Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. It is geographical, political, scientific, economic, administrative and cultural center of Slovenian nation and most important economic center. Ljubljana was at the crossroads of Germanic, Romance and Slavic people, their languages, customs and traditions, which significantly impact on its history.
That Ljubljana became leading economic leader helped various factors, such as traffic connections, concentration of industry, scientific and resarch institutions and trading tradition. In Ljubljana is the seat of Slovenian National Assembly.
According to the legend, the first settlement, on the place of todays Ljubljana, was founded by the Argonauts – the ancient Greek hero Jason. The whole story is presented below under Ljubljana dragon, which is the symbol of Ljubljana. At the same time, it appears in the coat of arms of the city of Ljubljana, it is also depicted on Dragon bridge, which is considered as the most beautiful bridge of the Vienna Secession. The dragon symbolizes the strength, courage and greatness. Until the age of Baroque, dragon was more or less just a decoration, since Baroque onwards it strongly stands out.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME OF LJUBLJANA
How the name Ljubljana became to be is not quite clear, but for this there are several hypotheses. Accordning to to first the name derived from the old Slavic aquatic deity Laburus, but ethnologist Robert Vrčon claims that the name came from the Latin word for river, which was flooding – aluviana. But some believe that the name derives from German word Laubach or lukewarm brook. Anton Tomaž Linhart highlighted word loved, but the only similarity is folketymological.
One of this interpretations is, that the city got his name after the river Ljubljanica. In the Middle Ages, for the river they used German term Laibach, which means stagnant water and is causing the floods. The name was in official use since 1918. Some other etymologists established that the name Ljubljana came from substractive name leubgh, indicating the skull in shape of the hill, exactly the one on which Ljubljana castle is standing. Modern etymology avoids the indications of substractive names, that were borrowed at native inhabitant. In etymological dictionary of Slovenian geographical names Silvo Torkar and Marko Snoj indicated the etymology of the name Ljubljana, which supposed to came from name Ljubovid, probably the founder of settlement from which Ljubljana occured. Ljubovid could be shorten to Ljubid, from that was formed aquatic (river) name Lubidja and from that occured name Ljubija. This name is used today for right flow of river Ljubljanica west from Vrhnika. And this name can be further shortened into Ljuba. Inhabitants of the settlement, which stood next to the river named Ljub(i)ja, were named Ljubljane, from which it passed to todays term Ljubljana. Interpretation of Torkar was based on the fact, that hamlets and rivers were mainly named by local inhabitants.
LJUBLJANA DRAGON – THE SYMBOL OF LJUBLJANA
The symbol of city Ljubljana is Ljubljana dragon, which depicts strenght, courage and greatness. It is seen on Dragon bridge and on the top of the castle tower on Ljubljana coat of arms.
History of Ljubljana dragon
Ljubljana dragon could originate from the legend about Jason and Argonauts. In Greek times, Jason and his comrades Argonauts stole golden rune (the skin of golden ram) from the king Kolhide at Black sea. They run from pursuers on a ship Argo, instead in domestic Greece on the south, they found their selfs in the mouth of the river Danube. Since there was no turning back, they continue their way up the river Danube, later on river Ljubljanica and they stopped at the spring of river Ljubljanica, where they taken the ship apart and spent a winter there. In the summer they brought the ship all the way to the coast of Adriatic sea, put the ship togheter and traveled forward. The legend says, that when they came to the place between todays Vrhnika and Ljubljana, Argonauts came across a big lake with marsh next to it. Here lived dreadfully marsh monster, which Jason heroically killed in battle. This monster supposed to be Ljubljana dragon. By beliefs Jason is the first inhabitant of Ljubljana. There are two more realistic stories about the dragon.
First was summirised by saint St. George, patron of castle chapel, which was depicted on frescos and statues, in which he always stands or rides with a spear killing the dragon. The legend about St. George represents old belief of ancestors, but new Semitic religion – Christianity beats it. In times of antiquity the castle hill was holy place. Here the bearers of this culture of urn burial grounds had its own fortress and worshiped his own God. By layint he foundations of today’s castle in Middle Ages they wanted symbolically overcome ancient beliefs, due which they also consecrated a castle chapel to St. George. Ljubljana dragon was in Slavic mythology represented as God Veles, who was an oppnent of Perun, the supreme Slavic God. Perun was usually hallowed on the hill, Veles lower, usually clost to the market.
Second explanation is connected to the first, since the dragon evolved from decoration on the medieval town coat of arms, which initially represented only city wall or city doors. The animal, created as a decoration above the coat of arms, in the time of Baroque moved from into coat of arms, and in 19th, especially in 20th, century overgrew the tower and other symbolism. As part of the coat of arms it was depicted on a number of buildings that were owned by the city. After WWII it was used by different companies, from labels for beer bottles, as the name of the battery factory or as a prize for fashin achievements. It was depicted even on a carton of famous cigarettes named Filter 57.
The city of Ljubljana lays in a basin with an area of 163.8 square kilometres, in the central part of Slovenia. The height above sea level reaches 298 meters,, which was measured nearby river Ljubljanica. However, the Castle hill where the Ljubljana castle resides, reaches 366 meters. Janški hill, with it’s 794 meters, represents the highest point above sea level in the Ljubljana municipality.
