Lifestyle

27 Sep 2019, 17:34 PM

Are you up for some cheese? Cheese lovers are in for a treat: The Association of Rural Cheesemakers of Slovenia is holding its 2nd Slovene Cheese Festival at the Brdo Congress Centre in Kranj on Tuesday, October 1, from 12 noon till 7pm. 

In just one afternoon, visitors to the festival will get the chance to taste and buy various traditional and contemporary Slovenian farm cheeses, get to know their producers and enjoy cheese-based snacks.

This is Slovenia’s most important cheese festival that features products from all over the country. It also gives visitors the opportunity to get acquainted with boutique cheese production in Slovenia. Farm cheese producers will be on hand to explain whatever people are interested in knowing about their cheese-making processes and products.

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Cheese-aging cellar (Photo: Združenje Kmečkih Sirarjev Slovenije)

Vast Cheese Selection

Thirty-two cheesemakers, including both boutique and major dairies, will present their cheeses this year. It will also be interesting to see the influence of certain foreign cheese-making traditions on Slovenia’s more prominent cheesemakers. 

Such cheesemakers don’t just stick to making traditional cheeses, simply because they’re limited. Instead, they choose to add to their offering by producing more cheeses in other styles. You’ll be able to see the result of their cheese-making education in France and Germany in their vast cheese selection.

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Special Treat

Chef Jože Godec of Resje restaurant in Bohinj will delight festival-goers will his potato- and cheese-based finger foods. Last year, he impressed guests with his goat cheese mousse served on a buckwheat pancake. How he will pamper visitors to this year's festival is yet a secret—to be unfolded on October 1.

This Year’s Novelty

A novelty for this year’s edition is a B2B event that will enable cheese producers to showcase their products to restaurants, chefs, and shops. One main aim of this business section of the festival is to emphasise that businesses in Slovenia should present local cheeses to their customers, rather than foreign ones. This B2B event will take place prior to the festival, between 10 and 11.30am.

The duo Bakalin will provide music entertainment during the festival opening at noon. This duo is from Čadrga nad Tolminom, a village that’s recognised for its rich cheese tradition. Its members are Jani Kutin (voice) of the organic cheese farm Pri Križarju, and Renata Lapanja (accordion).

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Cheese occupies a special place in gastronomy today (Photo: Združenje Kmečkih Sirarjev Slovenije)

Special Place in Gastronomy

At a press conference held last Wednesday to present this year’s festival, Cvetko Zupančič, President of the Slovenian Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry, emphasised that cheeses occupy a special place in gastronomy today. “They are gaining value as consumers are becoming ever more appreciative of and interested in cheese products,'' he added.

Festival details:

The festival grand opening begins at 12 noon, with a B2B pre-event running from 10am to 11.30am.

Entrance fee is €15 per person. For groups of 10 or more visitors, the fee is €12 per person. Entrance fee includes unlimited tasting of over 90 different cheeses and one cheese-based snack.

For more information contact Sara Ketiš; phone number: +386 3164 9002, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More about the Association of Rural Cheesemakers of Slovenia

The Association of Rural Cheesemakers of Slovenia (ZKSS) is an active member of the Farmhouse and Artisan Cheese and Dairy Producer’s European Network (FACE). ZKSS joined the FACE Network in 2017, and since then has been involved in its activities, including the setting up of policies and priorities. The Board of Directors of the FACE Network met for the first time in July this year in Slovenia.

25 Sep 2019, 16:22 PM

STA, 25 September 2019 - Italian students who have started studying or have already graduated from physiotherapy in Slovenia are prevented from finishing their studies due to an amendment of the health services act adopted in 2017 which requires them to gain a B2 level certificate in Slovenian even if they are not planning to work in Slovenia.

A lot of them are thus not able to pass an examination on professional competence since the certificate is required to sit the exam and complete their studies, the students highlighted at today's press conference in Ljubljana.

They have set up Initiative 300 Italy, an action group that raises the issue of their predicament. The amendment will strip the young of their careers and future and destroy many of their lives and families as well as their financial stability and health, said the students.

