Lifestyle

15 Oct 2019, 16:31 PM

Jože Plečnik was the architect responsible for many of Ljubljana’s most iconic and well-known features, like Triple Bridge and the Market Arcades, or Križanke and Shoemaker’s Bridge. But despite the grand projects that Plečnik was able to complete, in Slovenia and abroad, there were other plans that remained even grander, and unrealised.

Starting on 18 October and running until 26 January, 2020, visitors to the Plečnik House (Karunova 4–6, Ljubljana 1000) will have a further delight to go with the many they’ll find when touring the great man’s home, designed to his own demanding specifications and full of characteristic touches. In these months the museum is hosting an exhibition titled Plečnik’s Unrealised Projects for Ljubljana, which will show how the city would have looked if the architect had been able to build four of his major works: New Town Hall, Butchers’ Bridge (on the site where the one with "lovers locks" now crosses the river), a monumental octagon with a tower on the Castle Hill and the Cathedral of Freedom in Tivoli Park.

While sketches of these works have long existed, the displays for this show utilised 3D modelling, visualisation and 3D printing, bringing them to life in the context of the city today, as seen in the following images.

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New Town Hall: Nejc Bernik, ZRC-SAZU

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New Town Hall: Nejc Bernik, ZRC-SAZU

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Plan for New Town Hall. Source: MGML

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Butcher's Bridge: Nejc Bernik, ZRC-SAZU

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Butcher's Bridge: Nejc Bernik, ZRC-SAZU

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Plan for Butcher's Bridge. Source. MGLM

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An addition to Ljubljana Castle. Nejc Bernik, ZRC-SAZU

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Plan for an addition to Ljubljana Castle. Source: MGML

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 Plan for an addition to Ljubljana Castle. Source: MGML

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The Cathedral of Freedom, Tivoli Park. Source: Nejc Barnik, ZRC-SAZU

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The Cathedral of Freedom, Tivoli Park. Source: Nejc Barnik, ZRC-SAZU

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Plan for the Cathedral of Freedom. Source: MGML. If you have a 10-cent coin you might be able to see this on one side - one of Slovenia's contributions to the visual image of the euro...

The exhibition is free to enter with a ticket to the Plečnik House, which also includes a very informative guided tour of the building, as written up here. Tickets are €6 for adults, €4 for the over 60s, students, and children. The place is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 to 18:00, and closed on Monday. More details here.

15 Oct 2019, 12:10 PM

In 1888 the Cyril and Methodius Society established the first Slovenian school in the city of Trieste. On today’s date after years of efforts, Slovenes from Trieste finally got a school in their mother tongue. At the time around a quarter of the city’s population spoke Slovenian, while the rural areas surounding the city were mostly Slovene.

Until then education in the Slovenian language was opposed by the Italian nationalist elite, defending the exclusivism of the Italian schools, a means against “Slavization” and a guarantee of the Italian-only image of Trieste. The city children of Slovenian parents were thus only able to attend Italian schools, which promoted national assimilation.

The Cyril and Methodius School in Trieste performed its invaluable mission until the forced fascist abolition in 1930.

15 Oct 2019, 08:57 AM

STA, 14 October 2019 - The 54th Maribor Theatre Festival (Festival Borštnikovo) will get under way today with an international conference on ways to develop theatre audiences. Running until 27 October, the country's leading theatre event will feature a record 42 productions from Slovenia and abroad.

While the festival officially opens on Friday, the busy schedule, which is in keeping with last year's programme expansion, already starts with the segments Young and Student Theatre today.

"Both were already conceived last year as permanent festival features, which we want to develop further in the future. They feature Slovenian as well as foreign productions and make for a kind of joint festival platform for the development of new audiences, which we see as a primary mission," the festival's artistic director Aleš Novak said.

Meanwhile, a selection of theatre productions staged in Slovenia in the last season reamins at the core of the festival. The first of 12 shows in the competition programme is scheduled for Saturday.

Awards will be conferred on the final day of the festival, including the Borštnik Ring for lifetime achievement, which this year goes to Marinka Štern.

The list of the competing shows includes two productions each by SNG Drama Ljubljana (In the Name of the Mother, and Ali: Fear Eats Your Soul), by Mladinsko Theatre (No Title Yet, and The Opposite) and by Ljubljana City Theatre (Fireflies, and A Silent Breath).

