Lifestyle

17 Jan 2019, 14:25 PM

STA, 17 January 2019 - An exhibition on Soviet World War II officer Alexander Pechersky, who led the uprising at the Sobibor extermination camp, will go on display at the Maribor Synagogue tonight, accompanied by the screening of the Russian film Sobibor, as an overture to the observation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The exhibition and the film by Konstantin Khabenskiy, Russia's candidate for the 2018 foreign language Oscar, cover the mass escape of Jews from the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland in 1943, organised and led by Pechersky.

Although only 53 of those who escaped survived, it was the most successful break from a World War death camp. The camp itself was ordered by the SS chief Heinrich Himmler to be closed, dismantled and planted with trees within days after the uprising.

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Alexander Pechersky – Wikipedia

The event is being organised by the Maribor Library and Centre of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor in association with the Ljubljana-based Russian Centre of Science and Culture, the Russian Centre in Maribor, International WWII Research Centre in Maribor and the Association of History Students ISHA Maribor.

The event will officially launch this year's observation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day as part of the project Shoah - Let Us Remember 2019 in Slovenia with Culture Minister Dejan Prešiček as honorary sponsor.

The project involves a number of cultural, research and education institutions. Every year they hold exhibitions, scientific conferences and various cultural events to keep alive the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, Porajmos, Nazi persecution and genocide in general and to warn of instances of hatred and intolerance that could lead to crimes against humanity.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on 27 January, will also be observed by an event hosted by the ZZB NOB association of WWII veterans this Sunday at the Kino Šiška urban culture centre in Ljubljana. It will be addressed by Maca Jogan, a University of Ljubljana professor emeritus, who was born in the Lössnitz labour camp.

All our posts on Jewish Slovenia can be found here

16 Jan 2019, 19:45 PM

Ljubljana isn't a 24-hour city, and you're not going to get fine dining at 3am. You understand these realities, and are aware this is not what you should be doing. That whatever you did to end up here, at this time and in this condition, must have been a significant jolt to the system. And what you need is a place to chill out, a bite to eat and maybe a beer, a person who’s not going to ask what you’ve been doing or why you aren’t in bed, but simply what you’d like to order.

Related: Five places to buy cigarettes at night in Ljubljana

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Burek Olimpija is a little hard to find, but not far from the train station or Intercontinental Hotel. Photo: JL Flanner

Whenever the hunger strikes you, at 5 after midnight, 3am or 6, there are just a few places where you be assured of a welcome in Ljubljana, with lights, people and commercial activity focused on the provision of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, seasoned with sugar and salt. Pizza, burek, kebab, burger and fries. Soda, coffee and beer. You know the kind of places.

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Baked good and coffee, but no seats, opposite the station. Photo: JL Flanner

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The Box Bar looks like the kind of place you can drink 24 hours a day. Photo: JL Flanner

Between midnight and 6am your best options for food in the capital, as a tourist or visitor without access to a kitchen of your own, are all clustered around the train station, close enough to each other that you can browse before making a decision.

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Fans of fried meat and bread are in for a treat, no matter what the clock says. Photo: JL Flanner

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And next door there are kebabs. Photo: JL Flanner

Facing from the station and going from left to right you have a bakery, a café bar (where you can sit and drink till sunrise), a burger place, and a kebab store. Going back a few streets and you can find two burek places. Burek Olimpija has been selling these pastries since 1979, and claims to have been the first such store in the city. Currently it’s slightly hard to find as there’s roadworks obscuring the front of the store, but the bold green signs can still be seen. A rival provider, Nobel Burek, is just a short distance away on Miklošičeva.

If there are any 24-hour places we missed in the centre of town, please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we’ll update this story

16 Jan 2019, 18:00 PM

January 16, 2019

Dormice have been hunted for centuries in Slovenia. Nevertheless, unlike many other wild and edible species their numbers continue to persist, which is why polhanje, as the activity is called in Slovenian, managed to continue into the present. The hunting season officially begins every first of October, and different to the majority of such seasons is open to the broader public, anyone who has applied for a special dormouse hunting permit which is relatively easy to get.

Hunting for dormice has changed significantly over the years, as it has gradually moved from an economic necessity towards the preservation of a tradition of socializing at night in the forests, an event of drinking and hanging out that can often conclude without a single mouse being caught.

