Exploring Ljubljana







I was really amazed by the beauty of this capital city.  It has a great style. There are older buildings mixed in with some great contemporary design.  There are charming shops, many outdoor cafes along the river and in the City Market area, stunning churches, great art, great street art and excellent restaurants.  I had a ball exploring and found the following:

Ljubljana Castle:  I suggest taking the funicular up and down and exploring the Museum of Slovenian history and the Viewing Tower for views of the city below.  I really enjoyed learning about the history of Slovenia from the Roman times, to Medieval times, to their Independence in 1991 and to the present.  There are concerts, dance performances and dancing evenings at the Castle as well.  There are also some excellent restaurants that you can try while exploring the Castle.

The Central Market:  Make sure to visit this colorful local market featuring flowers, fruits, vegetables, clothing and other goods.  Along the market and the river are many small cafés and coffee houses that are filled with locals enjoying their coffee in the morning.  There are also permanent cheese stores, butcher shops and some selling dried fruits and nuts.  I also found a small area near the Cathedral where there were women selling wonderful dried flower arrangements.  I found one who picks her flowers, dries them and then makes them into beautiful note cards and framed pictures.

Ljubljana Music Days:  Check out this music festival in mid-March for music by contemporary Slovenian composers and performed by local orchestras and soloists.

Ljubljana City Hall:  I happened to walk by and was glad I stopped in.  It had some old architecture and some interesting contemporary art exhibitions as well in two rooms on the first floor.

Contemporary Architecture:  Ljubljana has some very interesting contemporary architecture.  Included on your list should be the National Gallery of Slovenia with its glass entrance atrium, the Ferantov Vrt Building at Slovenska Cesta 9 by Edvard Ravikar, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the R5 triangular building at Vilharjeva Cesta by Andrej Cernigoj that looks like a mountain peak or sail.  You can see it from the Castle and from the train station.

MG+MSUM:  There are two museums dedicated to modern and contemporary art.  MG or the Museum of Modern Art at Tomsiceva 14.  The museum that features modern works from the early 1900’s to Slovenian Independence in June, 1991. MSUM features works from this time forward.  It features cutting edge multi-media art from Eastern Europe in a contemporary building with a canted concrete façade from 2011.  It is located at Maistrova Ulica 3, on the northeast part of the city.  I highly recommend seeing both, but my favorite was the MG.  There is also a 50% discount if you visit one and then the other by showing your ticket.

Metelkova City:  Next to the MSUM is this series of military barracks and warehouses that have been converted to an art space of clubs and galleries, with the buildings covered in street art and graffiti.  There are some interesting sculptures and painted furniture as well. This is not to be missed if you love street art, which I do!

National Gallery:  I thoroughly enjoyed the National Gallery.  I enjoyed the permanent collection featuring many Slovenian artists, but was thrilled to see an Impressionist painting exhibition with works by Monet, Renoir, Boudin and Vouilard about the early period of the movement in Normandy France.  The museum’s new entrance and glass atrium from 2001 by Sadar + Vuga connects the two wings.  Persernova Cesta 24.

The Churches:  There are some really stunning churches in the Old City.  Make sure to visit the Cathedral or Church of St. Nicholas, the Franciscan church at the famous Triple Bridge and the small church with beautiful painted walls and ceilings across from the contemporary atrium entrance to the National Museum.