important part of city life and history. The castle was a part of the defense of Ljubljana already from the 1100s, and it has been a residence palace as well. From the castle hill you can see all over the Slovenian capital and thereby get a good overview of the city.

The streets along the river in central Ljubljana are very nice to walk, and there is a ot to see here, not least from the baroque architecture. Fountains, the town hall, the cathedral and many shops are in this neighborhood, which is well located between the river and the castle. In the season, it is possible to enjoy local goods here; for example at the recurring wine festival.

The modern part of Ljubljana is on the opposite side of the river from the old town. The city plan contains large squares and streets in a grid plan. There are many landmark buildings in the modern neighborhoods. They date from both the decades around 1900 and the Yugoslav era. It is also here, you find the elegant Tivoli palace.

Other attractions

Preseren Square, Ljubljana

  • Prešeren Square/Prešernov trg: This square is the center of Ljubljana and named after the Slovenian national poet France Prešeren. This is where you can see the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, which was built in baroque style in the 17th century.
  • The Three Bridges/Tromostovje: The Three Bridges are well-known structures in Ljubljana's cityscape. There are three bridges built next to each other right where the transport to the old town has been busiest for centuries.

Robba Fountain, Ljubljana

  • Robba Fountain/Robbov Vodnjak: This fountain was built in the years 1743-1751 by Francesco Robba, and it is considered one of Ljubljana's most beautiful baroque monuments. The fountain symbolizes the four rivers of the region.
  • City Hall/Mestna hiša: Ljubljana City Hall was built in 1484 and rebuilt in 1718 by the architect Gregor Maček. From the original construction you can e.g. see the Hercules & Narcissus Fountain and the Gothic Auditorium.

Congress Square, Ljubljana

  • Congress Square/Kongresni trg: The Congress Square in central Ljubljana was laid out for the conduct of ceremonies during the Holy Alliance's Congress of Laibach, modern day Ljubljana, in 1821. It is one of Ljubljana's large squares with many fine buildings around it.
  • The Old Square/Stari trg: The old town of Ljubljana is parallel to the Ljubljanica river, and the heart of the cozy neighborhood are the three market streets and squares; City Square/Mestni trg, Old Square/Stari trg and Upper Square/Gornij trg. In the cozy streets there are many nice houses.

Ljubljana City Museum

  • City Museum/Mestni Muzej: At the Ljubljana City Museum, you can experience the city's history from 6,500-year-old settlements to the present day. The interesting museum is housed in a fine renaissance city palace from 1642.
  • Jakopič Garden/Jakopičev vrt: There are still traces of the Roman forerunner to Ljubljana, Emona. This park belongs to the city museum, and here you can see remains from Ljubljana's Roman period.

SNG Opera and Ballet, Ljubljana

  • SNG Opera and Ballet/SNG Opera in balet: The national opera house of Ljubljana and Slovenia was built in the Neo-Renaissance in 1890-1892. On the elegantly decorated façade you can see Alojz Gangl's statues, which symbolize tragedy and comedy.
  • Republic Square/Trg Republika: The Republic Square was laid out and designed from 1960 as Ljubljana's modern square. It is surrounded by several distinctive, public buildings from the former Yugoslavia; eg Ljubljana's parliament building.
History overview

    [expand title="Read about city history" id="historie2" swaptitle="Hide content"]
    Emona is founded
    According to a tradition, Ljubljana was founded by the mythological hero Jason, who had fled with the Argonauts in Greek mythology. Jason accompanied him across the Black Sea and up the Danube and Ljubljanica rivers to escape King Aetes with robbery from him. At Ljubljana, they stopped to disassociate their ship with the intention of migrating to the Adriatic to collect it again and then sail back towards Greece. However, there was a monster that Jason had to overcome, and it is the dragon that is one of Ljubljana's symbols today.

