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7
Aug

Third day of the Summit: City tour Ljubljana

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, has been the cultural, educational, economic, political, and administrative center of independent Slovenia since 1991. During antiquity, a Roman city called Emona stood in the area. Ljubljana itself was first mentioned in the first half of the 12th century. It was under Habsburg rule from the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.

Ljubljana Castle: Ljubljana Castle, standing on a hill above the city for about 900 years, is Ljubljana’s main attraction. The Castle’s Outlook Tower and ramparts offer some of the most beautiful views of the city, while the castle houses a museum exhibition on Slovenian history, a puppet museum, and a number of historical rooms such as the Chapel of St George, the Prison, and a video presentation room called Virtual Castle. Ljubljana Castle, which can quickly be reached by funicular railway, also provides space for art exhibitions and serves as a venue for cultural events, family entertainment, dance evenings, and open-air film screenings held under the tile of Film under the Stars in the summer.

Dragon Bridge: The Dragon Bridge, adorned with famous dragon statues, appears in the most recognizable images of Ljubljana. If you haven’t been photographed next to a Dragon Bridge dragon, you can hardly claim that you have visited Ljubljana. The four dragon statues, which look slightly terrifying and almost real, are a masterpiece which has been exciting imagination since the bridge was built.

Prešern Square and Triple Bridge: The Prešernov trg square developed from a road junction in front of one of the city gates leading to medieval Ljubljana. Next to the junction, a Franciscan church of the Annunciation was built in the 17th century, but the junction was turned into a square and paved only after the city walls were pulled down in the middle of the 19th century. The central of the three bridges forming the Triple Bridge has stood in its place since 1842, when it replaced an old, strategically important medieval wooden bridge connecting the north-western European lands with south-eastern Europe and the Balkans. Between 1929 and 1932, the side bridges, intended for pedestrians, were added to the original stone bridge to a design by the architect Jože Plečnik, who thus created a unique architectural gem of Ljubljana.

The Cathedral: The site of the Cathedral was originally occupied by a three-nave Romanic church whose earliest mention dates back to 1262. After the fire of 1361 it was re-vaulted in the Gothic style. When the Ljubljana Diocese was established in 1461, the church underwent several alterations and additions. In 1469 it was burnt down. Between 1701 and 1706, a new Baroque hall church with side chapels shaped in the form of the Latin cross was built to a design by the Jesuit architect Andrea Pozzo. As the church’s dome was only built in 1841, originally a fake dome was painted on the arch above the centre of the cross. The surviving Baroque interior decoration notably includes frescoes by Giulio Quaglio, Angelo Putti’s statues of four bishops of Emona situated beneath the beams of the dome, Putti’s painting of Dean Janez Anton Dolničar, who initiated the rebuilding of the church in 1701, Francesco Robba’s altar angels in the left part of the nave and brothers Paolo and Giuseppe Groppelli’s altar angels in the right part of the nave.

Town Hall: Ljubljana’s Town Hall (locally referred to as Mestna hiša, Magistrat or Rotovž), is the seat of the Municipality of Ljubljana. It was built in the late 15th century by the master builder Peter Bezlaj. It assumed its present appearance between 1717 and 1719, when an annexe designed by Carlo Martinuzzi was added to it by the master builder Gregor Maček Snr. Later the building was alterated several times, the most thoroughly by the architect Svetozar Križaj in 1963. The Town Hall façade reflects Venetian architectural influences. The vestibule provides space for a late Gothic plaque with a coat of arms surviving from the original Town Hall building and a 17th century statue of Hercules with a lion, previously a part of the Hercules Fountain which used to stand in the middle of the nearby Stari trg square. In the Town Hall’s arched courtyard stands Francesco Robba’s Narcissus Fountain (Narcisov vodnjak) from Bokalce Castle (Grad Bokalce).

Central market: Ljubljana’s Central Market is more than just a place to shop. Traditionally, it has also been a place for the locals to meet and enjoy themselves together. The Central Market consists of an open-air market, located in the Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg squares, a covered market situated in between the two squares, and a series of small food shops along the river Ljubljanica, which are referred to as ‘Plečnik’s Covered Market’ as they are located in a colonnade designed by Ljubljana’s famous architect Jože Plečnik. The Central Market offer is supplemented by catering establishments and street food kiosks.

Boat cruising along the Ljubljanica river

During the tourist boat ride, you will have an opportunity to admire the picturesque historical city centre while gliding on the surface of the river Ljubljanica and listening to your guide telling interesting stories about the river and its bridges and embankments. Next, you will take a walk around the historical city centre’s most important sights and take a short tour of the Town Hall. After taking a funicular ride to Ljubljana Castle, you will learn about the history of this majestic medieval fortress, visit its permanent exhibition entitled Slovenian History, watch the screening of a video called Virtual Castle, and ascend the castle’s Outlook Tower to enjoy the most beautiful views of the city.