Visiting Ljubljana

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To see Visiting Ljubljana

I enjoyed the couple of days spent in Ljubljana; nice small city, easy to visit and with interesting points to all tastes.

​The centre of town

Visiting Ljubljana

The centre of town, a large square facing the triple bridge, is dominated by a statue of the Slovene national poet France Prešeren. It was created by Ivan Zajec in 1905, on a pedestal conceived by Max Fabiani.

Address: Old Town

Directions: From anywhere in Old Town, follow the any of the main roads

Website: Ljubljana

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​Presernov trg

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Visiting Ljubljana

No one visits Ljubljana without seeing this square – the real centre of tourism in the city. So important that, instead of maps, they put in the square a miniature of the historic area. It’s always surrounded by curious people, so you may skip it, but it is nice, either to plan the next walk, either to summarize what you have seen or not. However, the beauty around the square is so great that missing it is no kind of problem.

Address: Old Town

Website: http://www.visitljubljana.com

​Odd bridge

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Visiting Ljubljana – Odd bridge

The central element in touristy Ljubljana is this triple bridge. The central part is the original bridge, built in 1842 and designed by an Italian architect. In 1929, Joze Plecnik, trying to eliminate congestion in traffic, planned, and built, ending in 1932, two side narrow bridges for pedestrians. Nowadays all the area is closed to traffic almost all day, and the two extra bridges seem… unjustified, but no one goes to the city without a picture of or on the bridge.

Address: Prešeren Square

Website: Ljubljana

​Skipped

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Visiting Ljubljana – Castle

With only a day for the city (and Fernanda needing “accidentally” to do some shopping) we had to skip the castle. With time, I would have seen the three dimensions film about Ljubljana history, and browse the exhibition of local artifacts. We can’t have everything…

Address: Castle Hill

Directions: Tourist Train from Prešeren Square or Walk up from Ciril-Metodov Trg

Phone: +386 1 306 42 93

Website: Castle

​Grand Hotel

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Visiting Ljubljana – Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel Union is a four-star hotel near the center of the city of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Built about a block from the city’s central Prešeren Square, between 1903 and 1905, it is notable for having been Ljubljana’s first modern hotel, as well as – for a few years after its construction – the city’s largest building. Designed by the architect Josip Vancaš, it is a good example of the Vienna Secession style, with the long facade and complex iron roof structure considered a technical achievement. If you decide to do more than to look, you may… use it.

​It is still working, and for about 250 €…

Franciskanska

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Visiting Ljubljana – Franciskanska

Centrally placed

Located in the pedestrian central area, this church is the meeting point to all the walking tours of the city, and a privileged photographic point.

In “Ljubljana.info” we may read:
“The church we can see today was built between 1646 and 1660 and is the third on the spot, built by the Augustinians, who lived inside until the end of the 18th century. Due to financial instabilities, the facade was finished only in 1700. Today its front reminds us of the famous Il Gesu, Rome. 

Later the church was taken over by the Franciscans, after whom it got its name and color. They were changing its appearance until the 19th century. 

​A typical baroque interior housed a Loreto chapel of St. Mary but only until the mid of the 18th century, when it was concealed by the great altar of Francesco Robba, the sculptor. The frescoes were drawn by Matevz Langus in the middle of the 19th century and on the vault were painted in 1936 by Matej Strnen. The church got its present image only after the earthquake in 1895. On the outside top the biggest bronze statue of St. Mary in town is visible”

OK, it’s good to know, but I must confess that I saw no one entering it, and I didn’t too.

Address: Prešeren Square

Website: Franciskanska

​East bank

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Visiting Ljubljana – East bank

The eastern side of the river is flanked with esplanades, shaded by trees, here and there with colorful balconies.

​It’s the best area to sit having a drink, during the day or in the summer nights.

Address: Old Town

Directions: South City Centre

​City Hall

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Visiting Ljubljana – City hall

Between 1717 and 1719, Gregor Macek led the renovation of the former palace built in 1584 by Peter Bezlav. Mixing Baroque and Classicist styles, it seems to have a nice interior, where I would like to see at least the courtyard. I read that it is nice, with Hercules statue, Robba fountain of Narcissus and other precious things, however there was going any official event, and we got no more than a discreet compliment from the Mayor (I think) at the door.

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Visiting Ljubljana – City hall

Directions: From Prešeren Square, Cross Triple Bridges and continue on road then make a right on Mestni Trg

Dragon bridge

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Visiting Ljubljana – Dragon bridge

Famous but…

The bridge was built to replace an old wooden bridge damaged by the earthquake in 1895.

​It has a large story since then, but after the recuperation in 2001 it has a very common look where only the sculpted dragons call our attraction.

OK, I know that even a simple rock becomes remarkable when history passes by it…

Address: Kopitarjeva

​Main Post Office

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Visiting Ljubljana – Post Office

The central Post Office is a 19th century building, along a main avenue in the city centre.

​It seems to have a very interesting space inside called Atrium, but we didn’t know and… didn’t enter.

Address: Slovenska Cesta

Directions: City centre

​Liberty square

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Visiting Ljubljana – Liberty square

This large square was built in 1821, but has already a rich history.

