Attractions in Ljubljana
Monuments, historic buildings, churches. Purposeful wandering can through the town below the castle will lead you to interesting squares, lanes and buildings. Look out for the dragon motif throughout the city. The old city centre boasts numerous buildings with Baroque façades, and arched courtyards and staircases.
Zmajski Most (Dragon Bridge)
The present Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most) across the Ljubljanica river was built to replace the former wooden bridge called the Butchers' Bridge (Mesarski most), which was built in 1819. For reasons of economy, the Municipality of Ljubljana, who financed the building of the bridge, decided on a reinforced concrete construction, which was less expensive and more modern than stone constructions.
Built in the years 1900 to 1901 under the name of Jubilee Bridge (Jubilejni most), Dragon Bridge was Slovenia's first bridge with an asphalt paving. It is one of Ljubljana's most representative examples of Art Nouveau architecture, the city's first reinforced concrete bridge, and one of the first bridges of the kind in Europe. It was constructed by Professor Josef Melan, a famous engineer specializing in reinforced concrete bridge engineering and the father of the theory for large arched bridges statics calculations.
The Art Nouveau appearance of the bridge is due to the Dalmatian architect Jurij Zaninović, who studied under Professor Otto Wagner. He designed the decorative concrete covering, the balustrades and the sheet-copper dragon statues, which became the symbol of Ljubljana. The original designs envisaged winged lions instead of dragons. The bridge lamps, which used to be fuelled by gas, are part of the original decoration.
The Stari and Gornji trg Squares
The Stari trg square (Old Square), the earliest settled part of medieval Ljubljana, blends into the Gornji trg square (Upper Square), which slopes up towards the foot of the castle hill. Along with the Mestni trg square (Town Square - the third part of the medieval city centre) the two squares embrace the castle hill, so they are typically garland-shaped. Both the buildings in the Mestni trg square and those in the Stari trg and Gornji trg squares have Baroque front façades and medieval interiors. A lot of them were redesigned and connected to the neighbouring buildings in the 17th and 18th century. Only four buildings in the Gornji trg square preserved their medieval orientation with the roof ridges facing the square.
The broadest part of the Stari trg square, which blends into the lower part of the Gornji trg square, is the site of the Hercules Fountain, a modern interpretation of the original Baroque fountain. The building next to it is the famous Stična Mansion (Stiski dvorec). In the 18th century, a large part of the square was occupied by a Jesuit college and St. James's Church (Cerkev sv. Jakoba). When the college burnt down, the present Levstikov trg was built on its site.
The medieval Gornji trg square extended all the way to the town gate in the vicinity of the present castle hill tunnel, from where the road continued towards the Dolenjska region. The centre of the square has since 1672 been dominated by the Baroque Church of St. Florian (Cerkev sv. Floriana).
The central of the present three bridges forming the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) has stood in its place since 1842, when it replaced an old, strategically important medieval wooden bridge, which used to be a transit route between the countries of the Northwestern Europe and the Southeastern Europe including the Balkans. The Triple Bridge as a unique architectural speciality of Ljubljana was created when between the years 1929 and 1932 two more bridges, intended for pedestrians, were added to the original stone bridge by architect Jose Plečnik.
Plečnik removed the metal balustrades from the old stone bridge and furnished all the three bridges with massive stone balustrades and lamps. From each of the side bridges two stairways lead to the terraces situated just above the river, where poplar trees were planted to contribute to the overall appearance of the bridge.
On the right bank of the river, the bridge is enhanced by a small flower shop sited at the end of the Ljubljana Central Market colonnade, and on the right bank by a kiosk. Positioned on the crossing of the river axis and the axis running between the Roznik hill and the Castle Hill, the Triple Bridge is the key point on Plečnik's urban axes. In 1992, the Triple Bridge was thoroughly renovated.
Ljubljanski grad / Ljubljana Castle
Address: Grajska planota 1, Ljubljana
Tel: +386 (0)1 232 99 94
Fax +386 (0)1 232 99 94
Regular guided tours of the castle take place from 1 June to 15 September at 10:00 and 16:00 whereas from 16 September to 30 May they are available only by prior request. The tours begin on the bridge (at the main entrance to the Castle).
The Ljubljana Castle is open daily; in the winter time (1.10.-30.4.) 10:00-21:00,
in the summer time (1.5.-30.9.) 9:00-22:00
Ljubljana Card holders are entitled to a 20 percent discount either on tickets to the outlook tower and Virtual Museum or on the price of guided tours for a minimum of 5 persons.
Location description: Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad) is the most spectacular sight of Ljubljana. There is proven evidence that the hill on top of which it is situated was inhabited back in the 12th century BC Preserved from this early period of settlement are the remains of the Urn Tomb culture.
The first known fortification of considerable dimensions situated on top of the Castle Hill (Grad) was built in Illyrian and Celtic times. A stronghold was most probably located there also in Roman times. A document originating from the period between 1112 and 1125 mentions a medieval castle built in the 9th century, which served as the seat of the provincial rulers of the Spannheim family, who coined their own money in Ljubljana. In 1335 the castle became the hereditary property of the Hapsburg family and the centre of the Province of Carniola. In the second half of the 15th century a new, larger, circular castle was built by Duke Frederick III of Hapsburg, later crowned Roman German Emperor.
