In order not to miss the most interesting places in Europe you need to visit the sights in Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia.
Top 15 Ljubljana Slovenia sights
The list of natural and architectural monuments worth seeing includes Ljubljana Castle, The Dragon Bridge, Prešeren Square, Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and many others.
And what are the features of each attraction?
Ljubljana Castle or Ljubljana Castle
It is a famous medieval fortress, located on a hill, towering above Ljubljana. Tourists can get there on foot or by funicular. This is the highest point of the capital.
Key facts about Ljubljana Castle
- The castle was built in the 12th century, the walls were added in the 15th century, the watchtower was erected in the 19th century.
- In the 15th century the castle was destroyed and rebuilt; a chapel was attached.
- In the 18th century, the fortress was used as a defensive fortification, and at the beginning of the 20th there was a prison.
- Among the famous prisoners of the castle were: poet Ivan Tsankar, revolutionary Lajos Battiani and writer Silvio Pellico.
- In the 12th century, the castle was owned by the princely family of Spenheim.
- In the 14th century, the fortress passed into the possession of the powerful Austrian princes of the Habsburgs.
Ljubljana castle is one of the symbols of the capital of Slovenia. In 1905, the building was purchased by the Mayor of Laibach to house the city museum. The plan was not implemented, and by decision of the authorities the poor were settled here. From 1960 to 1990, reconstruction was carried out in the fortress.
In 2006, a funicular was constructed to get to the top of Castle Hill. Today, in the castle, there is a permanent exhibition, which is dedicated to the history of the capital of Slovenia.
The Dragon Bridge
It is an architectural monument of Ljubljana, which is included in the list of the most recognizable and famous sights of the capital.
Basic Facts about the Dragon Bridge
- This is the first wooden bridge constructed in 1819 built over the Ljubljana River.
- In 1895, the bridge was damaged by an earthquake.
- In 1901, the Austrian engineer Joseph Melan and the architect Yuri Zaninovich designed and built a three-span arched bridge in the style of Viennese Art Nouveau. It became one of the first reinforced concrete bridges in Europe.
The Dragon Bridge was nicknamed thanks to the legend that is associated with this place. According to the legend, in this place, the famous leader of the Argonauts Jason defeated the winged serpent and freed the locals from fear.
Today it is an automobile bridge with cars from different parts of the world.
Tivoli Park – Ljubljana Slovenia sights
It is the largest garden of the city, located at the northwestern tip of its central part. Tivoli stretches to the Rozhnik district in the west, the Vich district in the south and to Shishka in the north. The area of the park is 500 (5 km).
Key facts about Tivoli Park
- The garden plan was developed by engineer Jean Blanchard in 1813.
- Since 1984, the landscape part of the park includes the Shishka and Rozhnik hills.
- Tivoli connects two other parks: one near the Tsekin mansion, and the other one near the Tivoli castle.
- Since 1880, in the southwestern part of the park, there is a rectangular pond. The pond was dug out for fishing, boating, and ice skating.
- Since 1894, the park has an arboretum created by the first professional Czech gardener Vaclav Heinik.
- During 1920 – 1939, the park was reconstructed under the leadership of Jože Plečnik. At that time, numerous alleys and hiking trails were laid in Tivoli, statues were erected, fountains and flower compositions were created.
- The main attractions in the garden are: Tivoli Castle, Tsekinsky Mansion, and Tivoli Sports Palace.
In the 20th century, a greenhouse, a botanical garden, playgrounds, and numerous sports facilities were built in the park. Illyria summer pool, an indoor pool with a gym, the Tivoli Sports Palace, a mini-golf course, basketball courts, and tennis courts were constructed.
Ljubljana Slovenia sights: Preshern Square
This is an irregular structure located in the center of Ljubljana. The square was named after the famous Slovenian poet Franz Prešern.
Key facts about Prešeren Square
- The construction has existed on the maps of Ljubljana since the 17th century.
- In the 16th century, the square was located at the gates of the fortress walls of the capital, later the gates were demolished.
- Communication with the Town Square was carried out across the Ljubljana’s river via a bridge.
- Since the 17th century a baroque church of the Annunciation and a Franciscan monastery were next to the square.
- Since 1842, the Franz bridge was built from the square to the opposite side of the river; it was later renamed The Triple Bridge.
- Since 1895, construction of buildings in the Art Nouveau and electrician styles started on the square.
- In 1901, tram tracks were laid.
- In 1905, a monument dedicated to F. Preshern, designed by Ivan Zayets was open.
Since 1991, Preshern Square was recognized as a cultural monument of local importance.
St. Nicholas Cathedral
It is a Catholic Church, created in the Baroque style in 1706. The architect and author of the project is Andrea del Pozzo. This is an active cathedral church, consecrated in honor of St. Nicholas of Myra.
Key facts about St. Nicholas Cathedral
- The church is located in the center of the capital on Cyril and Methodius Square, next to the city market building and the Ljubljana City Hall.
- The modern building was built in the 18th century on a less ancient Romanesque church of 1262.
- In 1361, the cathedral was built in the Baroque style.