Born Congress Square, it was name Revolution square during the communist period, and Liberty square after that, but the original name never disappeared.

​It is surrounding by several classified buildings, and it has underground parking, expensive but near the restricted central area.

Address: City centre

​Ursulinska

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Visiting Ljubljana – Ursulinska

Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity, a church in Kongressni Trg, was built between 1718 and 1726 in the Baroque style.

Designed by Carlo Martinuzzi, a Friulian architect, it has an extensive altar made of African marble, designed by Francesco Robba.

Address: Slovenska cesta 21, 1000 Ljubljana​

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Visiting Ljubljana – Ursulinska

​Big university

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Visiting Ljubljana – University

Created in 1810, and one of the biggest universities in Europe, with more than 60000 students, this organization spreads all over the city, with many of its buildings in Krizanke.

​The main building, in Kongressni trg, is also the most beautiful, built in 1902 in location of the Austrian Provincial Palace.

​Philharmonic Academy

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Visiting Ljubljana – Philarmonic Academy

A beautiful yellow Renaissance building houses the national Philharmonic orchestra, that according to a plaque in the facade was created in 1701.

​That seems to be wrong, meaning the construction of the building and not the creation of the orchestra.

Address: Kongresni Trg

​Miklosicev Park

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Visiting Ljubljana – Miklosicev Park

At the edge of the touristy area, this park is not a must see, but, after seeing the “mandatory” points of the city, while using your extra time to discover “the other” Ljubljana, this square is very accessible, and… interesting.

​A nice small park, surrounded by some old buildings, it has in the middle a statue of Frank Miklosic, that inherited the base of Austrian Franz Joseph emperor’s statue.

​Miklosiceva

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Visiting Ljubljana – Miklosiceva

This street, starting in Preseren, is a large collection of very interesting buildings, where the top star is Cooperative bank.

​Built in 1922 by Ivan Vurnik, inspired in the Art Nouveau movement but including national elements in the decoration, the building cannot pass unnoticed – its colorful whole, based in a vivid red make it impossible. The geometric decorations were conceived and painted by the architect’s wife, Helena, inspired in the three Slovenian colors, agricultural landscapes and national costumes.

Address: Miklošièeva cesta 8

​Mestni trg

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Visiting Ljubljana – Mestni trg

The centre of medieval Ljubljana was destroyed in the 1511 earthquake and rebuilt in Baroque style.

​Mestni trg (City square) is the main point, with the Robba fountain and the City Hall, surrounded by some well preserved medieval buildings with shops, cafes and restaurants.

Address: Old Town

Directions: South City Centre

​Robba fountain

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Visiting Ljubljana – Robba

Inspired in Bernini’s four rivers fountain in Piazza Navona, in Rome, Francesco Robba designed in 1745/51 the “Three rivers fountain”, representing the rivers Ljubljanica, Sava, and Krka.

​In 2006 the original was moved to the National Gallery, and a copy was placed in Town square, close to City Hall.

Address: Old Town

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Visiting Ljubljana – Roba

​Lybrary

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Library

Walking around, I was surprised by a large and strange building.

I found that it was the National and University Library, built by… you know – the man that changed Ljubljana, Plecnik.

​Julia Primic

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The protagonist of Ljubljana’s love story is Preseren, the poet represented in the statue in the central square of Presernov.

His love, Julia Primic was the daughter of a rich merchant, so, for many years, he was inspired in his poems by their impossible love.

Recently, Tone Demsar decided to celebrate this forbidden love conceiving her bust in a window looking in the direction of his statue.

​It may be seen in Wolfova street, but, without warning, you risk to miss it.

​Ribji trg

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Linked to Kongressini Trg by a wooden footbridge plenty of flowers, the fish square has the oldest house in Ljubljana.

​A small but nice fountain with statue was hidden by the esplanades of two restaurants occupying most of the square.

Address: Old Town

Directions: South City Centre

​St Nicolas cathedral

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Saint Nicholas Cathedral is the main church in Ljubljana, located near Ljubljana Central Market. Several churches occupied the space and were destroyed until 1701 when the Jesuit architect Andrea Pozzo started designing a new Baroque church with the common shape of a Latin cross. The dome was built in 1841, and the interior was decorated with Baroque frescos by Giulio Quaglio 1721-1723

Address: Dolnicarjeva ulica 1, 1000 Ljubljana

Website: St Nicolas

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St Nicholas organ

Under a wonderful baroque ceiling, in the back of the church, it is located a spectacular pipe organ. As a matter of fact, they are three different organs, allowing simultaneous playing.

Address: Dolnicarjeva ulica 1, 1000 Ljubljana

Directions: City centre

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Main door

Escorted tours have some advantages and also some disadvantages. A few years ago, the main door of this church, close to central market, was replaced, by a very interesting work of Tone Demsar, composing a relief illustrating Slovene history.

​Very interesting, very nice to see but… standing in front of it for a looooong time, listening to the guide explaining each person, each detail, one by one, practically teaching all the history that we, if interested, could read at home.