Also selected were the Damned by Drama SNG Maribor, Inventor On Earth by Anton Podbevšek Theatre, Macbeth by SNG Nova Gorica, At Dawn by the Prešeren Theatre from Kranj, River, River by the Delak institute, and The Misanthrope by the Slovenian People's Theatre from Celje.

The accompanying programme features 19 more productions, seven of which from abroad. One of the highlights will be a performance by British critically-acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko, led by artistic director Amit Lahav, who will play their hit show The Wedding.

The festival will also feature talks about the shows, an international conference on theatre criticism, a regional meeting of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), a panel on theatre professionals, concerts, and guided tours of Slovenia's second largest city.

The website with all the details can be found here

14 Oct 2019, 14:32 PM

In 1809 Napoleon signed a decree establishing a special status zone called the Illyrian Provinces (Slo: Ilirske province), subordinated directly to the French central government. It included western Carinthia with Villach, Gorizia, Trieste and its surroundings, Istria, part of Croatia with Karlovac, Dalmatia with Zadar, the Republic of Dubrovnik and Boka Kotorska. Ljubljana became the administrative and cultural capital of the provinces.

The purpose of this territorial formation was not to restore Slavic Illyria, as Valentin Vodnik wrote in Illyria Revived in 1811, but to create a buffer zone along the Adriatic coast, which would cut off German lands from the sea, and a direct land between France and the Middle East would be established across Istria and Dalmatia.

Despite the dissatisfaction of the Slovenian population with the severe economic crisis (trade with Austrian lands was hindered) and the new tax burden and the recruitment of men into the French Army, the four years of rule under the French authorities were still quite important for the development of the Slovenian language and culture.

The first governor-general of the provinces Marshal August Marmont, made sure that elementary and middle school levels were all in Slovene, while Valentin Vodnik was in charge of providing textbooks. For this he published first Slovenian grammar written in the Slovenian language - Literacy or grammar for first schools. He also became a headmaster at a lower secondary school and headmaster of folk and art schools.

The integration of the Slovene lands into the Illyrian Provinces had a significant impact on the development of the Slovenian nationalist movement. However in 1813 Austria, following Napoleon’s defeat, regained its full control and sovereignty of the Slovenian lands, while Valentin Vodnik got into trouble for his support to the French. He was banned from working in schools in 1815 and died four years later.

13 Oct 2019, 17:50 PM

Čokoljana is an annual fair which will, for the sixth time, overflow Ljubljana centre with chocolate.

 

Every chocolate lover will find something for themselves on Saturday, October 19, from 9:00 till 21:00 at Pogačar square, next to the central marketplace in Ljubljana – one that hosts Open Kitchen on Fridays in the warmer months.

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Like in previous years, more than 50 stalls will put on offer various sorts of chocolate in various delivery systems, which this year will include a chocolate porter from Loo-blah-nah craft brewery.

Here is a link to the list of last year's vendors.

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All kids, old and young, can also joing the painting with chocolate workshop, which will start at 11:00 and end at 18:00.  

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For more pictures and information in Slovenian please visit Čokoljana’s website.

13 Oct 2019, 10:34 AM

Certain areas of Slovenia are prone to flooding, and many of these were highlighted in 2010, when over the weekend of 17 to 19 September heavy rain caused the waters to rise in Ljubljana, the Central Sava Valley, Laško, the Slovene Littoral and Lower Carniola. In all the extreme weather event impacted 60% of Slovenia’s municipalities (137 out of 212), and the total damage was estimated at more €240 million.

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Source: Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Flash Floods in Slovenia, Tajan Trobec (2016). Link to full paper.