- In 1461, the Church of St. Nicholas acquired the status of a cathedral, and Ljubljana became the center of the bishopric.
- The interior of the cathedral includes numerous frescoes created on the arch and walls. They were created at different time periods by Matevj Langus and Giulio Quaglio.
- In the 20th century, a baptismal font and a bishop’s chair appeared in the church.
In 1469, the church burned down again, presumably from organized arson. At the beginning of the 18th century, Janez Anton Dolnichar was the initiator of the rebuilding of the cathedral. In the temple, there is his portrait painted by artist Angelo Putti.
According to the project, the new Baroque cathedral was larger than the previous one. The architect and the engineer was Italian man Andrea del Pozzo. The finished temple was originally covered with a fake picturesque dome. In 1841, the present one was created, the one that is now on the cathedral.
The Triple Bridge – Ljubljana Slovenia sights
This is the famous Ljubljana bridge, which is deservedly recognized as the most unusual bridge in Europe. The construction consists of three separate bridges, diverging like fans in different directions located above Ljubljana. Ljubljana bridge connects the historical center of the capital with its new part – City and Prešeren Square.
Key facts about The Triple Bridge
- The central part of the Triple Bridge appeared at the beginning of the 20th century according to the project of Joze Plecnik. This is a modernized wooden Old Bridge, which has been here for many centuries since 1280.
- In 1842, the Italian architect Giovanni Picco created and implemented a project to build the first stone Franz bridge with two arches. Locals called it the Hospital bridge. In the 20th century, the construction had to be expanded.
- Side foot bridges were created in 1929 – 1931.
- In the 18th century, the building guarded a crucifix located in the center of the bridge. In 1796 it was transferred to the Franciscan church to be stored there.
- Throughout the 20th century, buses and trams ran along the bridge.
- The structure is decorated with numerous sculptures of dragons.
- In 2010, the asphalt part of the bridge was covered with granite slabs.
- Since 2009, The Triple Bridge was recognized as a monument of national importance.
Since 2007, the bridge and the historical center of the capital are closed to traffic. Residents and tourists like to walk along the central part of the structure. It is distinguished by original beauty and elegance.
Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
It is the most beautiful and largest temple in Ljubljana. The Franciscan Church of the Annunciation has been on the list of cultural monuments of national importance for many years. This is a famous landmark of the city with unique ancient architecture.
Key Facts About the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
- The church was constructed in 1660 by Augustinian monks.
- It was later captured by the Franciscans and rebuilt a bit.
- The church was built in the Baroque architectural style. Elegant festive facade of the building is made in red and white colors.
- The temple has an old baroque altar created by master Francesco Robb.
- The vaults of the church are painted with wonderful frescoes by Matteo Langus.
The Franciscan Church of the Annunciation is a beautiful building that is popular with tourists and locals.
Fountain of the Three Carniol Rivers
Three River Fountain or Robb Fountain continues the list of Ljubljana Slovenia attractions. This is a recognizable building in the capital, created by a distinguished Venetian architect.
Key facts about the Three Rivers Fountain
- The fountain was built in the period from 1743 to 1751.
- The fountain is made in the classical architectural Baroque style.
- The Italian architect modeled the structure in the image of Roman fountains.
- The fountain is decorated with three gods of water, which, according to legend, embody Ljubljanaitsa, Sava, and Krku – three Carniol rivers.
The base of the structure is made in the shape of a trefoil. The old city seal of Ljubljana was of the same form.
Ljubljana Slovenia sights: The butchers’ bridge
This is the Ljubljana lovers’ bridge where couple hang small locks along the railing. They do it as a sign of faithfulness and love for each other. When lovers began to hang locks on the bridge, the administration tried to prevent this but eventually stopped. As a result, the Butchers’ Bridge is called the Bridge of Lovers.
Key facts about The Butchers’ Bridge
- Initially, the construction of the bridge was planned in 1930 by the architect Joze Plecnik. However, due to World War II, construction work never began.
- For 50 years, the plan had never been implemented until the 1990s.
- Initially, it was proposed to build a bridge according to the initial plan of Plecnik, but in 2009 construction work began on a modern project.
- The modern bridge was opened on July 10, 2010.
- A pedestrian bridge connects Petkovshekskaya Embankment and Ljubljana Central Market.
- The bridge is decorated with grotesque figures of mollusks and frogs, as well as sculptures from Jewish and Christian mythology. There are Adam and Eve, Satyr struck by the Serpent, as well as Prometheus the fire-maker.
The modern bridge is decorated with wide upper shelves, there is a staircase on the left side and two fences with steel wire and glass walking belts on the sides. It was created according to the design of Yuri Kobe and decorated with sculptures by Jacob Brdar.
National Gallery of Slovenia
It is the leading art museum in Slovenia located in the city center.
Key facts about the National Gallery of Slovenia
- The museum was founded in 1918 due to the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.
- Initially, the exhibits of the gallery were stored in the palace of Cresius Ljubljana, and the museum moved to its current place in 1919.
