Ljubljana sightseeing & architecture
Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
The Franciscan church, built by the Augustinians, is today one of the main symbols of the city due to its location in the central Preseren Square and its striking colour. Its triple staircase which faces the Square has been a popular spot to street artists, local seniors and anyone who likes to catch the feeling of the city, having as it does a great view of the Triple Bridge, the square and the locals strolling by.
As a Ljubljana trade-mark, the Dragon Bridge is one of the most well known sights of the city. Four green dragons, two on each side, stand proudly to guard the bridge and the city itself. Though ladies beware….the dragon is said to wave its tail, when the bridge is crossed by a virgin! The history of the bridge goes far back in the past when it was wooden and called a Butchers' Bridge. In 1901 the existing one was built in secession art style, dedicated to Franc Jozef, the Hapsburg Emperor. Written on the side are the years showing the time of his rule. Made of reinforced concrete, it is one of the first bridges in Europe built using this technique. You can easily see it from the Triple Bridge, streching over the Ljubljanica river at the other side of the market place.
Ljubljana`s Three Bridges are probably the most beautiful and well known of all bridges in the city. They connect the main Preseren Square with the Old Town and represent a popular meeting point and place for street musicians and artists. The Marketplace is on the left, the Old Town is on the right, the main square is behind and…. public toilets are underneath. Pictures of the Triple Bridge in Ljubljana.
Cobblers`, also named Shoemakers` Bridge, is another bridge designed by Plecnik. You can recognize it by its upstanding pillars, supporting lamps and other stone balls. The bridge is a link from one side of the old town to another and a popular place for street artists, musicians, painters, and tourists taking photos of the river and the city.
It is the main square of Ljubljana, dedicated to the greatest Slovenian poet, Dr. France Preseren. His statue stands in the middle of the square and is surrounded by the finest seccesion buildings from the start of the 20th century. Connected by Plecnik's Triple Bridge with the Old Town, Market and the river, it is the perfect spot to start your city exploration. Sitting on the statue stairs is a good way to meet locals, as it is a popular spot for a chit-chat where you can enjoy the sun, listen to street musicians and watch the locals stroll by. Pictures from the Preseren Square in Ljubljana.
The Cathedral of St.Nicholas
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas is the main church of Ljubljana and also the biggest. Due to its height, two green bell towers and a dome it is very visible – indeed it is difficult to miss. It stands on the spot of an old Romanesque basilica from the 13th century, also dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron Saint of fishermen. The decision to build a new church was taken in 1700 and in 1841 a wooden dome was replaced by today`s stone one. Located at Vodnikov trg (Vodnik Square) by the open market and opposite the Triple Bridge its surroundings are both vivid and constantly busy. The major religion in Slovenia is Roman Catholicism, though the number of true believers is uncertain and decreasing. Beware that the cathedral is usually closed from 12.00 to 15.00. Entrance is free.
Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity
Just opposite the Congress Square, the Ursulin Convent of the Holy Trinity Church is situated. An undulating roof and yellow columns in the font facade make it one of the most beautiful and original baroque churches in Ljubljana. The view of the church is best from the parking spaces by the Congress Square.
Ljubljana Orthodox Church
Around 2% of population in Slovenia are Serbs, most of whom are Orthodox Catholics. In 1936 Serbian Ortodox Church of St. Cyril and Methodius was built in Ljubljana by the architect Momir Korunovic. Five domes, fresco paintings and beautiful iconostasis are the main characteristics of the church. Services take place every day at 10.00. Find it adjacent to the National Gallery, Modern Gallery and Tivoli Park.
University of Ljubljana
The Ljubljana University building was built in 1902 on the site of the previous Provincial Palace, where Austrian emperor, Russian tsar and the king of Napels ended Napoleonic wars in 1821. The Ljubljana University was established in 1919, right after the Austro-Hungarian monarchy collapsed. The balcony, where big political figures, including Josip Broz Tito, addressed crowds, faces the main entrance and the Congress Square. Today Ljubljana University hosts more than 60,000 students.
Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra building
Established by Italians in 1701 as Academia Philharmonicorum, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra institution is one of the oldest of its kind. The leading symphony orchestra in the country was firstly based in the former Estate Theatre, built on the same spot in 1763. After the fire in 1885, the present palace with a neo-renaissance facade was built in 1891 by the architect Adolf Wagner. Members of the institution included names such as Josef Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Niccolo Paganini. It is found between the Congress Square and the river.
Roman Ljubljana – Emona
Ljubljana was established around the year zero as a Roman military base. Called Collonia Iulia Emona, the town had around 6000 citizens and was surrounded by massive walls. A gate from the Roman empire to the Balkans and to Eastern Europe, Emona was a town of merchants and craftsmen, part of the amber road and the site of numerous battles. Emona was burned down by Huns in 452 AD, but still today you can see Roman walls, town gates, cemeteries and insulas. For guided tours and exhibitions of Roman Ljubljana contact the City Museum. Some of the remains are incorporated into city architecture.
Joze Plecnik is the man responsible for much of Ljubljana's style and features, just like Gaudi who gave his finger print to Barcelona. The permanent exhibition of his work is being hosted in the architecture museum.
The National and University Library (NUK)
You can find it between Turjaska and Vegova street. A palace, full of architectural symbolism, it has a massive orange and white block outside and a monumental dark marble staircase from the inside. It is the most important work of Plecnik in his homeland. With its palacial appearance it accomplishes his idea of the monumental city avenue, that connects the city centre with the Trnovo district, across the Square of French Revolution. Besides having the most extensive collection of literature in the country, it owns numerous medieval manuscripts and Renaissance prints. With Krizanke and the popular Le Petit bar close by, the surroundings of NUK are usually full of youngsters. If you are interested in a guided tour book at least one week in advance by phone or e-mail. Opening time: Mon- Fri: 9.00 – 18.00, Sat: 9.00 – 14.00. Address: Turjaska 1, Ljubljana, Phone.: +386 (0)1 2001 195
The Skyscraper (Neboticnik)
The skyscraper with the same name is one of the most well known and the most distinctive buildings in Ljubljana. When built in 1933 as a symbol of modernisation, growth and economic prosperity of the city, it was the highest residential building in Slovenia and 9th highest building in Europe. The arched top, which is unfortunately not accessible today, served as a bar and a restaurant with a spectacular viewing point. Today the skyscraper serves as an orientation point and as a residential building with shops and offices on the lower floors. If you are interested, enter the monumental lobby which is well worth seeing. Located adjacent to Slovenska and Copova street it's only a short walk from the main square.
Zale - Ljubljana Cemetery
Concieved at the start of the 20th century, Zale Cemetery got its distinctive features when Joze Plecnik redesigned it in 1940. A monumental arched entrance with massive columns represents a doorstep from the world of the living to the world of the dead. In between the cemetery itself and the doors of Had, five chapels symbolize Zale as the home to all religions, thus making them all equal. An architectural masterpiece where many soldiers of WWI and numerous writers, poets, politicians, painters and architects are buried, including Plecnik himself, it a must see. Travel via bus No. 2, 7 or 22. It is on the way to BTC shopping district.
Castles and manors in Ljubljana
Even the Ljubljana tourism authorities cannot be clear how many castles there are in Ljubljana, and it is said there must be about a dozen of them directly in the district. The best known however is the Ljubljana castle that dominates the old town.