They pointed out that 18 students passed the exam in professional competence with an interpreter before the law changed, while the rest have been prevented from doing that.

About 150 Italian physiotherapy graduates are waiting for the law to change, while some 30 are still studying. The Alma Mater Europaea Faculty stopped running this course in a foreign language after the amendment, causing about a hundred students to switch faculties.

The Health Ministry told the STA that the students had been misled. In 2016, the then minister endorsed an agreement that allowed students to pass the professional competence exam with an interpreter, but the new legislation does not envisage that anymore.

The remaining students have been informed about the change and thus cannot be exempted from passing the B2 level, according to the ministry.

Lawyer Mihaela Pudgar, who is representing individual students, said today that the amendment had put the students in an unequal position, making them unable to finish their studies in a language in which they were pursuing them and under the conditions that were stated at the start of their studies.

Moreover, Pudgar said that Slovenia had wrongly implemented the European directive on recognition of professional qualifications.

According to her, the 2013 directive lays down that a language certificate needs to be acquired after completing the studies, while Slovenia requires the students to submit it before that, Pudgar told the STA.

She highlighted that the country should not be preventing students who are not to work in Slovenia from finishing their education using the directive.

Pudgar added that the current legislation was in violation of the Slovenian constitution, including a ban on retroactive force of legal acts, equality before the law and the right to education.

It also violates the general administrative procedure act, which lays down that students are entitled to an interpreter, said Pudgar.

The ministry believes that the students can kick off a procedure of recognizing education gained in Slovenia in Italy, thus continuing their educational process in their home country.

However, the students said today that Italy had let them know they should first pass the professional competence examination in Slovenia.

The students have informed a couple of former health ministers about their predicament - former Health Minister Milojka Kolar Celarc, who was at the helm of the ministry when the issue emerged, and her successor, former Health Minister Samo Fakin.

They said they had been promised a withdrawal of the amendment, but that has not yet happened. They have informed current Health Minister Aleš Šabeder of the issue as well, but have not yet received a response.

They have also prepared another health services act amendment and informed President Borut Pahor and Ombudsman Peter Svetina about the situation.

Moreover, the students are deliberating to take the issue to the court if it does not get resolved before. Some of them are also considering to bring damages actions.

25 Sep 2019, 13:19 PM

STA, 24 September 2019 - University of Maribor Chancellor Zdravko Kačič has come out strongly against a recent media report questioning some EUR 50 million in payments to its professors through works contracts. He said on Tuesday that Friday's TV Slovenija report was based on incomplete facts, but did affect the reputation of the country's No. 2 public university.

According to the broadcaster, auditor Ernst & Young found rather high payments to university professors and the university and its faculties' deals with companies suspicious in March 2017.

Some professors received almost EUR 30 million in various fees and another EUR 20 million was paid to university staff who were treated as external staff, TV Slovenija said.

Kačič told the university's senate the media report was based on two reports commissioned by the former chancellor with Ernst & Young - Consulting, Tax Consulting, and not with an auditor. The first was made in 2017 and the other in February 2018.

"Neither found any irregularities in the university's financial operations, but merely pointed to potential risks," said Kačič, who was in charge of the university's finances under the previous leadership.

When he became chancellor in June 2018, Kačič was not acquainted by predecessor Igor Tičar with the first report, but he did receive the second one.

After presenting it to the deans and demanding explanation from faculties, he handed all the papers to "a neutral institution to comprehensively review it and prepare a final report, which will serve for further action", he explained.

Earlier this year, the chancellor said the Institute for Business Accounting had been asked to give its final opinion. Its findings should be known next month.

"If qualified experts find irregularities ..., university institutions will take action," the chancellor's office said in a release after the senate's session.

Kačič said the idea was to present the second report to the public once it became final and contained proper findings and recommendations for further action.

As for the sum of EUR 50 million, Kačič said it referred to the works contracts for the entire period between 2010 and 2016.