- Near the museum, there is another attraction of the capital – Tivoli Park.
- The gallery stores collections of old banknotes, coins, archaeological finds, collections of drawings, prints, and objects of decorative art.
The National Gallery of Slovenia is the oldest scientific cultural institution of the state.
Mount of St. Mary – Ljubljana Slovenia sights
Originally, the mountain was called Holm – the island of Inselberg in the north of Ljubljana. It is part of the Shmarna Gora urban district and the highest hill in the city. Mount of St. Mary is a popular tourist destination; thousands of travelers from different parts of the world come here every year.
Key facts about Mount St. Mary
- The mountain has two peaks – in the west it is Mount St. Mary or Shmarna Mountain, 669 meters high, and Grmada in the southeast, 676 meters high.
- In clear weather, a wide view opens up from the mountain: in the north you can see the Triglav and the Stol mountains, in the south the Crimea and Snezhnik mountains and the peak of the Trdina mountain. The nearby hills are Rashitsa, Rozhnik, and Naked Hill.
- Numerous villages are located near the hill: Tacen in the southeast, Spodnje Pirniche and Vikrce in the west, Zavr in the north.
- At the top of the mountain, a bell tower rings daily half an hour before noon.
Various trees grow on the south side of the mountain: fluffy oak, hornbeam. On the north side, the hill is covered with beech forest.
Shmarna Gora is a popular place for active pastimes for locals and tourists. Visitors go to the top on foot in one of the 50 routes. At the top there are benches and a restaurant. The mountain has become home to martens, foxes, and deer.
Slovenian Ethnographic Museum
A storehouse of information about the history and culture of Slovenia continues the list of Ljubljana Slovenia attractions. The Slovenian Ethnographic Museum is located in the center of Ljubljana.
Key facts about the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum
- The museum was founded in 1923 from ethnographic collections that were transferred from the National Museum of Slovenia.
- Over the years of active scientific and research activities, its collection has been replenished with dozens of new exhibits. They are household items, finds of archaeologists, clothes, jewelry, armor, and weapons of different eras.
- The exposition space is divided into 4 sections: the first section stores exhibits that relate to Slovenian architecture; the second section focuses on exhibits dedicated to fishing, hunting and other methods of food production; the third section contains household items and clothing; in the fourth section there are subjects on the cultural aspect of the life of Slovenes.
All exhibits of the museum are connected with the culture and history of the Slovenian ethnic group. However, in the museum you can find expositions that are devoted to the anthropology of South American, Asian, and African peoples.
Ljubljana Slovenia sights: Funicular
This is the only cable car in Ljubljana. It has been operating since December 2006.
Key facts about the funicular
- The difference in height is about 70 meters.
- A breathtaking panoramic view of Ljubljana opens from the top observation deck.
The funicular is located on a high hill and connects Ljubljana Castle and Kreka Square.
Botanical Garden of Ljubljana
This is the oldest botanical garden in southeastern Europe and the main one in the country. The Ljubljana Botanical Garden is an honored landscape national monument, as well as the country’s scientific and cultural center.
Key facts about the Ljubljana Botanical Garden
- The Botanical Garden of the University of Ljubljana was founded in 1810.
- The founders of the park were Frank Hladnik and Auguste Marmont.
- On the territory of 2 hectares of the park more than 4,500 species of plants grow.
- Today, the botanical garden collaborates with 270 similar gardens around the world. A third of them were brought from different parts of Slovenia, others were brought from other continents and countries.
- In May 2010, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Ljubljana Botanical Garden, a commemorative coin “200 years of the Ljubljana Botanical Garden” was issued with a face value of 2 euros.
In 1810, in the spring, transplantation of plants that were previously grown in the garden of the Lyceum began. In total, 2,000 plants were planted from different parts of the country. The opening ceremony was attended by Marshal Marmont, who then planted a linden tree. The tree still dominates among the other trees of the garden. Tourists and locals like to walk around the park.
Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius
This is an Orthodox church, created in the Neo-Byzantine style – with a five-domed church. The church was built in 1936 – 1940. The work was interrupted due to the German invasion. In 1986, construction was resumed.
Basic facts about the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius
- An Orthodox parish in the capital of Slovenia was founded in 1921.
- In 1932, Barnabas, the Serbian patriarch, consecrated the foundation of a new church. In the same year, the architect Momir Korunovich developed a building project.
- In 1940, the King of Yugoslavia, Peter II Karageorgievich, presented the church with an iconostasis, which was made by debarian masters Lazar and Nestor Alekseevich. Icons were created by the artist Mirko Shubits.
- The temple was decorated with frescoes in 1986 – 1994 under the direction of Dragomir Yashovich.
- In 2003, the bell tower was consecrated.
- October 23, 2005 there was a solemn consecration of the temple by the patriarch Serbian Paul.
- The total area of the temple is 2000 square meters
In 2010, the church was proclaimed a cultural monument of local importance.
These and other Ljubljana Slovenia attractions attract locals and tourists from all over the world. The capital of the Balkan country is striking in its splendor of architectural structures dating from different centuries.