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Flooding in Celje. Source: Wikimedia - Brane Petrovič & Borut Podgoršek, mors.si, public domain

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Unknown location. Source: Wikimedia - mors.si, public domain

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Unknown location: Source: Wikimedia - Emil Jalovec, GŠSV

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Unknown location: Source: Wikimedia - mrwho00tm

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Unknown location: Source: Wikimedia - mrwho00tm

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Unknown location. Source: Wikimedia - mors.si, public domain

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Unknown location. Source: Wikimedia - mors.si, public domain

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Flooding in Litija. Source: Wikimedia - poldek_tedy CC-by-3.0

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Hubelj Creek, Ajdovščina. Source: Wikimedia - Brane Petrovič & Borut Podgoršek, mors.si, public domain

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Ljubljana. Source: Wikimedia - SI-ZIGA

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Ljubljana. Source: Wikimedia - SI-ZIGA

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Ljubljana. Source: Wikimedia - SI-ZIGA

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Source: Emil Jalovec, GŠSV

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Source: Wikimedia - Brane Petrovič & Borut Podgoršek, mors.si, public domain

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Savinja and Laško: Source: Wikimedia - Brane Petrovič & Borut Podgoršek, mors.si, public domain

12 Oct 2019, 15:58 PM

Keep up with the daily news in Slovenia by checking the morning headlines here. What to find out what happened last week in Slovenia? Look no further.

The following schedule was prepared by the STA:

MONDAY, 14 October

        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor will host a debate on Slovenia's vision of the EU's development, involving experts, government and parliament officials and MEPs.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will take part in a session of the EU Foreign Affairs Council discussing relations with Turkey.
        BELGRADE, Serbia - National Assembly Speaker Dejan Židan is attending the Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union focusing on sustainable development and enhancement of international law.
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec will take part in a meeting of EU ministers of agriculture.
        LJUBLJANA - The Peace Institute will hold a debate on migration and political responsibility.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Committee on Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Disabled will debate alleged maltreatment of the elderly in pension homes.
        LJUBLJANA - Environment and Spatial Planning Minister will set out amendments to the housing act.
        LJUBLJANA - A conference on micromobility organised by the European Commission to talk about electric bikes, scooters and drones; introductory address by Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - An international conference on occupational diseases and psychosocial risks on the job from the gender aspect.
        SORICA - A media presentation of the multinational military exercise Triglav Star 2019.
        MARIBOR - The 54th Maribor Theatre Festival, the country's largest, will get under way featuring a record 42 productions from Slovenia and abroad, until 27 Oct.

TUESDAY, 15 October
        LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will take part in a session of the EU General Affairs Council focusing on launch of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania.
        VENICE, Italy - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec will take part in a defence ministerial of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission will be in session, discussing staffing at the intelligence agency SOVA, and budget documents for 2021 and 2020.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Health Committee will discuss treatment of rare diseases.
        WASHINGTON, US - The International Monetary Fund will release its latest global economic outlook, including forecasts for Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The National and University Library will launch an exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the death of Žiga Zois (1747-1819), a key Enlightenment figure in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office will release August pay data.
        PARIS, France - Primož Roglič will be one of the favourites to win Vélo d'Or as the French cycling magazine Vélo Magazine presents the road cycle racing award.

WEDNESDAY, 16 October
        LJUBLJANA - Day of National Security, a conference, with keynote addresses by Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar and Defence Minister Karl Erjavec.
        LJUBLJANA - The budget documents for the coming two years will be discussed by the parliamentary committees on foreign policy and economy and by the public finance oversight commission.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee will debate amendments to several tax laws.
        LJUBLJANA - A conference by the Employers' Association will discuss the impact of the higher minimum wage on collective bargaining agreements.
        FRANKFURT, Germany - Culture Minister Zoran Poznič will attend the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair.
        LJUBLJANA - A photo exhibition by the National Geographic Slovenia themed (Un)Known will be launched, showcasing little known parts of Ljubljana.

THURSDAY, 17 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Marjan Šarec will join other EU leaders for a two-day European Council meeting to discuss EU long-term budget, priorities for the next 5 years and Brexit, among other things.
        NICOSIA, Cyprus - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar will start an official two-day visit to Cyprus, accompanied by a business delegation.
        LJUBLJANA - The weekly government session.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will hold a special session on long-term care at the behest of the opposition Democrats (SDS).
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary inquiry into alleged wrongdoing at Bank Asset Management Company will interview central bank officials.
        LJUBLJANA - Budget documents for the coming two years will be discussed by the parliamentary commission for the Italian and Hungarian minorities.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Justice Committee will debate a report on courts' efficiency in 2018, among other things.
        LJUBLJANA - A panel debate on women in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics featuring US Ambassador Lynda Blanchard and Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer.
        LJUBLJANA - A concert will mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
        LJUBLJANA - A press conference before IKEA starts building its Ljubljana store.
        PORTOROŽ - Golden Drum, an international two-day advertising festival, will get under way.
        TRBOVLJE - Speculum Artium, an international three-day festival of new media, will open.