"There are many such contracts. For instance, the professors teaching at the Faculty of Medicine are originally employed at the UKC Maribor hospital," he said in reference to the media report that some university staff had been treated as external staff (outsourcing) in receiving payment for their services.

Works contracts are also used for work on different projects, including for university-business ones.

"The payments on the basis of works contracts for University of Maribor staff for 2011 to 2016 amounted to EUR 21.2 million, not EUR 50 million," Kačič's office said.

"We don't want to sweep anything under the carpet, but it is inappropriate to jump to conclusions on the basis of incomplete facts," the chancellor said.

23 Sep 2019, 15:49 PM

STA, 21 September 2019 - A total of 120 bears and a couple of wolves have been culled so far under the emergency law, the Slovenian Forest Service has told the STA. Hunting officials have also been granted a decree for emergency wolf culling in the Julian Alps.

Until the end of August, bears have caused damage in 210 cases, up from 96 in the same period last year. Related material damage is estimated at EUR 71,400, which is again an increase compared to last year's EUR 47,700.

Meanwhile, wolves were destructive in 240 cases (116 last year), with the damage being estimated at EUR 158,000 (EUR 71,600 in 2018).

On average, wolves slaughtered 3.6 heads of small cattle in a single attack, altogether slaughtering 756 of them so far this year. They have also attacked almost 40 heads of cattle, over 40 horses and four donkeys.

The emergency law, which came into effect at the end of June, gives hunting officials the right to cull 175 bears and 11 wolves. The culling of the latter stops if the numbers are reduced by five adult wolves.

Wolf culling comes with special requirements which the Environment Ministry relaxed in August having faced pressure by farmers and hunters. Thus the culling area was extended to cover the entire area of the pack's domain.

Culling can be carried out only in areas stipulated in the emergency law, whereas to cull in other places hunters need a special decree. But even that was made more flexible in August.

The emergency law will be in place until 30 April 2020 for bear culling and until 31 January 2020 for wolf culling, which will also take place during the whole of September 2020.

The Environment Ministry is preparing a new law, with its draft proposing culling of 175 bears and 7 wolves. The Forest Service said that the new law would not hinder the emergency law culling.

Learn about photographing brown bears in Slovenia here

22 Sep 2019, 11:16 AM

The striking, moving sculpture of President Trump that was recently erected in the village of Sela is looking for a new home. The brainchild of the architect and artist Tomaž Schlegl, the 8-m artwork has already attracted global media attention, many visitors, and no doubt huuuge crowds, but cannot stay forever outside the firefighters’ station.

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The work in progress. Kickstarter

Like the man himself, the Trump figure divides opinions. The first aim is thus to raise $21,466 to move the statue to a permanent home. If $40,000 is reached them the artist and his team will complete the inside of the figure, with internal organs and mechanisms to explore, although as yet there’s no word if there’ll be a working heart. If $60,000 is raised then the team will commission a custom craft beer that will then be served, on tap, from the wooden Trump’s groin. $100,000 will see the statue electrified, and the mechanical elements, at present powered by hand, will be electrified, bringing the statue to commanding life. $120,000 means a kitchen is added, to serve some klobasa with the beer, while $120,000 will lead to a party and serious event.

The artwork is a conscious echo of the Statue of Liberty and is dedicated to Freedom. As the Kickstarted says: “The statue is dedicated to Freedom and, whatever you think of the man it represents, there is no doubt that he represents absolute freedom, the freedom to think and say and do whatever he wants without any repercussions.”

Pledge money and there are rewards, such as a T-shirt or print of the statue, President Trump toothpick holder, statue or print, right up to a 3-day “Sela Experience” in the village.

You can learn more about the project here, and until it’s moved you can visit it at the location marked below.

