STA, 13 September 2019 - Ljubljana and a total of 25 surrounding municipalities have signed an agreement to cooperate in the bid of the Slovenian capital to be awarded the title of the European Capital of Culture (ECC) in 2025. They are joining Lendava, Nova Gorica, Ptuj, Kranj and Piran as the candidate cities.
The agreement was signed in Ljubljana on Friday by mayors and representatives of the 26 municipalities, which comprise the Ljubljana Urban Region, followed by the opening of the ECC information office in Stritarjeva Street.
Nina Peče Grilc, who heads the team preparing the bid, announced an ambitious programme with which Ljubljana and the partner municipalities "will respond to challenges of the future and increase the quality of live in the region."
According to her, the bid is an opportunity for all potential hosts to strengthen the role of culture in their development plans, and create a new regional cultural identity by connecting artists and building a new audience.
Peče Grilc said that a successful ECC project would have a positive effect on the entire region, both in culture and in related fields, such as tourism, education, healthcare, social cohesiveness, creative industries and environmental protection.
A public call for the submission of programme concepts will be published next week, she said, adding that the agreement contained a number of commitments, including that at least a third of events take place outside the Ljubljana municipality.
Lilijana Madjar, the director of the regional development agency, said that the ECC was a "flattering title, an excellent brand and a great commitment".
Mateja Demšič of the culture department at the Ljubljana municipality added she was happy that culture had become another binding agent among the participating municipalities, noting that the region was already connected through many projects.
Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković expressed the wish that culture projects reach beyond the region, and announced that in Ljubljana, which annually hosts 14,000 cultural events, their number would increase further with the ECC title.
Slovenia has been selected to get the ECC title in 2025 along with Germany, with the other potential candidate cities being Kranj, Ptuj, Lendava, Piran and Nova Gorica, some of them with partner cities.
Slovenia's second largest city Maribor held the title in 2012 together with Portugal's Guimaräes.
It’s always fun to read travel guides to places you know, to see what’s being sold as the real thing and how it compares to your experience. We thus turned with interest to the UK Independent’s recent article, “Maribor Guide: Where To Eat, Drink, Shop And Stay In Slovenia’s Second City”, by Pavlo Fedykovych.
The author touches on the inevitable (the World’s Oldest Vine and the Old Town), gives a very brief look at some cultural options, and then explores what to do in the surrounding environment. The bridge across the Drava is noted as architectural highlight. Turning to Maribor’s restaurant and bar scene, the newspaper presents Mak restaurant and Malca Minogrede among the former, and Piranha Cocktail Bureau and LUFT 360 among the latter.
You can see the full article, and other suggestions for how spend your time in Maribor, here.
STA, 16 September 2019 - The business newspaper Finance comments on Monday about the debt of the Janković family that has recently been written off, wondering who and why is afraid of the family of Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković.
The key question in all this is who is the man who bought most of the debt of Janković's sons Jure and Damijan. Where has the money, some EUR 30 million, including a EUR 5 million debt held by Zoran Janković, come from?
The paper also wonders whether any authority is looking into the assets of the man, a Jan Bec, who bought the debts.
This is not the only scandal involving the Janković family, the author of the commentary notes. "Personally, I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, but there have simply been too many happy endings involving the Janković family to call it luck."
"Considering all the scandals and financial 'innovations' it is only logical to ask: Who and why is afraid of the Janković family?" the paper wonders in a commentary with the same headline.
STA, 13 September 2019 - Slovenian Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar proposed that Slovenia and Austria form joint police patrols to police the Slovenian-Austrian border, as he hosted his counterpart Wolfgang Peschorn for a visit in Ljubljana on Friday.
Peschorn, saying it was a good proposal, announced the Austrian government would examine it to see if it could fully contain the migration pressure.
Slovenia has recently introduced similar police patrols with Italy.
Poklukar reiterated Slovenia's stance that Austria's border checks with Slovenia had a negative impact on local population on both sides of the border, causing economic damage and long lines of vehicles on the shared border.
He said this was the reason why he had suggested Austria eliminated border checks and set up mixed police patrols with Slovenia.
The Austrian minister said the government planned to take a new decision on the border checks in mid-October.
Austria introduced checks on the border with Slovenia, which is an internal EU border, at the peak of the 2015 refugee crisis, and has been extending them ever since.
Poklukar also announced Slovenia would soon send its police attache to the Austrian capital of Vienna.
Both ministers said they supported effective control of the EU's external borders and a comprehensive solution to the migration issue at the EU level.
The Salzburg Forum, meeting in Vienna in November, will thus discuss initiatives for a more efficient asylum and migration policy.
A message needs to be sent out that illegal migrations and human smuggling do not pay off, the Austrian minister stressed, adding that this applied to the Balkan route as well as other routes in the Mediterranean.
Poklukar acknowledged that illegal migrations have been increasing for four years, but he said there was "no cause for concern". "Slovenia is a safe country and Slovenian police are managing the situation."
As Poklukar noted, Slovenian police had apprehended roughly 9,800 illegal migrants so far this year, with the majority returned to Croatia; Austria, meanwhile returned only 62 persons to Slovenia.
"This data shows that Slovenia conducts effective control of its southern border."
Both officials also commented on the threat by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he will open Turkey's borders and let Syrian refugees into Europe.