Except for the outer walls of the Chapel of St. George (Kapela sv. Jurija), which was consecrated in 1489, all the other main buildings of the present castle were either built or rebuilt in the 16th and 17th centuries. Until 1814 the castle served as a garrison and later a provincial prison. Built in 1848 was the Outlook Tower (Razgledni stolp), the home of the guard whose duty was to shoot cannons to warn against fire and announce important visitors and events taking place in Ljubljana - a duty previously performed by town servants at the Pipers' Tower (Stolp piskačev). In 1905 the castle was purchased by the Municipality of Ljubljana in order to be used for cultural purposes, but until 1964 it mainly served as a residential building. Afterwards it underwent a renovation, which has still been going on. Since 2000, the castle has been administered by the Festival Ljubljana festival management company.
Ljubljana Castle is a major tourist attraction and a picturesque venue of numerous cultural events including concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions, congresses and official receptions, which add a special flavour to the lively pulse of life in Ljubljana.
Guided Tours Pricelist
Adults: SIT 1,100 / EUR 4.59 per person
Students: SIT 790 / EUR 3.30 per person
Tours by Request
Groups of up to 8 persons: SIT 1,100 / EUR 4.59 per person
Groups of up to 20 persons: SIT 990 / EUR 4.14 per person
Groups of up to to 30 persons: SIT 790 / EUR 3.30 per person
School groups: SIT 640 / EUR 2.76 per person.
A short walk west of the centre of town are the remains of the Roman City Walls, including a number of columns from an entrance gate.
The town of Emona (Aemona) was built by the Romans in 14 BC on the territory of the present Ljubljana. The town was situated on the flat terrain of the so called Ljubljana Gate, a natural passage between the Castle Hill (Grad) and the Sisenski hrib hill, and an important transit route from Central Europe to the Mediterranean.
The ground plan of the town of Emona was rectangular, measuring 523 by 435 metres. It was divided by a grid of five or seven perpendicular streets called cardines and decumani, and fortified with a town wall with a number of towers and a moat. Underneath the streets there was the cloaca, the city's system of large sewer pipes discharging into the Ljubljanica river. The town fell into decline around the year 600 AD, with the arrival of Slavs, who started the settlement which subsequently developed into the medieval Ljubljana.
Zivalski vrt Ljubljana / Ljubljana Zoo
Address: Večna pot 70, Ljubljana
Tel: (0)1 244 21 82; (0)1 24 42 188
Fax (0)1 244 21 85
In the summer Ljubljana Zoo is open 9:00-19:00 daily, in winter 9:00-17:00, and in March and October 9:00-18:00.
Guided tour of the Zoo by night: Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Ljubljana Card holders can purchase tickets at a 15 percent discount.
Description: The Ljubljana Zoo is situated on the southern slope of the Roznik hill, in the natural environment of woods and meadows. It is an integral part of a protected natural park and other green areas, located approximately 20 minutes walking distance from the city centre. Visitors can admire numerous wild animal species from all continents living in their natural environment. Particular emphasis is laid on the animal species living at the junction of the Alpine, Pannonian and Mediterranean zoogeographical areas.
Location description: Zoo size: 19,6 ha
Length of walking paths: 6,5 km
Number of animal species: 152
Number of animals: 580
Creative workshops: daily
Admission fees: 1,300 tolars for adults, 1,200 tolars for schoolchildren and secondary school and university students, 800 tolars for preschoolers above the age of 2, free admission for babies.
Botanični vrt Ljubljana / Botanical Gardens
Address: Izanska cesta 15, Ljubljana
Tel: +386 (0)1 427 12 80
Opening hours: 7:00-19:00 daily from April to October,
7:00-17:00 daily from November to March and
in July and August daily from 7:00-20:00.
Free admission for Ljubljana Card holders.
Description: Established in 1810, the Ljubljana Botanical Gardens are Slovenia's oldest cultural, scientific and educational institution operating uninterruptedly ever since its foundation. The Gardens' plant collection includes more than 4,500 different species and subspecies, one third of which are autochthonous, while the rest of them originate from other parts of Europe and other continents.
The Gardens collaborate with more than 270 botanical gardens worldwide and are involved in scientific research and educational activities. They play an important role in the growing and protection of Slovenia's endemic and endangered (stricken, vulnerable and rare) species.
Rastlinjak Botaničnega vrta Ljubljana / Botanical Garden's Greenhouse
Address: Večna pot 111 , Ljubljana
Tel: +386 (0)1 427 12 80
Opening hours: the greenhouse is open for group visits only. Prior appointment is required and can be made by phone from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mondays to Fridays.
Admission fees: Tickets: 200 tolars; 100 tolars for children over the age of 7; free admission for children under the age of 7.
Flea Market and Antique Fair
Address: Cankarjevo nabrezje,
Opening hours: Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Description: Ljubljana's Antique Flea Market, located at the Cankarjevo nabrezje embankment, offers antiques, art pieces and a variety of other items of collectible or simply nostalgic value.
The various objects from the recent and distant past, many of which are still fit for use, such as furniture, decorative items and kitchenware, bear witness of consumer tastes and design trends in different periods of history, and notably of the former ways of life in Ljubljana and its surrounding areas.
The Antique Flea Market, which is held in special esteem, is a great place for little explorations which may lead to most surprising and unpredictable finds.