22 Sep 2019, 10:52 AM

Keep up with the daily news in Slovenia by checking the morning headlines here

The following schedule was prepared by the STA:

MONDAY, 23 September
        NEW YORK, US - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec will join world leaders for the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. He will be in New York until 27 September. Health Minister Aleš Šabeder will attend a debate on access to health services.
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will start its regular plenary for September questions time with ministers.
        HELSINKI, Finland - Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec will take part in an informal session of EU agriculture ministers discussing soil carbon sequestration; until 24 Sep.
        KOPER - The coalition Social Democrats (SD) will host a debate on the future of social democracy.
        KOČEVJE - Days of Gottschee Culture will be launched with President Borut Pahor delivering the keynote; until 29 Sep.
        LJUBLJANA - A quarter-finals match of the Men's European Volleyball Championship will be played in Stožice Arena.

TUESDAY, 24 September
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will resume session to debate a bill on recourse for creditors wiped out in the 2013 bank bailout, among other legislative proposals.
        JESENICE - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek will address an event marking 150 years of industrial steel production in Slovenia.
        LJUBLJANA - The start of the Slovenian Festival of Science; until 26 September.
        LJUBLJANA - The Faculty of Arts will celebrate its centenary with a high-profile ceremony to be addressed by President Borut Pahor, Dean Roman Kuhar and Ljubljana University Chancellor Igor Papič.
        VRHNIKA - The presentation of a UNESCO recognition of Slovenia's efforts for preserving the underwater cultural heritage of the Ljubljanica river.
        LJUBLJANA - AmCham Slovenia will hold a special event to present its new president Sašo Berger.
        LJUBLJANA - The Statistics Office will release business sentiment data for September.
        LJUBLJANA - The executive committee of UEFA, European football's governing body, will be in session. An exhibition match will be held on the sidelines of the event.
        LJUBLJANA - The start of the Sonica festival of contemporary electronic music; until 28 September.

WEDNESDAY, 25 September
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will debate amendments to the copyright act and amendments to legislation on social transfers.
        LJUBLJANA - Retailer Mercator is expected to release its interim financial report.
        BRDO PRI KRANJU - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) will hand out awards for best innovations at the national level as part of Innovation Day.
        LJUBLJANA - The winner of the Rožanec Prize for best essay collection will be declared.
        LJUBLJANA - The closing event of Falling Walls Lab Ljubljana 2019.

THURSDAY, 26 September
        LJUBLJANA - The National Assembly will debate the national defence security strategy.
        PODGORICA, Montenegro - Defence Minister Karl Erjavec will start an official two-day visit to Montenegro.
        LJUBLJANA - Weekly government session.
        KRŠKO - The management of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant will speak to the press before a scheduled maintenance shutdown.
        PORTOROŽ - The Manager Association will hold its annual congress and confer the Manager of the Year award.
        DIVAČA - A press conference at the conclusion of a training programme for astronauts from five international space agencies in Slovenian caves.
        LJUBLJANA - A semi-finals match of the Men's European Volleyball Championship will be played in Stožice Arena.

FRIDAY, 27 September
        LJUBLJANA - A climate strike will be held in several cities.
        LJUBLJANA - New Constitutional Court Judge Rok Čeferin will start his term to replace Judge Etelka Korpič-Horvat.
        PORTOROŽ - The Russian Agency for Development of Small and Medium Business will host an Italian-Russian-Slovenian business forum.
        LJUBLJANA - Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved will address Days of Slovenian Administration.
        LJUBLJANA - A series of events will be held around the country on European Researchers' Night.
        LJUBLJANA - A debate on the digital future of the Slovenian language will be held.

SATURDAY, 28 September
        SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - A meeting of hauliers, to be attended by National Assembly Speaker Dejan Židan, Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek and Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar.
        METLIKA - A ceremony will commemorate the liberation of more than 100 Allied prisoners-of-war by the Slovenian Partisan resistance movement in 1944.
        LJUBLJANA - Days of European Heritage and Cultural Heritage Week will get under way, running until 12 Oct.
        KOPER - An international two-day festival of sweet deserts and sweets will start.

SUNDAY, 29 September
        No major events scheduled.

21 Sep 2019, 10:30 AM

If you're not in town for the week of this guide (23 - 29 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.

