Ljubljana is the political and cultural heart of the Slovenian nation and a true city of culture. It is home to numerous theatres, museums and galleries, and boasts one of the oldest philharmonic orchestras in the world. The city is not that big and can easily be explored by foot. With a population of 50.000 students, it is a very young and vibrant city. We visited Ljubljana on our way back home from a visit to Croatia and were very lucky to be passing it at the time a music festival was being organized. We stayed in the very old Pod Lipo pension, not a 5 star hotel but a very nice and cosy place, with very friendly people, perfectly situated to go and explore the city center.
Historic old town
Squeezed between the castle hill and Ljubljanica river is the old town with two squares, Mestni trg (the City square) with the Robba fountain and the city hall behind it, and, further on, Gornji trg (Upper square). Well preserved medieval buildings now house local designer shops, and several popular cafes and restaurants. Several narrow lanes lead to charming little squares and buildings
The Prešeren square with the statue of Slovenian greatest poet France Prešeren is the central location of downtown Ljubljana and a common meeting point. From here, cross Ljubljanica and turn left for Open Market and the Dragon Bridge, or go straight and then right for the old town.
The triple bridge was designed by Jože Plečnik and cosists of three separate picturesque bridges located next to one another.
Catch the “tourist train” from the Triple Bridge to the castle, or walk up the (quite steep) hill to the castle, or take the Funicular Railway (the most fun way to get to the castle), the lower station is at the top of the main Open market. Entrance to the Castle Courtyard, Chapel, Wall and Gift shop is free, but there is a charge for access to the tower. The tower has magnificent views all over the city. You can also see the Sava River and Kamnik Alps in the distance. Included is a 3D Movie of the history of Ljubljana from a pre-historic settlement to Roman Empire to modern times.
Ljubljana Cathedral, officially named St. Nicholas’s Church or Cathedral, used to be a Gothic church. In the early 18th century, it was replaced by a Baroque building. It is an easily recognizable landmark of the city with its green dome and twin towers and stands at Cyril and Methodius Square by the nearby Ljubljana Central Market and Town Hall.
The dragon bridge was designed by Croatian Jurij Zainovich and was completed in 1901. It is guarded by four detailed dragon statues. Look out for the dragon motif throughout the city. The dragon bridge is located at the end of the Ljubljana Open Market, just a block or two down the river (north-east direction) from the Triple bridge