Several rivers flow across Ljubljana basin, these are Ljubljanica, Sava, Stokalca, Gradaščica, Mali graben, , Bizoviški potok,Pržanec, Ižica, Gameljščica, Črnuščica, Studenšica, Rastučnik, Bajer, Gobovšek Graben, Dobrunjščica, Glinščica in Dolgi potok. At this spot we have to also mention artificially built Grubar’s canal, planned by Gabriel Gruber. The canal was built because the river Ljubljanica kept overflowing.
On the south edges of the city we can find wetland meadows, that biodiversity wise represent a very rich area named the Ljubljana marshes. In the year 2008 Landscape park Ljubljana marshes was established.
Although higher and newer buildings keep appearing on the outskirts of the city, the historic city centre of Ljubljana is still keeping its appearance, for which older buildings are representative. Along the newer houses, baroque and secessional stile is appearing with the historical buildings. The city center is marked with the Ljubljana castle, placed on castle hill. Settlements on the area of the hill have been constantly present from the year 1200 B.C.
Old city centre is presented by the medieval walled in part wit the city hall, university library, Slovenian academy of sciences and arts, The Križanke complex, and several churches. Newer part of the town includes baroque and later expansions towards Tivoli park – university headquarters, Ursuline church, The Slovenian Philharmonic and Cankarjev dom. After the earthquake in the 1511 Ljubljana was rebuilt, anew reorganization has been done in 18th century in the baroque stile, and again after the earthquake in the year 1895. Than the city was widened and completed with historical palaces in the stile of art nuveau. Today’s city architecture is therefore a mix of several stiles. Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik has also left his mark in the city architecture.
Over the river Ljubljanica and Grubers’ canal, and other rivers, there have been built many bridges. The most well-known among them are Triple Bridge at Prešeren square and in Dragon Bridge at city market.
Ljubljana also has several wells in the city centre, present there from the times when the city was established. They were important for the development of the city and had influence on its today’s appearance. Some of the wells were famous already in the antique Emona. Altogether, Ljubljana had 40 working wells. These days they mainly have decorative purposes in squares and parks, but they do have important cultural and historical backgrounds. The most important of the wells, Robb Fountain, can be found on Town Square (its replica). It is built in the baroque stile. The original is kept in the National Gallery since 2006, because it had begun to show the effects of weather exposure.
Ljubljana offers a lot of green areas in the form of parks and gardens, together covering around 30 ha. Largest park, with 17.5 ha, is the Tivoli park, planned by a French, J. Blanchard. Together with Rožnik and Šišensk hill, it forms a landscape park.
The rest of the area is covered by 28 smaller parks, the most renowned are:
Argentinski park, Šmartinski park, park Zvezda, Miklošičev park, park Ajdovščina and park Arturo Toscanini.
The city of Ljubljana is divided on 17 city districts, each having their own administration, this is why they are accepting the proposals from members of the community and and are forwarding them to the competent agencies of City municipality of Ljubljana (MOL). At the same time they are involved in the preparation and execution of activities on the field of quarter communities. Once Ljubljana was divided only in five independent communities – Bežigrad, Center, Moste-Polje, Šiška and Vič-Rudnik.
Bežigrad, Center, Črnuče, Dravlje, Golovec, Jarše, Moste, Polje, Posavje, Rožnik, Rudnik, Sostro, Šentvid, Šiška, Šmarna gora, Trnovo and Vič.
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Travel from Ljubljana
Nomago will take you to your destination – major cities around Slovenia: Bled, Maribor, Postojna, Koper or other place. From Ljubljana to the airport: Venice, Treviso, Trieste or Brnik. You can rent-a-vehicle and travel around Slovenia freely. Book a plane ticket or take a trip with Nomago travel agency. [_Read more_]
Adamič-Lunder embankment is a street in the center of Ljubljana, which runs from the Triple Bridge towards the Dragon bridge. The street is dedicated to the memory of Ivan Adamič and Rudolf Lunder, young Slovenian boys, who died here due to German military violence on September 20th 1908. [_Read more_]
Galluss embarkment is located on the right bank of river Ljubljanica, it is known by many Antiques, stores and bars. Embarkment is among popular promenades for residents and tourists. Here we can see the old city houses with renovated antique facades and decorated granite paths. [_Read more_]
Tivoli Park is the biggest and most beautiful park of the city Ljubljana. Park covers an area of 5 km2, it was designed for walking, running, admiration of nature and relaxing in beautiful environment. It is a part of the landscape park, which includes Šišenski hill and Rožnik. [_Read more_]
Slovenia is is world known also for its vines and wine, the country is divided into 3 wine growing lands: Posavje, Podravje and Primorska. These lands are furthermore divided into 8 wine growing regions. Slovenian vineyards cover around 25.000 ha of area, where 45 species of grapevine grows. [_Read more_]
Statue of Anton Trstenjak
Statue of Anton Trstenjak was in Ljubljana uncovered at the memorial ceremony, 100th anniversary of his birth and 10th anniversary of his death. Memorial ceremony and solemn academy were prepared by the Establishment of dr. Anton Trstenjak and City municipality Ljubljana. [_Read more_]
Golovec is a tree-covered hill, southeast from the city centre of Ljubljana with the highest peak Mazovnik (450 meters). It represents a continuation of Šišenski hill (Rožnik) and Grajski hump. It is an integral part of Posavje hill. Golovec consist mostly of Paleozoic clay, sandstone and marl. [_Read more_]