Peschorn said "announcements are commonplace in polit
On the sidelines of the visit, he decorated two Slovenian police officers wiics, but it is always important what happens," but stressed that the situation on the Turkish-Greek border would inform Austria's decision on whether to extent police checks.
Poklukar said that the 2016 deal the EU struck with Turkey in 2016 helped significantly reduce migrations from Syria and the Middle East. Slovenia's position is that the deal is very important.
STA, 16 September 2019 - Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will be in Ljubljana on Monday as the first Indian president to visit the country. He will be received with military honours by President Borut Pahor, will have a working lunch with Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and meet parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan.
Following the reception ceremony in Congress Square, Kovind will lay a wreath at the monument to victims of wars, after which the presidents will hold talks behind closed doors.
Talks between Slovenian and Indian delegations will be attended by Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, after which several cooperation agreements will be signed. The presidents will hold a joint press conference just before noon.
Kovind will also have a working lunch with Šarec and meet Židan in the afternoon.
This will be followed by a Slovenian-Indian business conference, one of the key events organised as part of the visit. The conference, organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), will see the signing of a cooperation memorandum.
Before dinner, to be hosted by Pahor, the two presidents will visit the Ljubljana-based International Centre for Promotion of Enterprises (ICPE), where they will unveil a Bench of Friendship.
Official portrait of Shri Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, Wikipedia
STA, 14 September 2019 - Ram Nath Kovind, the president of India, will pay his first official visit to Slovenia on Monday for talks with his host, President Borut Pahor. The pair is to discuss bilateral cooperation, the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency in the second half of 2021, and the situation in India. A business forum will also be held.
Cooperation between Slovenia and India is versatile and also has a legal basis, but the presidential visit is to further enhance these ties, especially political dialogue and business cooperation, according to Pahor's office.
The two countries traditionally have good relations. Pahor paid an official visit to the country with a strong business delegation in 2011 at the invitation of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Pahor and Kovind are also expected to express strong support for multilateralism under the sponsorship of the UN, and discuss the situation in India and the wider region of South Asia. Cooperation between India and the EU will also be on the agenda.
India is Slovenia's third most important foreign trade partner in Asia after China and South Korea. Bilateral trade in 2018 was the highest in the last five years, reaching EUR 361 million or 34% more than in 2017.
Slovenian and Indian companies have recently set up several join ventures specialising in car parts, construction materials and abrasives.
Kovind will be accompanied by a business delegation, compiled by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), which will attend the Slovenian-Indian business forum.
Several agreements are expected to be signed as part of the forum, which will be a continuation of efforts for cooperation initiated during a visit by a Slovenian delegation from transport and logistics in Mumbai and Chennai this April.
Pahor and Kovind will also unveil a bench of friendship in front of the Ljubljana-based International Center for Promotion of Enterprises (ICPE).
Slovenia opened an embassy in new Delhi in 2002 but sent its first ambassador to the country, Janez Premože, only in September 2009.
India in turn opened its residential embassy in Ljubljana in March 2008, when Indian Foreign Minister Ananda Sharma paid a visit.
The first Slovenian president to pay an official visit to India was Janez Drnovšek in January 2007. He attended an international conference marking the 100th anniversary of the Mathama Ghandi peace movement in New Delhi and met top officials.
In February 2004, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel visited.
More recent exchanges include a working visit by President Danilo Türk in February 2010, a visit by Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec in 2013 and a multi-day visit by National Assembly Speaker Milan Brglez two years later.
All our stories on Slovenia and India are here
A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here
This summary is provided by the STA:
Roglič wins La Vuelta, Pogačar third
MADRID, Spain - Cycling sensation Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) became the first Slovenian to win a grand tour race, as he climbed the podium of La Vuelt. What is more, another Slovenian, the young Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), completed the three-week race in place three and claimed the white jersey of the best young cyclist. Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde was the only non-Slovenian on the podium.
LMŠ remains most popular party, govt approval rating rising
LJUBLJANA - The prime minister's party continues to top party rankings and the government approval rating continues to rise in the latest Vox Populi poll, commissioned by the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer, and the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) polled at 23.3% in September, up from 22.2% last month, and is followed by the opposition Democrats (SDS) at 15.5% (the same as last month). The coalition Social Democrats (SD) ranked third at 9.8% (down from 10.0% last month) and the opposition Left fourth at 6.9% (6.2% last month). The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) follows with a 4.7% support, while the rest of the parties were below the 4% parliamentary threshold.
Slovenia continue winning at European Volleyball Championship
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian men's national volleyball team scored its second win in a row at the European Championship as it defeated Finland 3:1 (18, 24, -24, 15) on Saturday evening at Ljubljana's Stožice Arena in Group C. Slovenia are second in the group behind the defending champions Russia, who have three wins in as many matches. After the opening 3:0 win against Belarus on Thursday, Slovenia had a tougher opponent in Finland and had to play four sets, with the Finns narrowly winning the third one.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 15 September 2019 - Cycling sensation Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) became the first Slovenian to win a grand tour race, as he crossed the finish line of La Vuelta in Madrid on Sunday. What is more, another Slovenian, the young Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), completed the three-week race in place three and claimed the white jersey of the best young cyclist.
Roglič's total time was 83 hours, 31 minutes and seven seconds and he also claimed the green jersey for the highest tally of points.
