Visit Ljubljana, the capital and the best starting point of any tour around Slovenia. Enjoy tourist-friendly city, great architecture, good food and lots of sights.
Main attractions of Ljubljana:
- Old city centre and the Central Market
- Architectural masterpieces of Jože Plečnik
- Medieval castle above the city, reached by the funicular
- Picturesque Ljubljanica river, its bridges and riverside bars and restaurants
Ljubljana’s legendary origin
According to the legend, the Greek mythological hero Jason, the leader of the Argonauts, paddled on Ljubljanica river when returning home with the golden fleece. After killing a local dragon, he founded the city of Ljubljana, which commemorates this with having a dragon in its coat of arms.
The first inhabitants of Ljubljana region lived in houses on stilts in the Ljubljana marshes, south of today’s city centre. In 2003 the oldest wooden wheel and its axle in the world was found there. By radiocarbon dating it was established to be about 5000 years old.
Next came the Illyric tribes of the Bronze Age and Celts of the Iron Age, before the Roman legions arrived in 50 BC. The Romans built a city called Emona. The Slavs arrived in the 7th century.
Medieval Ljubljana was chistened Laibach and became a protectorate of German nobility, and then became part of the Austrian Empire, which it stayed until 1918 when it joined Yugoslavia.
In 1991 Ljubljana became the capital of independent Slovenia.
Jože Plečnik, the architect of Ljubljana
Jože Plečnik was a pupil of the great Austrian architect Otto Wagner in Vienna. As Austria proved too conservative for modernistic Plečnik, he moved to Prague, where he was commissioned by the Czech president Tomas Masaryk to build the Church of the Sacred Heart and to renovate the Prague Castle.
When he returned to Ljubljana, Plečnik created his greatest masterpieces and gave his unmistakable mark to the city. He created a worthy capital city for a newly emerging independent nation. Ljubljana was to become a blooming metropolis with wide streets and iconic buildings, using classical and renaissance elements. Parks and squares were re-arranged, monumental buildings were built and Ljubljanica riverbank was reclaimed and planted with weeping willows.
Among the main masterpieces of Jože Plečnik are the Triple Bridges in the centre of Ljubljana, the Central Market collonade, the Križanke complex, and the National and University Library building.
Main sightseeing attractions of Ljubljana
Apart from the masterpieces of Jože Plečnik, a visitor to Ljubljana should not miss the Ljubljana castle, Town Hall, Prešeren square, St. Nicholas’ cathedral and the Central market, the Dragon bridge, Tivoli park and recent addtitions: the Butchers’ bridge, Sports Arena and the Stadium.