It’s the last week of September and significantly quieter than it’s been in several months. The Ljubljana Festival has ended, and the vacation is over for almost everyone other than performers, who seem to be taking a break. A few highlights from the days ahead are shown below before going on to the regular listings. 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.

Jump to listings

The 2019 Men's European Volleyball Championship will be held in Stožice Sports Park Arena until 29 September, with 24 national teams playing. Most games are played in the evening, and you can get tickets and see the schedule  here.

Tuesday 24 September, 20:00 Katalana are at Cankarjev dom, while Thursday 19:30 the same venue hosts the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra playing a programme of Beethoven, Strauss and Dvořák, with the following piece set to open the evening.

Friday the climate protest comes to town.

Sunday 29 September Josipa Lisac is playing Cankarjev dom at 19:00

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.

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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'.

A short Jean Renoir festival continues at Kinoteka – see more here.

You can learn more about the Slovenian slasher with the NSFW trailer, above, here

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).

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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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Vice meets Žižek in Ljubljana. If you want to see more of the most successful writer who lives in Ljubljana, click here

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.

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.

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. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums.

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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.

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 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.

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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 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.”

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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, 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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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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20 Sep 2019, 12:30 PM

STA, 19 September 2019 - The Ljubljana mosque got an operating permit on Thursday, the Islamic Community's secretary general Nevzet Porić told the news web portal 24ur.com. It is expected to open for prayers after the New Year.

According to Porić, all work on the interior should be completed by the end of the year and all furnishings should be purchased by the end of February.

The official inauguration ceremony is planned at the end of May 2020, after the end of the fasting month, said Mufti Nedžad Grabus.

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Source: Wikipedia

But the believers would be able to start using the prayer room at the Islamic Religious and Cultural Centre after the New Year's, according to Porić.

The complex comprises a 24-metre cube containing the dome and a 40-metre-high minaret. Aside from the offices, a washing room and a residential section, it was supposed to house a gym and restaurant.

Construction work was launched in May 2015 after decades of efforts. The entire project is valued at EUR 35 million, up from the initial estimate of EUR 22 million. Qatar as the biggest donor contributed EUR 25 million.

20 Sep 2019, 09:53 AM

STA, 19 September 2019 - A survey carried out as part of a programme aimed at preventing peer violence and sexual violence at Slovenian schools has shown that 89% of school children encounter verbal, physical or relational violence.

The study was conducted among 4,500 students aged 12 to 14 from 70 primary schools.

While in the past, studies focussed on the perpetrators or victims, or those who are both, recent studies focus on the observers, children who are witnesses to violence, this being the dominant group with immense social power, psychologist Mateja Štirn said at a congress of Slovenian psychologists in Zreče on Thursday.

Results have shown that girls notice relational violence more often, while boys more frequently witness physical and on-line violence.

Older pupils and those who are doing well at school notice verbal and relational violence more frequently than younger pupils and those who are not doing so well at school. But unfortunately, they usually do not report it.

Sonja Pečjak from the psychology department at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts noted that violence was present at all schools, only that some deal with it openly while others try to cover it up and address it only when it escalates.

As part of a comprehensive programme of violence prevention, workshops and presentations are being organised for children, teenagers, teachers and parents, starting at the kindergarten, to teach the participants how to recognise violence and how to respond to it.

According to Katarina Kocbek, one form of peer violence is on-line violence, as 97% of teenagers in the final three grades of primary school use mobile phones on a daily basis.

Results of surveys conducted in Slovenia and abroad show that as many as 50% of young people have experience with various forms of on-line violence and bullying.

This was confirmed by the study conducted in the 70 Slovenian schools. Some 43% of respondents said they have experienced at least one form of on-line violence at least once in their life, and about a third said they had committed such violence at least once.

Some 25% said they had received insulting texts or that others made insulting statements about them. The share of those whose personal data or photos were abused was the smallest.

Between 4% and 6% of respondents said they were being insulted on a regular basis, that their peers said nasty things about them behind the backs, and that they had faced exclusion.

Experts agreed that the results of the survey point to the need for more preventive programmes, and that such programmes should start as early as possible.