FRIDAY, 18 October
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee will prepare budget documents for 2020 and 2021 for the plenary session of parliament.
        LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary EU Affairs Committee will debate a report on the implementation of European cohesion policy by the end of June 2019.
        LJUBLJANA - A committee in support of Catalan leaders imprisoned in Spain will be established.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office will release the latest general government surplus and public debt estimates.
        LJUBLJANA - An exhibition of select unrealised projects for Ljubljana by architect Jože Plečnik.
        VIPAVA - The University of Nova Gorica will hold a scientific conference to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.
        ORMOŽ - The Grossmann Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Comics Festival will get under way, until 20 Oct.

SATURDAY, 19 October
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana will hold a chocolate festival.

SUNDAY, 20 October
        No major events are scheduled.

12 Oct 2019, 12:33 PM

If you're not in town for the week of this guide (14 - 20 October, 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. 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. If you're in town and want to follow the news then check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.

Jump to listings

The annual Month of Design continues until 8 November, with details here and the food and travel part of the season coming on Thursday. More details here.

Monday 20:00 Kino Šiška has a concert from the pianist Manca Udovič and her band Romanca, while Wednesday 20:30 there’s U pol ‘9 kod Sabe, “humorous and melodic songs at the crossroads of indie pop and cabaret”. The week in Šiška then ends on Saturday with a show at 20:00 by the Police Orchestra with soloists Stéphane Rudaz and Bratko Krivokapič on the soprano and tenor helicon. Don’t know what a helicon is? See the third video below – they’re very cute.

Thursday Cankarjev dom has Kormatika 3 at 19:30,  with the South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son the RTV Symphony Orchestra playing Prokofiev, Symphony No.1; Mozart,  Piano Concerto No. 24; Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 8; and Dubugnon, Chamber Symphony No. 2 (Slovenian premiere).

New movies opening this week include Abominable (Mali jeti) – and note that most kid’s movies are dubbed – Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Preboj and Zombieland: Double Tap.

Friday, 18 October at 20:00 the Oslo Philharmonic are in town, playing at Cankarjev dom with Leif Ove Andsnes on the piano. The programme is Richard Strauss, Don Juan; Edvard Grieg, Piano Concerto in A minor; and Shostakovich, Symphony No 10 in E minor. Also on Friday, this time at Orto Bar, there’s a very different show on offer from Gutalax, Spasm, and Guineapig.

Open Kitchen ends soon, at the end of the month, so catch it while you can. Meanwhile, on Saturday the same square will host the Čokoljana Chocolate Fair, bringing sweet treats to the Central Market / Pogačarjev trg from 09:00 to 21:00.

Saturday and Sunday you can see and buy minerals at MineralFest, starting 09:00 at Cankarjev dom. Looking further ahead, you can now get tickets for Vlado Kreslin’s traditional December shows at the same venue – Slovenia’s biggest arts centre – with the dates being 9 and 10 December.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Ljubljana is forecast to be the fastest-warming city in the world over the next few decades.


Contents

Cinemas and films

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.

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.

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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).

Friday night SHXCXCHCXSH will be playing at Klub K4

Clubbing

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 Bar80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.

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Live music

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.

CvetličarnaRegional 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 CastleJazz, 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 filharmonijaClassical 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.

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See more pictures of Old Ljubljana here

Theatre and dance

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.

Mini Teater Ljubljana –The English schedule of varied performances, for adults and children, for the month is here.

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.

Pocket Teater Studio– There are regular flamenco evenings at perhaps the smallest venue town, but note that the number of seats is very limited, and thus you should make a reservation via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 070 325 522.

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Harm reduction and drug testing

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.

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Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here

Things to do with children

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.

Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke. The English schedule for the month is here.

Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - The puppet theatre near the Central Market and next to the Castle funicular has a full programme or shows, for children and adults, with the schedule here.

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LGBT+ Ljubljana

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.

