Some say, that the name is a Latin term christened after a flooding river, Alluviana; while others argue that the name is derived from 'Laburus', the deity from the Slavic mythology. However, the real meaning of Ljubjana has not yet been settled.
Importantly, the city is Slovenia's political, economic and administrative center with thriving cultural and scientific life.
Many tourists flock here to explore its rich culture and architecural heritage.
The Physical Location of Ljubljana on the Map
Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia and is located n the Ljubljana basin in central Slovenia, knotted in between the Alps and the Mediterranean. River Ljubljanica a commanding element in the cityscape flows through the city and joins the Sava river a few kilometres downstream.
Getting to Ljubljana
Accommodation in Ljubljana
Ljubljana is afairly small city comapring to other capitals and it doesn't abound in hotels and other lodgings. Search for and book your Ljubljana accommodation well in advance if you plan to viist the city during the peak season (May-September, Christmas).
Besides, the city is politically advanced and this is witnessed by the presence of government ministeries, central government and administrative bodies. The Parliament and the office of the President stand on its ground, making it a crucial destination for political pursuits.
Ljubljana is also proud of its educational richness – The Philharmonic Society established in 1701 and the University of Ljubljana in 1919. The more than 50.000 university students add a youthful buzz to the city.
Apart from its political and social development, the city boasts about its glorious past, and its rich architectural connection.
As one of the smallest capitals in Europe (it has a population of 254.000) Ljubljana's compact downtown can be easily explore on foot within a day. The Ljubljana castle and the banks of gently flowing Ljubljanica river dominate the Baroque city centre.
Friendly, clean streets, lively cafes and restaurants, and a string of cultural monuments and events make Slovenia's capital a very attractive city break destination in Europe. Summer is the most vibrant season when cafe and restaurant tables dot the streets and the riverbank, musicians and street artists entertain tourists on Presrenov trg (trg= square in Slovene).
Though Ljubljana might the lack the active nightlife scene Budapest or Prague boast about the city does have some alternative clubs and pubs.
The city plays hosts to several cultural functions – films lectures, concerts, music at the various counter cultural centers, spruced up on the Metelkova street housed in the Yugoslav military complex. On rainy days you you can while away in the Museum of Modern Art contempalting the collection of 20th-century Slovenian art and in the National Gallery.
The Ljubljana Summer Festival from early July to end of August provides for entertainment with music, opera, dance and street theatre performances. The central venue of the Fetsival is the ope-air stage at Krizanke. The Ljubljana Film Festival and Druga Godba welcome agog tourists from round the world to participate in the spree of mirthful activities mingled with classical melodious numbers and jazz.
See also our guide to Top Ljubljana Attractions.
Ljubljana was not Built in a Day
The Glorious Past has transformed the city into what you see today
Since prehistory, Ljubljana Slovenia has been dominated by thick population. Wooden houses on stakes were common in the Bronze Age. The Romans ruled on its grounds started as early as 15 AD, but until 1144, the city was not recorded. It was first in 1220, that settlement here received town rights. It was late till 1918 that the capital was under the Habsburg rule.
However, Napoleonic wars intervened the Harbsburg rule for a short period of time and it was during this time the place turned into the capital of French Illyrian provinces between 1809 and 1813. The arrival of the first train from Vienna in 1849 marked the first social development of the city. This brought the city closely connected to Trieste in 1857.
Soon, the city was extensively devastated by a major earthquake in 1895, but on the contrary this gave an urge to transform the city into a contemporary haven, what we see today.
Since, 1918, Ljubljana was the unofficial capital of Slovenia. Since then, the capital city witnessed number of annexations - intervention of the Fascist Italy in April, 1941 and by the Nazi Germany in September, 1943.
In 1955, the city was conferred the honorable title of “Hero City” by the Yugoslavia President Josip Broz Tito and the reason was the undaunted courage manifested by its people during the World War II.
After the war, the city was declared the capital of Yugoslavia Socialist Republic of Slovenia. Even after the break up with Yugoslavia National Army in 1991, Ljubljana remained the capital of Slovenia. Hence, what you see today is a contemporary image of the city, accentuating every details of the glorious past.
The Rich Architectural Connection
Down the years, the city has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. The city now reflects the different eras, ruled by different supreme bodies. Wherever you look, you will find the strong Austrian/ Alpine feeling to the architectural wonders in the city.
Twice, the city underwent massive transformations, when it was struck by the intimidating earthquakes in 1511 and 1895.
The 1511 earthquake gave the urge to rebuild the city in the Renaissance style. Again, the1895 impact, gave the boost to rebuild the city into Neo Classicist and Secession style.
So, what you see today is a mirror of both the periods, combining into a unique architectural stance of its own, to be found nowhere else in the world. To mention a few architectural enigmas – the Baroque architecture inspired by the Italian baroque architecture, the Palladian features of the St' Ursula's style and the ethnic styled fountain designed by the world famous designer, Francesco Robba.
Joze Plecnik - an architecture of incredible talent
In the 20th century Joze Plecnik (1872- 1957) Sloevnia's famous architecture formed the city scape.
The "Slavic Gaudi" as Plecnik is often referred to added classical Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian and folkloric architectural elements to Ljubljana's exisiting Baroque and Secessionist look.
He craeted numerous works not only in Ljubljana but in other parts of Slovenia.As a city planner he transfromed his hometown into a well-designed and liveable and attractive urban entity. His amjor works include:
Ljubljana is the heartthrob of Slovenia's traditional and cultural richness, marked in the contemporary affluence of the 21st century that well is well worth a visit.
TIP: Christmas Time in Ljubljana - Ljubljana is not only a nice summer city break destination but around Christmas and New Year's Eve the city is beautifully illuminated with festive lights and the is buzzing with energy in preparation of the end of year holidays. Two Christmas Markets, concerts, children's programs make a Christmas in Ljubljana a wonderful and memorable trip for both families and lone travllers.
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