In second place, Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde finished the race in 83 hours, 9 minutes and 47 seconds, while Pogačar completed it in 83 hours, 10 minutes and 9 seconds.
The victory for Roglič, a 29-year-old former ski jumper, comes after a third place at the Giro d'Italia this year, another grand tour. He sat out this year's Tour de France to prepare for la Vuelta but also because he became father for the first time.
Roglič claimed the red jersey of la Vuelta in stage 10, becoming the first Slovenian to win a stage at all three grand tours and only the 99th cyclist to do so.
For the 20-year-old Pogačar, this was the first ever grand tour. He has shown what he is made of by winning three very demanding stages and has become the first UAE Team Emirates member to climb a grand tour podium since the team was renamed in 2017.
Keep up with the daily news in Slovenia by checking the morning headlines here
This summary has been prepared by the STA:
MONDAY, 16 September
LJUBLJANA - Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will start an official visit at the invitation of Slovenia's Borut Pahor.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Foreign Ministry State Secretary will attend a session of the EU's General Affairs Council.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into alleged abuse at the Bank Assets Management Company will set the course of action.
LJUBLJANA - A conference on smart cities organised by several research institutions and local-government associations.
LJUBLJANA - The European Mobility Week will start, with 78 municipalities participating with activities to reduce road traffic.
LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office will release July pay data.
TUESDAY, 17 September
LJUBLJANA - The Economic and Social Council will debate the budget bills for 2020 and 2021.
LJUBLJANA - Cypriot Parliament Speaker Demetris Syllouris will pay a visit.
LJUBLJANA - The Public Administration Ministry will present a package of proposed changes to the public sector pay system.
KRANJ - The management of Gorenjska Banka will speak about the bank's performance and business plans.
PORTOROŽ - The Metod Badjura Award for lifetime achievement will be conferred as the Festival of Slovenian Film gets under way.
RAVNE NA KOROŠKEM - The Festival of Slovenian Jazz will open with a concert by Gal Furlan.
MARIBOR - An exhibition on Poland's suffering during WWII will open at the Museum of National Liberation.
WEDNESDAY, 18 September
BERN, Switzerland - President Borut Pahor will start a two-day official visit to Switzerland.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee will be in session.
LJUBLJANA - Jorge Domecq, chief executive of the European Defence Agency, will meet Defence Minister Karl Erjavec during a working visit to Slovenia.
LJUBLJANA - Stolpersteine, concrete blocs with brass plates bearing the names of Holocaust victims, will be installed at several locations in Ljubljana as part of European Days of Jewish Culture.
KOPER - The Ironman 70.3 Slovenian Istria, taking place on 22 September, will be presented to the press.
THURSDAY, 19 September
LJUBLJANA - Weekly government session.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Home Policy Committee will resume a debate on how Slovenia is protecting the Schengen border.
KOPER - The parliamentary commission for the Italian and Hungarian minorities will debate bilingual services provided by administrative bodies in bilingual areas.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary subcommittee on Roma will discuss representation of the Romany communities on local councils.
MURSKA SOBOTA - The Večernica Prize for best children's book will be conferred.
LJUBLJANA - The Forum of Slavic Cultures will host an international conference of the European Museum Academy.
FRIDAY, 20 September
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Commission for Slovenians Abroad will debate progress in the repatriation of ethnic Slovenians from Argentina.
LJUBLJANA - The EU Affairs Committee will discuss EU Council's recommendations on Slovenia's National Reform Programme and Stability Programme.
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will host yet another in a series of debates on changes to electoral law.
TRIESTE, Italy - Slofest, a cultural festival of the Slovenian minority in Italy; until 22 September.
LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office will release the September consumer confidence index.
SATURDAY, 21 September
LJUBLJANA - The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) is expected to elect Zdravko Počivalšek to succeed Miro Cerar as party leader as it meets for a congress.
MIREN - A meeting for peace will mark International Day of Peace, with MEP Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD) delivering the keynote.
IVANČNA GORICA - Catholic youths will convene an annual event that is the largest gathering of its kind in Slovenia.
SUNDAY, 22 September
PORTOROŽ - Former internees, political prisoners and stolen children will hold their annual meeting. President Borut Pahor and Minister for Slovenians Abroad Peter Jožef Česnik will deliver addresses.
KOPER/IZOLA/PIRAN - The Ironman 70.3 Slovenian Istria.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (16 - 22 September, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity you want to promote in a future edition of What's on in Ljubljana please get in touch with me at flanner(at)total-slovenia-news.com or try and find me on Facebook.
In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.
While the month started off dull and grey there’s been a slight return to the summer in the last few days, although this won’t last and the autumn will soon be in full effect. While the seasons change one thing that says the same in Ljubljana is the wealth of things to see and do in a relatively small space, ensuring that whether you’re a short-term visitor or permanent resident, there’s always something to tempt you out and get involved in the life of the city. A few highlights are shown below before going on to the regular listings.after the following selection. If you want something a little different and easy to print, then a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.
The 2019 Men's European Volleyball Championship will be held in Stožice Sports Park Arena from Thursday 12 – 29 September, with 24 national teams playing. Most games are played in the evening, and you can get tickets and see the schedule here.
