Living on the coast in one of the Mediterranean countries makes you sometimes indifferent and not much present of the beauty of the transparent sea, clear sky and warmth of the sun. It becomes so daily and normal to you that a short trip inland can make you nostalgic and appreciative again. At least that is what I do when I start to feel boring at home.
Ljubljana was that healing place for me this time. Capital of Slovenia and its largest city, part of Mediterranean but still very European. Reachable by car, totally inland, no sea, no sun, very cold and cloudy. But still extremely beautiful.
Ljubljana is situated on the trade crossroads of the bigger cities like Munich, Zürich, Vienna and Budapest. It has been built on a small hill, circa 300 m high with river Ljubljanica flowing through the city centre. Prehistoric pile dwellings and the oldest wooden wheel in the world as the most important archeological findings in that marshy area discover the first beginnings of city of Ljubljana 2000 years BC. The remains of dugout canoes which they used for getting around the marches, together with other six Alpine states, have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Then there were Romans who left their significant part there, the name Emona, colourful housing, drainage system but the Huns under Attila’s reign destroyed much of it. Until Middle Ages not much is known about Emona any more.
From the Middle Ages until the finish of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918., Ljubljana was under the Habsburg rule and with the German name Laibach. In that period it became educational and artistic centre. Two earthquakes destroyed the city but it was always rebuilt in a that time style like Renaissance and Baroque style in early 16th century and Vienna Secession style later in 19th century.
The city was probably named Ljubljana in the 2nd World War after Italians named it the capital of Provincia di Lubiana.
Nevertheless, weather you call it Emona, Laibach or Ljubljana, it is Slovenian political, educational, cultural, economical and administrative centre.
If you visit Ljubljana in winter, don’t forget to take your thickest coat or jacket because it is freezing outside, doesn’t matter whether there is snow or no snow. And you just have to take a walk at the Presern Square named by great national poet France Presern, along the Ljubljana river canal (both sides) and to climb to the Ljubljana Castle at the southern part of the city. Since it won the European Green Capital Award 2016. all the green spaces and parks gain its recognition. The city centre is free from vehicles and pedestrians can enjoy the fresh and clean air in the ecology friendly environment. Two sides of the river Ljubljanica and some other rivers around Ljubljana are connected with beautiful bridges some very romantically decorated with large stone balusters and lamps.
Cultural life of Ljubljana is very strong, it has one of the oldest Summer Festivals in the Region with eminent opera stars performing as well as ballet, theatre and symphony, rock or jazz concerts, too. Film festivals, artistic performances, book fairs and other cultural events are all happening in the Cankar Hall which got the name after the most famous Slovenian writer oft compared to James Joyce or Franz Kafka, Ivan Cankar.
"The man puts his signature to everything he touches."
Slovenian writer, playwright, essayist, poet and political activist
Next time when I come to Ljubljana it is definitely going to be during the Fashion Weeks so I can enjoy the creativity and modernity of Slovenian designers. Not only the clothing but also the architecture and interior design. Just look at this gorgeous design hotel in the centre of the city!
Do you feel like you need to leave your hometown for a while just to appreciate its beauty and worth when you come back? Leave your answers down in the comments or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org