Ljubljana – A Charming Destination

August 28, 2011 · Posted in Europe, Travel 

Avoid the crowds and enjoy a fabulous vacation in the Balkans by planning a trip to Ljubljana. Never heard of it? That’s the best part! Ljubljana is one of the few capital cities that doesn’t register in the minds of most travellers. The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana boasts a rich culture, colourful history, generous people, stunning architecture, and numerous attractions.

Ljubljana is a city of eclectic contrasts; it blends old with new, honouring the past, yet embracing the future. Medieval, baroque, and art nouveau buildings stand side by side, providing a glimpse of Ljubljana’s storied past.

In 1895, a 6.1 earthquake severely damaged the city centre. While the earthquake destroyed many buildings, it spared others. A massive renovation followed, giving modern Ljubljana its own unique charm. This wasn’t the first earthquake to destroy Ljubljana. An earlier quake occurred in 1511, spawning rebuilding efforts in the renaissance style.

Ljubljana Castle, a huge 12th century castle, stands guard over the city. Despite surviving for hundreds of years, the castle is relatively young when you consider that humans have lived in the area since 1200 B.C.

Ljubljana has been occupied and controlled by various forces over the years including the Romans, Huns, Franks, Bohemians, Hapsburgs, Austrians, Italians, and Germans. It became part of communist Yugoslavia after World War II before Slovenia became an independent nation in 1991.

With its share of heartbreak, the city’s symbol, the Ljubljana Dragon, serves as a testament to the people’s resiliency. The dragon symbolizes power, courage, and greatness. Look for the dragon on the Dragon Bridge, on a tower of Ljubljana Castle, and in the Ljubljana coat-of-arms.

Other must-see sights include: the Town Hall and its Bernini-inspired Robba’s fountain; Nicholas Cathedral; and Butcher’s Bridge, a footbridge by architect Joze Plecnik, featuring sculptures by Jakov Brdar. Throughout the city, you’ll find additional designs by Plecnik such as the National and University Library.

Despite its history and fantastic architectural examples spanning the ages, Ljubljana has a distinctly modern urban appeal with its clubs, bars, and coffee houses. Here you’ll find friendly, welcoming locals, good conversation, and the courageous spirit of the Ljubljana Dragon.

Farmers markets, flea markets, and upscale department stores compete for travellers who love to shop while small local wineries wait to be discovered. If you’re looking for a cultural experience, you’ll find it here. Long known for its art, Ljubljana boasts dozens of art and history museums, hundreds of annual events, and numerous annual music festivals.

Ljubljana offers something for everyone including outdoor enthusiasts. From winter sports in the Alps and the sparkling blue waters of the Adriatic to hiking, hockey, and wandering the gardens of Ljubljana, an adventure is never more than an hour’s drive away.

Few travellers know about Ljubljana. It is a well-kept secret that is easy to get to. Regular flights depart from over 30 international cities including London, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. If you want an unforgettable getaway in a city that will capture your heart, plan a trip to Ljubljana.

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