Kino Šiška’s 10th Anniversary continyues, giving you a great excuse to go slightly out of town, easily reachable by bike, bus or taxi, to visit a fine centre of alternative culture in the city that serves up live music, performances, exhibitions, talks, movies, specialist markets and more, and is a meeting place for many the city’s cultural workers. The schedule for this week is below, along with a video of Friday night’s performers, the UK's Sleaford Mods, giving hope to mid-life crises.
Monday - ALIEN EXPRESS: SECOND FLIGHT - dance performance
Tuesday DEAFHEAVEN + TOUCHÉ AMORÉ + Portrayal of Guilt - concert
Wednesday - THE CURSE OF VALBURGA - Ljubljana film premiere
Thursday - JON HOPKINS (DJ) + Shekuza - concert
Friday - SLEAFORD MODS + Carina - concert
Sunday- ŠIŠKA OPEN 2019 - urban activities day
If you're in town Monday to Saturday you really should visit Ljubljana Market - it's small, varied and offers fresh fruit, vegetables, local specialities, snacks and souvenirs, while being next to many other sights. Learn more about it here. Here's how you use the Ljubljana’s milk vending machine.
Learn Slovene with memes, here
While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out my recent visit here.
Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.
Photo: JL Flanner
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kids' movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, while non-English language movies for older viewers will have Slovenian subtitles.Parents should also pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, with special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here.
The new movies in the multiplexes are Downtown Abbey and Ad Astra
Note - most children's films will be dubbed (sinhronizirano) - for subtitles look for 'podnapisi'.
Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.
Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.
Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.
Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.
Looking for a souvenir you'll really enjoy? Take a look at Broken Bones Gin, the first gin made in Ljubljana (learn more here, and try it at the Central Market or selected downtown bars).
Compared to some European capitals it can seem that nightlife in Ljubljana ends rather early, especially along the river, but there are still bars that stay open late and clubs were you can dance until dawn, and perhaps the best place to stumble across something interesting is the legendary Metelkova. Be aware it's a grungy kind of place and not for all tastes, but also that there's considerable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay cabaret to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here. And if you're curious about how the place started then read our story, and look at some pictures, about last year's 25th anniversary.
DJs at the top of the Castle (more)
Božidar - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.
Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.
Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.
Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.
Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,
Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.
Orto Bar– 80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.
Balassi Institute – Free Hungarian music, when available, from the Hungarian cultural institute just a short walk downriver from Dragon Bridge.
Cankerjev dom – The main arts venue in the country hosts classical, opera jazz, folk and occassinally pop.
Cvetličarna – Regional pop and rock concerts can be found here.
Channel Zero – This Metelkova venue sees live shows from punk and rock bands, as well as others.
Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue with indie bands of various styles.
Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city, with a varied programme that include indie, rock, pop, experimental, hip hop, and so on.
Klub Gromka – Live music is often metal, from sludge to stoner, death to thrash, while punk bands also appear, as do others.
Križanke – The venue that hosts the Ljubljana Festival often has classical music, and some rock, in the open air.
Ljubljana Castle – Jazz, funk and pop every Friday night.
Orto Bar– The home of live rock, metal, punk and other guitar-based genres.
Pinelina dnevna soba – LIve music is rare here, but it does happen.
Slovenska filharmonija– Classical music in the centre of town.
SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.
Španski borci - While dance is more common here, they also have some contemporary and experimental music shows.
See more pictures of Old Ljubljana here
Cankerjev dom- The main arts venue in the country always has something of interest going on.
Gledališče IGLU - IGLU Theatre – Saturday night this group is usually putting on an English improv show somewhere in town, but it’s generally promoted after this is written, so check the Facebook before putting on your shoes.
Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city also hosts some dance performance, often of the more experimental variety.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - Puppetry has a long and noble tradition in Slovenia, and you can see performances for children and adults (including non-puppet shows) drawing from the Theatre's rich repetoire as well as new productons.
SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.
Španski borci - The home ofcontemporary dance(and the EnKnapGroup) in Slovenia.
Drogart is an organization that aims to minimise harm on the party scene, and offers drug-testing services and reports on their webpage. It’s in Slovene, but you can Google translate it or work things out yourself, and our story on the group is here.You can find the latest warnings on fake drugs and high strength pills and powders (in Slovene) here. However, be aware that all the usual drugs are illegal in Slovenia.CBD is legal, though, and our retailer of choice can be found on Trubarjeva cesta - read more about Sena Flora here.
Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here
You can find our Top 12 list of things to do with kids in Ljubljana here. If want to read more about the philosophy behind the wonderful House of Experiments look here, while our trip to the Museum of Illusions is documented here, and there’s always riverside walks, pizza and ice cream. With regard to the latter, take a look at our guide to six places that serve good ice cream in winter, and thus are serious about the dessert.
Vice meets Žižek in Ljubljana. If you want to see more of the most successful writer who lives in Ljubljana, click here
If you're looking for more general links on "gay Slovenia", including a history of the scene and various projects, then you can find that here, while our stories about the community can be found here.
Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, although sometimes there are other events
Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.
Pritličje – This seems to be the only "always open" LGBT-friendly cafe / bar / events space in town, and perhaps the country, so it's a good thing it's such a good one, open from morning to night, and with fliers and posters letting you know what's happening outside the narrow confines of, say, a general interest online what's on... guide.
Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard
The city’s main attraction is said to be the top tourist draw in the country overall, and to my mind it earns a spot near the top just for the history and views. But beyond that the current owners, the City of Ljubljana, have laid out a varied, interesting and enjoyable programme of events, one that rewards regular revisits. On until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.
I try and get up there every Saturday morning to clear my head and move my feet on the trails, and never tire of that end of the hill. At the other end, where the Castle sits, there’s a lot more than fresh air on offer. There are guided tours, restaurants, a café, Castle museum, puppet museum, a Watchtower you can climb to the highest point in the city, art shows, dances, live music, movies under the stars, festival days and more – enough to reward multiple trips up the hill through the year. All of these activities and events can be found on the Castle website, while on TSN you can see “25 things to know about Ljubljana Castle” here, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.
Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.
Looking to buy some high end, big name local art from a trusted gallery? Check out our look at Sloart.
Bežigrajska galerija 1 – Visitors to Dunajska cesta 31 can see From Sketch To Puppet: Puppet Theatre Zapik until 31 October 2020.
Plečnik's desk. Photo: JL Flanner
Plečnik’s House is worth a visit if you want to learn more about the architect who gave Ljubljana much of its character, and it's also in a really nice part of town, Trnovo, just a short walk or cycle upriver. Read about our guided tour here.
City Gallery - Until 10 November you can see After the Canal, there was only "our" world: “The exhibition is an invitation to explore a variety of historical and geographical connections between Europe, especially its Easts, and the Middle East, particularly Egypt, with the Suez Canal as the trigger, while contemplating their reflections in the mirror of the present.”
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square an interesting permanent exhibition on the history of Ljubljana, from prehistoric times to the present day, with many artefacts, models and so on that bring the story alive.You can read about my visit here. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
Galerija Kresija – Until 9 October there’s a free exhibition of ceramics at this gallery between Triple Bridge and Town Hall , titled Polona Demšar & Mojca Smerdu: A Touch Of Memory. It’s being promoted as follows: “How do you put yourself in the flow of time, how your own creativity involved in the present and in the future of the past, are some of the questions to which Polona Demšar and Mojca Smerdu respond with exhibited ceramic objects.”
International Centre of Graphic Art – The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts runs until 29 September. It's called Crack Up – Crack Down, and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tartars, with a focus satire and the graphic arts. Learn more here.
Jakopič Gallery – Until 29 September you can see the photographs of Lucien Hervé in a show called Geometry of Light
Ljubljana Castle on until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title. Until 15 September you can see Jelka Reichman’s illustrations from the picture book Twelve Elephants, written by Leopold Suhodolčan (free admission).
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 19 September is a show called Creators, on contemporary Slovenian fashion and textile design, which is being promoted with the following image.
Photo: Urša Premik
Moderna galerija – The main branch of this gallery, to be found near the entrance to Tivoli Park, has a good collection of modern art, as well a nice café in the basement. The museum's Metelkova branch also has a big new show, runing until at least September 2019, an the art of the Non-Aligned Movement, with an example shown below. Until September 15 you can also enjoy Maja Hodošček, a video artist you “explores social relations through the politics of exchange and collaboration; in particular, she is interested in speculative models of representation in relation to the documentary.”
Rafikun Nabi: Poet, 1980, print, 96.5 x 110 cm. Courtesy of the Contemporary Art Center of Montenegro. On display at the Metelova branch of the Moderna galerija
Alan Ford at the National Gallery
National Gallery – The country’s main gallery has “the best” of what’s on offer from the Middle Ages to non-contemporary modern visual arts, and is in a great location for exploring other areas, just by Tivoli Park and opposite the main branch of the Moderna galerija. You can read about our visit to the room containing sacred art from the Middle Ages here. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October. Art for the Brave New World runs until 5 January 2020: “The exhibition will present the beginnings and development of an early government art collection in Slovenia, which, despite the economic and political crisis, was created in the 1930s by artistic and professional personalities gathered around Dr Marko Natlačen, the last ban of the Drava Banovina.”
The real Robba Fountain can be found in the entrance to the National Gallery - the one you see in the Old Town is a genuine fake, as seen below and reported here.
Photo: JL Flanner
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. Meanwhile, the museum's Metelkova branch, located between one branch of the Moderna galerija and the Ethnographic Museum has some rooms on Church art, furniture and weapons, with the latter including more guns than you'll see anywhere else in town, and quite a thrill if coming from a nation where such objects are not household items.
Natural History Museum – On until the end of December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.
Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below
National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, in addition to its permanent collection and until 29 September there also a retrospective on the photographer Edi Šelhaus, which is being promoted with the following image.
Photo: Edi Šelhaus
Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum has two permanent exhibitions. One of these is called Between Nature and Culture, and has a great collection of objects from Slovenia and around the world, well worth the trip up to the third floor to see it (as recounted here). From April 18 until October 19 (2019) you can also see a show calledShamanism of the Peoples of Siberia, from the Russian Museum of Ethnography, Saint Petersburg. The place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova. You can read about this fascinating show here. On until September 15 is Petra Šink: The circle between design and nature, in which the award-winning designer takes visitors through the life cycle of useful products for the home which are made from natural biodegradable fungal materials.