    However, in the territory of the Slovenian capital, the Romans were the first to leave traces. About 50 BC they founded Iulia Aemona, or simply Emona, immediately southeast of today's Ljubljana. Emona was a typical Roman city with forums, trade and garrisons. It eventually came to have about 5,000 inhabitants.

    Emona flourished, got city walls, aqueducts and other public facilities. However, the city went back together with the demise of the West Roman Empire, and in 452 the female king Attila wiped out all of Emona.

    Slavic immigration
    At the end of the 500s, and thus some 150 years later, the first slaves came to what later became Ljubljana. They built on the secure bastion, which is naturally shielded from the lower land along the Ljubljanica River.

    Gradually, however, the city grew below the castle on the banks of the river; the part that today is known as the old part of the city. Both the surrounding settlements and the region around the city gradually became subordinate to the rulers of the castle, and Ljubljana eventually became an actual medieval town.

    From the 8th century, however, some centuries came with changing rulers. First, Ljubljana was subject to Frankish rule, and in the same centuries came several Hungarian attacks. By about 1000, the Hungarians had been defeated, and the Ljubljana region came into the hands of various German noble families.

    Growth in Laibach
    In 1144, the city of Laibach is first mentioned, and two years later Luwigana, the first Slovenian name that eventually became Ljubljana. In the 13th century, the city grew further from the castle mound and the houses on the river. New neighborhoods emerged, and the city extended along both banks of the Ljubanica River with bridges as a connection and city gates as entrances. In 1220, Laibach obtained marketplace rights and privileges, which meant, among other things, that the city minted coins and that the many craftsmen organized themselves in low.

    The city also became the capital of the Carniola region. In 1335, Carniola and thereby Ljubljana entered the Habsburgs, which became the land of the country virtually uninterrupted until World War I.

    The Habsburgs immediately gave Ljubljana many privileges and rights, which created great progress for the city. Trade flourished and cultural life was rapidly evolving. People from all over Europe moved to. Among other things, the Jewish Quarter was formed at this time. Many artists in painting and sculpture formed schools here.

    Also in ecclesiastical terms our city's importance. Against the background of population growth and increasing religious influence, St. Nicholas Church was elevated to a cathedral in 1461.

    The 1500-1600s
    Ljubljana was hit by an earthquake in 1511 and it destroyed large parts of the city. The town's wooden houses were subsequently replaced by brick houses, and the style was typically Renaissance. New fortress walls were also built to protect themselves from a Turkish siege.

    In the 16th century, the Reformation came to Slovenia and Ljubljana, which, as in Roman times, numbered more than 5,000 inhabitants. Ljubljana had become Protestant, and here the first library was opened and the first book in Slovenian printed. The city became Catholic again when the ruling Habsburgs deployed Jesuit monks in 1597.

    Ljubljana's strong cultural tradition continued into the 17th century, where artists were invited from all over Europe. Over the years, the city was almost recreated from the Renaissance to the Baroque era. This work can be seen in many places today; eg with the works of the Italian Francesco Robba.

    Napoleonic Age and Industrialization
    In 1809, French troops occupied Ljubljana, and the city became the new capital of a new Illyrian province. France actively supported a major development of the city. The first college was established and it later developed into the University of Slovenia. France also made Slovenian one of the main languages ​​of the Illyrian province, and thus Slovenian entered the schools' teaching. The French rule lasted until 1813, after which Ljubljana again belonged to the Habsburgs from Austria.

    Throughout the 19th century Ljubljana developed tremendously in line with Europe's industrialization. New hospitals, railways and educational institutions were established and the city grew sharply in acreage. Ljubljana was further strengthened as the national center of the Slovenes when in 1882 the city became its first Slovenian mayor.

    In 1895, an earthquake struck again the city, where most of the buildings were destroyed or damaged. Austrian and Czech architects rebuilt Ljubljana, and they linked the existing Baroque with the Art Nouveau style of the time.