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Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard

Ljubljana Castle

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 Castlehere, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.

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Museums and galleries

Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.

From 15 October to 17 November various venues around town will be hosting events related to Transform 2019: Trans-form:action, featuring students from academies from Zagreb, Sofia, Bucharest, Skopje, Istanbul and Ljubljana. Details.

Looking to buy some high end, big name local art from a trusted gallery? Check out our look at Sloart.

Bežigrajska galerija 2 – Take a trip to Vodovodna cesta 3 between 3 October and 13 November you can see “selected works by the Prešeren awards recipients originating from Slovenian Istria, coming from the collections of the Piran Coastal Galleries and the Prešeren Award Winners of Fine Arts Gallery Kranj.” The free to enter show includes the following work.

Živko Marušič, Ujetniki dima III, 1986, olje na platnu, 130 x 148 cm © Marko Tušek.jpg

Živko Marušič, Ujetniki dima III, 1986, oil on canvas, 130 x 148 cm © Marko Tušek

Cankerjev dom – On until 3 March 2020 there's an exhibition on Ancient Greek Science and Technology. Details here.

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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.

Balassi Institute – The Hungarian culture centre is next to a Spar and Hofer, and not far from Dragon Bridge, and always has something interesting going on. Learn more here. This month there's also an exhibition with more works like the one shown below for a show described as follows: “The concept of the exhibition “Awkwardly Close” in Balassi Institute is exactly the self-conscious unease coming from artistic and content similarities between the works of Kata Bereczki, and the Slovenian artistic collective Son:DA."

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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

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The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner

Galerija Kresija – The gallery between the Triple Brdge and City Hall has some architecture-related activities this week.

Galerijia Y – Walk along to Trubarjeva cesta 79 and until 19 October you can see some contemporary art from four Slovenian painters, with all the works for sale. See some of them here.

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Drink like a pro - find gallery openings. Photo: JL Flanner

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.

MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe.

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 9th Triennial of Contemporary Art U3 is also on here until 12 January 2020. Titled Dead and Alive: “The exhibition unfolds around three contradictory states of now – the dead and alive state of conceptualism, analogue and liquid materiality, and the subconscious as the battlefield of cognitive capitalism. Because – how do art and avant-garde progress? By making sensible what is beyond. At the end of the day, Dead and Alive is a quantum time search for an engaged form.” More details here, on one of the works on show below.

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© Aleksandra Vajd, Collage by K. E. Graebner Nature the Unknown Acquaintance (1971) and a unit of five hand-dyed photograms titled: ‘rivalry of superior vs. inferior’, 2017

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

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Alan Ford was recently at the National Gallery - read more about this comic book here.

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 hereArt 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.”

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JL Flanner

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.

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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.

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 Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below

National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, you can see a permanent exhibition on Slovenians in the 20th century.

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.

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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

Vžigalica Gallery – Until 27 October you can explore a spatial installation from the Berlin-based artist Sinta Werner.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Other things to do in Ljubljana

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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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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'd like to spend an evening painting with others, then take a look at Design with Wine, which organises painting parties on Trubarjeva cesta,

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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.

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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.

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Nataraja Studio

Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. We go to Nataraja Studio, by Dragon Bridge, and here's a story about it.

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, which usually run until the first snow.

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Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain

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Daytrips

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.

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Photo: Google Image Search

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Getting around

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.

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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.

Emergencies

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.

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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.

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11 Oct 2019, 14:37 PM

The Guardian reports that Slavoj Žižek and Miha Mazzini are among those writers less than impressed with Peter Handke winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, due to his support for Slobodan Milošević during the Balkan War, joining names such as Salman Rushdie and Hari Kunzru in their condemnation of the Austrian author, who has Slovenian roots on his maternal side.

Žižek, the “rock star philosopher” and most famous Slovenian cultural figure on the international scene told the British publication:

In 2014, Handke called for the Nobel to be abolished, saying it was a ‘false canonisation’ of literature. The fact that he got it now proves that he was right. This is Sweden today: an apologist of war crimes gets a Nobel prize while the country fully participated in the character assassination of the true hero of our times, Julian Assange. Our reaction should be: not the literature Nobel prize for Handke but the Nobel peace prize for Assange.