Union is "the Ljubljana beer", but now both it and Laško are owned by Heineken. There are many local brews on offer around town, though, if you want to explore IPAs, stouts, wheatbeers, sours and so on Photo: JL Flanner
Town Hall – On until 6 October is A Hundred Years of the School for the Blind and Partially Sighted in Slovenia. Until 10 October the same venue has a show on Contemporary architecture in Ljubljana.
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
Vžigalica Gallery – If you’re curious about the man who commissioned that Melania Trump sculpture, then you can see more of activities here, in a show called Brad Downey: This Echo.
Volčji Potok Arboretum - Running until 3 November you can see a large collection of cacti here.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT Ljubljana here.
Photo: JL Flanner
Learn more about Ljubljana with "25 things to know about Slovenia's green city of dragons", or take a look at our guide to spending from four to 48 hours here.
If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.
Open Kitchen brings market stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in town every Friday, from 11am to 11pm, in the square between the cathedral and the river - just follow your nose and the crowds. Read more about it here.
Photo: Open Kitchen
Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.
Photo: Neža Loštrek
For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.
Photo: JL Flanner
Photo: JL Flanner
Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you prefer to get in the water rather than on it, then here's a guide to the various open air pools in Ljubljana. Note that it was written last year and so the prices and times may have changed, so do click the links and check.
If you'd like to spend an evening painting with others, then take a look at Design with Wine, which organises painting parties on Trubarjeva cesta,
If you want to see some antiques, then check out the wonderful Antika Carniola, as discussed here. The man behind it, Jaka Prijatelj, has a fine eye for life on this street, as you can see on his Facebook account.
Photo: JL Flanner
If you’re in town and want to go jogging or walking in nature, why not take another look at the Castle, with a brief guide to the trails here. If you want something bigger, head to Tivoli Park.
And if you're bored with the Old Town, why not take a walk, cycle or boat ride to nearby Špica and enjoy the riverside life. Learn more about that here.
Prefer to have someone else stretch you? The check out the totally legit massages you can get from Sense Wellness - either in one of their spas or in you home, office or hotel. (And - to repeat - these are legit and non-sexual in nature)
There are some golf courses near Ljubljana, but even ones further away are not far, as seen in our list of all the golf courses in Slovenia.
Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain
Most of Slovenia is only a few hours from Ljubljana, and you can easily visit Lake Bled, Lipica Stud Farm, Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, the coast and other locations, while if you'd like to take a photo of from that bench in Bled, then you can learn how to get there here. If you’re looking for something more ambitious, then check out our recent guide to the 17 members of the Association of Historical Towns of Slovenia. We've also written guides on spending from four to 48 hours in Bled and Piran.
Photo: Google Image Search
If you want to get a Ljubljana Tourist Card, which gives you travel on the city buses and entry to a lot of attractions, then you can read more about that here, and if you want to use the bike share system, as useful for visitors as it is for residents, then you can learn more by clicking this. Visitors with reduced mobility will be pleased to find that downtown Ljubljana is generally rated as good with regard to accessibility, and that there’s a free, city-sponsored app called Ljubljana by Wheelchair highlighting cafés, attractions and so on with ramps, disabled bathrooms and Eurokey facilities, which you can read about and download here. Manual wheelchair users can also borrow, for free, an attachment that will motorise their equipment, as reported here.
Screenshot from a Twitter video
If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.
Ljubljana is a small and relatively safe city, but if need to contact the police then there’s a special number for foreigners, and that’s 113.
Photo: JL Flanner
There aren't many places to eat after midnight, and most of them are by the train station, as reported here.
Want / need cigarettes but the stores have closed? Here's an incomplete list of bars downtown that will satisfy your craving for the demon weed. While if you’re having trouble with the ATMs then here’s a guide to the Slovene you’ll see on screen. If you get a hangover then find out where to get paracetamol (and prescription drugs) in Ljubljana here, while details on emergency birth control can be found here.
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 13 September
Mladina: Energy sector suffers from excessive pay
STA, 13 September 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that the government does not want to make order in the energy sector and reduce the excessive wages there as the sector is highly politicised, with each political party having their piece of the pie.
"The world of energy in Slovenia is a distinctively political matter. The entire sector could be called a small political paradise," editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says under the headline EUR 100,000 a Month.
According to him, energy should be a competitive business in which the state does not and must not have any connection, because otherwise it does not function under the economic principles.
"It is supposed to be a serious business, with competition, market, large players, fierce fights for every consumer. But it is not. In reality, it is a completely state-owned system, but excluded enough from the state that the public sector rules do not apply to it."
At the same time, it is included in the state enough that politics can influence it. When it comes to distributing influence in the energy sector, political parties are able to make agreements and they cooperate well.
"There is a code of silence among parties and each new party which enters the government quickly gets its own 'energy district'," Repovž adds.
As energy companies in Slovenia are mainly public companies, it would be right if they get completely subordinated to the rules of public sector "in the field of wages for starts. Slovenia has one unusual feature: the highest wages are not paid out in the banking sector, but in energy."
However, Mladina does not believe that the current government has the courage or even the intention to do something about that. "It seems that a majority has already forgotten about their high-flying election promises," concludes the commentary.
Demokracija: Slovenia should learn from Estonia
STA, 12 September - The right-wing weekly Demokracija praises Estonia for its break with Communism, while Slovenia opted for a gradual transition and never really broke with the regime. "Communism was an occupation and Slovenia will not be able to step out of its shadow by ignoring its remnants. The snake needs to be decapitated or it will bring us down once more."