    The 1900s to the present day
    The Habsburg Empire fell in 1918 with World War I, and Ljubljana now became the Slovenian capital and part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The city at that time had 80,000 inhabitants.

    After World War II, when the city was occupied by Italians first, then by Germans, Ljubljana became part of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, with Slovenia and not least Ljubljana being the most prosperous in the entire republic.

    In 1990, the country's people voted independently, and in 2004 Slovenia became a member of the European Union. After independence, Ljubljana has flourished as a Slovenian capital, and today the city is beautifully renovated to the delight of visitors and locals.
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Ljubljana, Slovenia

Top attractions

St Nicholas Cathedral, Ljubljana

  • St Nicholas Cathedral/Stolnica svetega Nikolaja: This is Ljubljana's cathedral, built in beautiful baroque in the years 1701-1706. In the church interior you can see works by i.a. Francesco Robba, the Groppelli brothers and Giulio Quaglio.
  • Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity/Uršulinski Samostan & Cerkev sv. Trojice: This is a building complex from the 18th century with an interesting church that is one of Ljubljana's most characteristic from the Baroque. The main altar is by Francesco Robba.

Ljubljana Castle

  • Ljubljana Castle/Ljubljanski Grad: This is Ljubljana's beautiful castle, located on a hill in the middle of the city. The castle was already mentioned in the 12th century, and it has been both a fortress and a residence. Today it is a museum with a beautiful view.
  • National Museum & Slovenian Museum of Natural History/Narodni Muzej & Prirodoslovni muzej Slovenije: This is Slovenia's national museum dating back to 1821, and here you can see fine exhibitions about the area's history, culture and people.

Tivoli Castle, Ljubljana

  • Tivoli Castle/Grad Tivoli: The elegant Grad Tivoli is a castle built in the 17th century by Jesuit monks as a holiday resort for students and the monks themselves. Later, Emperor Franz Joseph bought the castle, which is today an exhibition building. You should also enjoy a walk in the surrounding castle park.
  • Miklošičeva cesta: In this street you can see beautiful Art Nouveau buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. These are, for example, the Grand Hotel Union from 1903-1905 and several office and residence buildings from the same period.
Trips in the area

Piran, Slovenia

  • Piran: The town of Piran is very picturesque and it is one of Slovenia's few coastal towns. The Adriatic Sea is a backdrop for the cozy town, where you go for some beautiful walks in the beautiful city center.
  • Koper: Koper is Slovenia's largest port city, and it has an old town with many sights. The Loggia is a Venetian palace from the 15th century, and from the same century you can see the town hall Pretorska palača. You should also see the church Župnijska cerkev Marije Vnebovzete.

Castello Miramare, Trieste

  • Trieste: On the Adriatic coast and with a few minutes to Slovenia, Trieste is the easternmost city in northern Italy. There are a lot of opportunities for activities and also nice sights such as the beautiful square, Piazza Unità d’Italia, and the small castle Miramare.
  • Postojna Cave/Postojnska Jama: Of Slovenia's many caves, Postojnska Jama is the most interesting and at the same time one of the most beautiful in Europe. You drive into the caves with a small train before you walk around the unforgettable setting.

Bled, Slovenia

  • Bled: Bled is a town located in an almost fairytale nature at the foot of the Slovenian Alps. The town is known for its mild climate and its hot springs, and the natural gem above them all is the idyllic lake, Blejsko Jezero, where you can go on some wonderful boat trips.
  • Maribor: Maribor is Slovenia's second largest city. It was granted town privileges in the 13th century and over the centuries it has grown into a cozy provincial town with many sights. The central square, Glavni trg, and the city cathedral are two places worth seeing.

Zagreb, Croatia

  • Zagreb: This is the capital of Croatia, beautifully located around the hills along the river Sava. Zagreb is one of the big cities in the northern Balkans, and here you will find i.a. fine museums, lovely parks, beautiful architecture and interesting churches.
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