18 Sep 2019, 13:25 PM

STA, 17 September 2019 - Lendava and Murska Sobota remembered on Tuesday local Jewish families that perished in the Holocaust, as Stolpersteine, granite cubes bearing the names of the victims, were installed in various locations around the two north-eastern cities in high-profile commemorations.

 In Lendava, the "stumbling stones" with brass plates bearing the victims' names were installed in Glavna Ulica street in front of the former homes of the families Blau, Balkanyi and Schwarz.

Since Lendava is located in a bilingual area, each member of the families is remembered with two stones, one with a text in Slovenian and the other in Hungarian.

The first memorial stone was installed by German artist Gunther Demnig, who conceived the project in 1992, and Lendava Mayor Janez Magyar.

The commemoration featured a number of guests, including Jewish community representatives, the victims' relatives, and Erika Fürst as the only living Holocaust survivor from the region of Prekmurje, which used to have a thriving Jewish community before WWII.

It was also attended by Mirjana Gašpar and Beata Lazar, the authors of the book Jews in Lendava, and director of the SAZU's Science and Research Centre Oto Luthar, who comes from Prekmurje.

The president of the Jewish Community in Slovenia Boris Čerin Levy and Rabbi Ariel Haddad from Italy's Trieste were also on hand, with the prayer to be sung by cantor Isidoro Abramowicz from a synagogue in Berlin.

The artistic project of installing the commemorative stones was initiated by Demnig 27 years ago to remember the members of the Jewish community who died in Nazi concentration camps, symbolically bringing them back to their homes.

Since then, Stolpersteine have been installed in more than 610 cities in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ukraine, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Norway.

In Slovenia, the project is coordinated by the Ljubljana Jewish Cultural Centre and by the Maribor Synagogue Centre of Jewish Cultural Heritage, whose head Boris Hajdinjak will today recount some of the stories of the deceased families.

The ceremony in Murska Sobota will be held later in the day to remember the families Berger, Hahn and Frim apart from many other Jewish victims of the Holocaust that have been forgotten until recently.

Lendava and Murska Sobota are thus joining Maribor and Ljubljana, the cities where the first memorial stones were installed in Slovenia in 2012 and 2018, respectively.

The honorary sponsor of the project in the country is President Borut Pahor.

Lean more about the Stolpersteine in Ljubljana here

17 Sep 2019, 14:04 PM

STA, 16 September 2019 - Internet users reported more cases of hate speech and of videos of sexual abuse of children to the online complaint website Spletno Oko (Web Eye) in 2018 than in 2017.

A total of 350 websites were reported for allegedly featuring videos of sexual abuse, of which Spletno Oko found 45% to indeed feature such images.

The hotline website believes the cases fall under Article 176 of the penal code, which penalises presenting or publicly exhibiting pornographic material featuring minors.

Spletno Oko says that compared to 2017, the number of reports and potential criminal acts related to the sexual abuse of children increased manifold.

It partly attributes the rise to an intensive awareness campaign about child abuse and about the possibility of anonymously reporting it.

The cases were forwarded to the police, and the countries in which the contentious content had appeared, most often the US and Netherlands, were notified of it.

The majority of the cases forwarded to the police featured children aged 11 to 15.

A rise in the share of material with much younger victims, aged up to six years, was also recorded, increasing by 6 percentage points to 14%.

The share of videos showing "severe sexual abuse" content rose by 9 points to 55%, which Spletno Oko says is worrying. The majority of these victims were girls.

Hate speeches mostly related to Muslims and migrants

Internet users moreover reported 591 cases of alleged criminal acts of hate speech, slightly more than the previous year.

Spletno Oko found 35 of these cases to be potentially prosecutable, up 10 from 2017, but the police filed criminal complaints in only 21 cases.

The majority of the cases forwarded to the police (28%) were related to ethnic background, foremost to migrants and Muslims. The majority were found on news portals.

Spletno Oko is part of the Safer Internet Centre and has been receiving reports of sexual abuse videos and hate speech cases on the internet since 2007.

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