The weekly comments on Thursday on an interview Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid gave the broadcaster TV Slovenija last week in which she specifically said that the country had been occupied by the Soviet Union and did not join the union willingly.
Slovenia and Estonia are similar in many ways, sharing similar fates after World War II. "Both had been occupied, in both countries the Communists first killed most of the bourgeois intelligentsia, industrials and entrepreneurs, and sent the rest to labour camps."
In both countries, power was in the hands of foreigners: in Slovenia in the hands of Serbs and in Estonia in the hands of Russians. They experienced Communist dictatorship and the countries stagnated for half a century.
But after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the independence of the two countries, their ways diverged. Slovenia opted for a gradual transition to market economy and never got rid of its socialist mindset, while Estonia broke off with Socialism overnight.
Slovenia could learn a lot from Estonia. The latter was a much poorer country when it became independent, but is now on Slovenia's tail, the paper says under the headline Why Estonia Became E-stonia.
The different mindsets were the most pronounced in the 2008 crisis, when Slovenia decided for Keynesian measures, while Estonia let the market sort itself out.
Although unemployment in Estonia was higher than in Slovenia during the crisis, the levels are similar now. But Estonia's debt amounts to only 8% of GDP, while Slovenia's is at over 70% of GDP.
All our posts in this series are here
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
This summary was prepared by the STA:
FRIDAY, 6 September
LJUBLJANA - Representatives of all three branches of government taking part in a debate on the state of the rule of law in Slovenia agreed that the separation of powers was key for the implementation of the rule of law. Judges were critical of interference in the judiciary and failure to implement Constitutional Court rulings.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest banking group, NLB saw its half-year-net profit fall by 10% year-on-year to EUR 94.3 million despite higher interest and non-interest income. Profit before impairments and provisions was up 13% to EUR 116 million.
LJUBLJANA - The German-owned Slovenian carrier Adria Airways reached a deal with pilots to prevent a series of strikes that were due to begin in two days, agreeing a draft of a new collective bargaining agreement, which now needs to be endorsed by members of the pilots' trade union.
LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek denied the allegation that she personally interfered in a procedure to appoint the CEO of SODO, the state-owned electricity distribution system operator, while defending the government's decision on 14 August to change the SODO articles of association so that the supervisory board needs the government's consent to appoint or dismiss the CEO.
BILBAO, Spain - Slovenia proved a cycling tour superpower as Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) won the 13th stage of the Vuelta ahead of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who increased the overall lead. In the all-Slovenian finish on the hellishly steep final climb, Pogačar won his second stage victory to advance to the 3rd spot overall and put on the best young rider's white jersey.
SATURDAY, 7 September
LJUBLJANA - Foreign companies accounted for 5.6% of all companies in Slovenia in 2017 but created over 27% of value added, roughly on a par with 2016. These companies employed almost 26% of all workers, and allocated 39% of their expenses in Slovenia for R&D, the Statistics Office's data show.
SUNDAY, 8 September
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar - Pope Francis visited Akamasoa, a village founded by the Slovenian missionary Pedro Opeka in Madagascar as part of his south African tour, meeting Opeka and several other Church dignitaries along with several thousand people.
METLIKA - Several thousand firefighters and other visitors gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of organised firefighting in Slovenia. In his keynote, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, himself a volunteer firefighter, stressed that the umbrella Firefighters' Union was the biggest humanitarian organisation in the country.
PODLESJE - A mass and commemoration were held on the site of a short-lived forced-labour camp near Kočevje at which post-war Communist authorities interned women. It was in operation from July 1949 and October the same year and held 800 women and girls, either suspected of having been associated with the anti-Communist Home Guards or deemed politically dangerous.
MONDAY, 9 September
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Coalition party officials and government members conducted the last joint debate on the budget for 2020 and 2021 before the government submits budget documents to parliament. Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj said the government would wait until a fresh economic outlook is released on 19 September. Public spending in 2020 is capped at EUR 10.45 billion.
LJUBLJANA - National Assembly Speaker Dejan Židan hosted his Latvian counterpart Inara Murniece for talks, after which the pair called for a strong and effective EU where the voice of each member counts. The Latvian speaker, who also met President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, thanked Slovenia for taking part in NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Latvia.
LJUBLJANA - A poll by Delo gave the government an average rating of 2.96 on a 1-5 scale in September, up from 2.91 in August and 2.16 when it took office a year ago. The improvement in the government rating was also reflected in higher ratings for PM Marjan Šarec's LMŠ party, which gained more than two points to 18.9%, over 5 points ahead of the opposition Democrats (SDS).
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3.962 billion worth of goods in July, the highest monthly value on record as the trade surplus hit a record level of EUR 937 million. Merchandise exports were 46.3% higher than in July 2018 and imports rose by 16.4% to EUR 3.025 billion, the Statistics Office reported.
LJUBLJANA - Lek, a subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, inaugurated new development laboratories at the Slovenia development centre in Ljubljana. Valued at EUR 7.5 million, the investment will allow development sterile solid dosage forms to treat cancer patients.
VRHNIKA - The Environment Ministry annulled the August decision by the building inspectorate which forced hazardous waste treatment company Kemis to suspend its operations. Kemis can resume business, while the inspectorate need to decide on the matter again.