The story also quotes the Slovenian author Miha Mazzini as follows:

Some artists sold their human souls for ideologies (Hamsun and Nazism), some for hate (Celine and his rabid antisemitism), some for money and power (Kusturica) but the one that offended me the most was Handke with his naivety for the Milošević regime. And it’s personal. I will never forget the cold winter when Yugoslavia was falling apart and there was nothing on the shelves of the stores. We were a young family and my daughter was a toddler and it was bitterly cold. I’d spent the whole day in the queue for the heating oil and in the evening, almost frozen, I started reading Handke’s essay about Yugoslavia. He wrote of how he envied me: while those Austrians and Germans, those westerners, had fallen for consumerism, we, Yugoslavs, had to queue and fight for everything. Oh, how close to the nature we were! How less materialistic and more spiritualised we were! Even at the time, I found him cruel and totally self-absorbed in his naivety.

You can read the complete article here.

Related: 70 Quotes for Žižek’s 70th Birthday

11 Oct 2019, 12:30 PM

On Wednesday, October 9, Ljubljana was awarded the Digitalisation Award in the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020 at a gala event in Helsinki, held as part of the European Tourism Forum.

In addition to two overall winners, Gothenburg (Sweden) and Málaga (Spain), four cities have been recognised with 2020 European Smart Tourism Awards for their outstanding achievements in the four categories of the competition. These four cities received the highest scores in individual categories among all 35 applicant cities during a preselection phase, carried out by independent experts.

The 2020 European Smart Tourism Award in Accessibility went to Breda, Netherlands; the Award in Sustainability went to Gothenburg, Sweden; the Award in Cultural heritage and creativity went to Karlsruhe, Germany and the Award in Digitalization went to Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The jury was impressed by Ljubljana's various smart solutions including the official tourism website with its rich content and a series of apps - especially the tap water app for locating water fountains all around the city, and the Ljubljana by Wheelchair app.

The European Capital of Smart Tourism is an initiative launched by the European Commission to increase Europe’s profile as a tourist destination and establish a platform for the exchange of best tourism practices between European cities.

By being awarded the title, Ljubljana has received the confirmation that within a year it has succeeded in upgrading and improving the city for its citizens and also as a travel destination. Furthermore, it has once again become an inspiration to other tourist destinations across Europe.

For more on the award and the current city improvement plans, go to visitljubljana.com.

11 Oct 2019, 10:22 AM

On Saturday, October 12, Open Kitchen will visit the coast for the last time this season. Stalls full of local and foreign delicacies will re-fill the picturesque Carpaccio Square and the friendly Tavern Shadow in Koper. The event, organized by the Open Kitchen team in cooperation with the Municipality of Koper, will start at 11am and last until 9pm.

 

To ensure that no one on the coast needs to cook at home this Saturday, a colorful selection of tastes and flavors will make sure that nobody goes home hungry or dissatisfied.

 

At the Turkish Yildiz Han booth, for example, visitors will choose between Turkish delicacies such as kebab on a saber, traditional Turkish burek, sarmas in vine leafs and baklava.

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Thai Pink Elephant booth will serve Suki Yaki noodles which will come with a learning lesson on what different levels of “hot” actually mean. Namaste Indian Restaurant stand will offer meditation with chewing yoga practiced on delicious rumali roti rolls. 

For those of sharp sense of aesthetics, a special workshop on how to make something really tasty and beautiful from the simplest things, such as hot dogs will be held by professors from the JEDU Wurst & Dogs team.

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Visitors to Stari pisker pub and Guesthouse and Argentino Steakhouse stalls will learn about what a really good piece of meat is and how it should be prepared to get the best out of it.

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At the Land of Flavors (Dežela okusov) stall you’ll be able to learn how to eat like an Egyptian and the Chinese garden Restaurant will be stirring the legendary fried noodles.

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That mixing of culinary traditions leads to some very tasty results will be proven at the Super hrusta stall, where suckling will be roasted on a Chinese grill then served with sauerkraut and pan fried potatoes.

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And for the end of the day, deserts will be served by TWISTER Ice Cream Rolls, Dvor jezeršek and Atelier Karim, and liquids mixed and poured by Experiment, J&B Winehouse and Craft beer.

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