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​Bishop’s palace

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One of the most distinguishable buildings surrounding the market is Bishop’s palace.

​Originally in Renaissance style, it was later transformed with Baroque decoration, and it seems to have the most beautiful arcaded courtyard in Ljubljana (we couldn’t enter).

​Started in 1512, only in the end of the 18th century it acquired its present facade, with its magnificent door.​

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​Central Market

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The 1895 earthquake destroyed an old monastery in Vodnik Square and, after its removal, the space was used for an outdoor market.

From 1939 to 1944 Jose Plèçnik completely transformed the space, with a large construction that reflects Renaissance influences.

​The space is lively, with the market open daily except on Sundays.

Address: City centre

​St Florian church

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St. Florian church was built after the great fire of 1660 that destroyed Gornji and Stari squares and it burned down in another fire of 1774. The actual look, after many restorations, was given by Plecnik 1934.

​He also transformed the surroundings, and was responsible for the placement of Robba’s John Nepomuk statue in front of the church. Inside there are Baroque frescoes and sculptures.

Address: Gornji trg, 1000 Ljubljana,

Website: Visit Ljubljana

​St Mary column

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More than designing the new square, Plecnik introduced some modifications in most elements in this area.

​For instance, he replaced the column holding the Virgin’s statue cast in 1682, by a new one, moving a fountain to another place in the gardened area.

Address: City centre

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​Open air theatre

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In the 13th century there was a Monastery of the Order of Teutonic Knights at Krizanke, seriously damaged by the earthquake of 1511.

Rebuilt a few decades later it continued to serve as a monastery until 1945, when the complex was nationalized.

In 1956 the architect Jose Plecnik transformed the monastery into a festival space for Ljubljana Festival, still in use.

​Butchers bridge

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Planned by Plecnik and for a long time not built because of WW2, this footbridge was finally constructed in 2009 with a new project.

Its oddest detail, besides a few modern sculptures, is the presence of hundreds of padlocks in its steel wired fences.

​It seems to be a new tradition, with the padlocks meaning the eternal love of those who leave them.

Address: City centre

​Shoemakers’ bridge

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Stopping in this bridge in a walking tour of the city I heard the guide explaining a long story about the bridge, including the use of the columns to expose or to hang people in the antiquity.

Well…The bridge was built in 1931, according to Plecnik plans, to replace an iron bridge built in 1867 to replace a wooden bridge that replaced…

​Maybe in the 14th century, when the first bridge was built… if it had columns… if…

Address: Dvorni Trg

​Technical school

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Krizanke quarter is very nice, dominated by the university complex and national library.

​A very interesting building included in the university complex is the Upper-Secondary School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Technical Gymnasium.

​Modernity

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In this large but common building just two details call our attention – the flags and the door.

​Located in Republic square, it was built in the middle of last century.

Address: Trg Republike

Reconstruction

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The southernmost point of the touristy old town is this square, redesigned by Plecnik in 1927.

​Some old buildings were left, as, for instance, Gruber palace, a Baroque construction from the end of the 18th century.

Address: City centre

​AMGI

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No, I didn’t like this building, contrasting with the sober beauty of its neighbours.

I thought that it was a modern church of one of those new religions, but I was wrong – it is a research institute, named Anton Melik Geographical Institute.

​A respectful purpose, but why the “aggression” to the area?

Day trips around

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Day trip to Piran

One of the advantages of the small countries is the ease to visit all the top highlights.

Slovenia is no exception, and at about 120 km from a coast only a few kilometers long, there’s no reason to miss a day in the beach, if the weather invites.

​Portoroz is the main beach, but Piran is the most beautiful point of the coast, making it my favorite for a brief visit, with Koper as a reasonable alternative.

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Day trip to Postojna

Yes, one of the advantages of the small countries is the ease to visit all the top highlights.

Postojna, only 55 Km from the capital is one of the many solutions for a day trip.

As a UNESCO heritage, it is something not to miss.

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Day trip to Koper

The small coast of Slovenia is about one hour distant, with Koper as the closest beach.

More than a beach, is is an historic city with many other interesting points.

​We were in our way to Italy, and the visit was brief, but interesting enough to regret not having a few more hours for it, however, I could collect a few ideas mentioned in Slovenia page.

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Day trip to Skocjan caves

The Skocjan caves, only 80 Km from the capital are one of the many solutions for a day trip.

As a UNESCO heritage, it is something not to miss.

There are programs that include Postojna and Skocjan caves in the same day trip.

Skocjan
Skocjan
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Day trip to Predjama castle

Postojna, only 55 Km from the capital is a top solution for a day trip from Ljubliana, really something not to miss.

Included in this visit is usually Predjama castle, only ten minutes driving from Postojna.

​The castle impresses for its odd location, half hidden in a large cave.

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Day trip to Portoroz

With the only 120 km away, there’s no reason to miss a day in the beach, if you like it and the weather invites.

Portoroz is the main beach, which means that it will be a good place for a overnight trip.

​That is, maybe, the best idea, freeing time to visit the beautiful Piran or Koper both at a very short distance.