LJUBLJANA - History of Love (Zgodovina Ljubezni), a meditative drama by Sonja Prosenc, was picked as Slovenia's candidate for the nomination for the 2020 Academy Award for Best International Feature Film by a judging panel of the Association of Slovenian Filmmakers.
LJUBLJANA - The national football team scored a third consecutive win in the qualifiers for the 2020 Euro by defeating Israel at home 3:2 to advance to second place in Group G behind the leading Poland, whom they beat 2:0 in Ljubljana on 6 September.
TUESDAY, 10 September
BRUSSELS, Belgium - President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced the distribution of posts in the new commission, assigning the crisis management portfolio to Slovenia's commissioner-designate Janez Lenarčič. First political reactions indicate the portfolio is perceived as lightweight, although the opposition Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša said it was one of the hardest and most thankless because it involved dealing with the controversial issue of migration.
MOSCOW, Russia - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec paid an official visit to Russia with a sizeable government and business delegation. After talks, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev suggested Slovenia should help in the restructuring of now mostly Russian-owned Croatian conglomerate Agrokor and its Slovenian subsidiary, the retailer Mercator. Šarec also attended the unveiling of a monument to Slovenian soldiers who perished on Russian soil in both world wars. Accompanying Šarec, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar commented that the visit was important from the economic aspect, but he did not think it would affect Slovenia's relations with the US or the EU.
MOSCOW, Russia - The energy company Petrol signed cooperation contracts with Russia's T Plus Grupa and Schneider Electric on the sidelines of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's visit. The projects will focus on optimisation of district heating.
CELJE - The 52nd International Trade Fair got under way, hosting more than 1,500 exhibitors from over 30 countries and almost all continents until 15 September. A sizeable delegation came from Montenegro, this year's partner country, headed by Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić.
LJUBLJANA - The latest survey by temping agency Manpower put Slovenia's seasonally-adjusted net employment outlook for the final quarter of the years at 17%, one of the most upbeat forecasts in the region and level with a year ago.
KOPER - The 34th Vilenica International Literary Festival got under way with an event featuring the Vilenica Prize winner Dragan Velikić, one of the most esteemed Serbian authors, and the Slovenian author in focus, rebel poet Esad Babačić. The festival brought together more than 20 authors from 15 countries.
WEDNESDAY, 11 September
LJUBLJANA - A group of 28 scholars urged President Borut Pahor to resign or be impeached over his comments at the Bled Strategic Forum which suggested that Turkey and Ukraine should not count on full-fledged EU membership. Pahor's office said the stance on a special status of Turkey and Ukraine within the EU had been known at home and abroad for several years, while Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that Slovenia supported Turkey's accession to the EU.
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Defence Committee green-lighted the national security strategy resolution for the plenary discussion, but passed an amendment of the opposition Democrats (SDS) to throw out a provision granting additional powers to the SOVA intelligence service.
LJUBLJANA - The government and public sector trade unions launched a fresh round of talks aimed at reforming the public sector pay system toward a more performance-based remuneration system. One of the government's proposals is that employees could get up to 30% higher pay based on performance, but it would also slow down their promotion to higher pay brackets, which is now all but automatic.
LJUBLJANA - The EU's statistics office Eurostat projected that Slovenia's population will decrease by 13% to below 1.8 million in 2100. Almost a third of the population is projected to be aged 65 or older at the end of the century.
THURSDAY, 12 September
LJUBLJANA - The government's economic think-tank, IMAD, downgraded Slovenia's GDP growth forecast for 2019 by 0.6 points to 2.8% for 2019 and by 0.1 points to 3% for 2020. In response, Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj announced cuts in planned budget expenditure in 2019 and 2020.
LJUBLJANA - Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, started an official visit to Slovenia ahead of a two-day conference of the chiefs of defence from NATO member countries. Meeting Chief of the General Staff, Major General Alenka Ermenc, President Borut Pahor and PM Marjan Šarec, the officer commended Slovenia and its armed forces on their 15 years of contribution in support of the alliance's values and mission.
LJUBLJANA - On the back of the news that the Supreme State Prosecution had asked the Constitutional Court to examine whether the parliamentary inquiry into prosecution of former Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler may be in breach of the constitutional provision of division of power, the Judicial Council said it would do the same, arguing that the legislative branch overstepped its powers.
LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed Dragica Hržica as chief environment ans spatial planning inspector, replacing her with Dragan Matić, a former MP of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC). Hržica's office had been criticised over its allegedly faulty oversight of waste processing facilities.
LJUBLJANA - The commercial broadcaster POP TV said it had sacked a sports journalist after he was arrested by police on the border with Croatia on suspicion of smuggling illegal migrants to Slovenia.
LJUBLJANA - Despite slightly improving its economic freedom, Slovenia remained 67th among 162 countries in the latest Economic Freedom of the World report, compiled by the Canadian libertarian Fraser Institute.
MARIBOR - Andrej E. Skubic won the Večernica Prize for best youth and children's book, conferred by the newspaper publisher Večer, for Grandma Does's Have Phone Any More, the second part of his book series Trio Golaznikus.
LJUBLJANA - The Men's European Volleyball Championship got under way in Slovenia, one of four host countries. Slovenia hope to win the tournament, an improvement on the 2015 silver medal.