Dormice were a delicacy in Roman times, and hence the species’ alternative name, edible dormouse, although the habit of eating them only seems to have persisted in Slovenia and Croatia. Let’s take a deeper look into the folklore that helps to put these adorable creatures on a plate, and how it has changed over the centuries.

Habitat and habits of a Slovenian dormouse

In Slovenia, the dormouse, although found almost everywhere, is most common in Inner and Lower Carniola, that is notranjska and dolenjska. In terms of altitude, its habitat is limited by the beech forest, given that beechnuts are an important part of the diet of these animals. The dormouse is an omnivorous creature who likes to eat everything from insects, even tiny birds, to soft fruits, leaves and seeds. Nevertheless, its successful hibernation mostly depends on what it can eat from beech, oak and hornbeam trees.

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A fat dormouse                                                    Photo:Tambako The Jaguar, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0
 

Dormice spend most of the day in holes in the ground or tree trunks, or in between roots, in birdnests, under the roof tops or other shelters. At night they move along the tree branches and are quite good at jumping, said to be even better than squirrels.

Hunting technique

All of this is a very important information when it comes to hunting, as what hunter has to offer in his self-triggering trap must really be very delicious if a fat, autumn dormouse is going to crawl inside and take the bait. Such an animal isn’t going to get caught for a snack it can easily find in the forest.

Typically, bait would be placed into a wooden self-triggering trap, which was put on a long hazel stick and hanged on a tree. 

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Dormouse traps, Slovene Etnographic Museum Ljubljana           Photo: JL Flanner
 
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Placing the trap in the tree, 1964                   Photo: Slovenian Etnographic Museum, digital collection
 

Although the recipe for dormouse bait is every hunter’s cherished secret, the word is out there that it should include a drop of fine pear brandy with a pinch of cinnamon. That is, of course, if you really want to catch, kill, skin, de-gut, cook and eat a dormouse. Most of the people who go on a polhanje today are not that much into hunting, and often spend the night without making a single catch, not caring as long as the company is good, other, less formerly cute foods are available, and the drinks are abundant.

Tradition

The first record of dormice hunt and eating in Slovenia dates back to the 13th century, and was later described in detail by the Slovenian historian Janez Vajkard Valvasor. Dormice used to present an important source of protein for Slovenian peasants, while their fat was also used for healing wounds. Dormice kučma-like hats (polhovka) have since the Birth of Nation (in the middle of the 19th century) been a symbol of Slovenia, and were even banned by the Nazis during WWII. After the war, this hat was placed on the head of the New Year figure Dedek mraz, to make him more Slovenian, not Russian, after the Soviet-Yugoslav split in 1948.

The main goal of polhanje is not to catch a few dozen small animals for a memorable feast, but rather in preserving the tradition of life in nature, and above all such meetings are fun social events that takes place after dark in the forest.

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Picture "Still life" taken by Bojan Štefančič in Matjaž Žnidaršič during polhanje at Cencov dol in Menišija in 1976
 
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Returning from polhanje night, Begunje, cerknica,1980; Photo: mama Julka (ownership of Breda Turšič)
 
16 Jan 2019, 15:00 PM

January 16, 2019

In 1895 a decree of the City of Vienna limited the permitted worktime on Sundays to six hours, sparking protest from Slovenian chestnut sellers.

One of the oldest forms of seasonal work migration among Slovenes is that of selling chestnuts, with people moving at the beginning of winter to Vienna to roast chestnuts in the streets of the empire's capital.

In the 1850s there were about one thousand registered chestnut sellers in Vienna, out of which almost one half were from Slovenia, mostly from the areas of Velike Lašče, Ribnica and Kočevje. Chestnut huts were not known in those days, and kostanjarji would roast their chestnuts in the streets and markets from morning to night, no matter the weather.

On today's date in 1895 the City of Vienna limited all forms of work to six hours on Sunday to enforce observation of the Sabbath as a day reserved for rest and religious activity. This brought complaints from the chestnut sellers, as sales were best on Sundays. The authorities, however, insisted on the shortened hours and only allowed for extensions on the last Sunday before Christmas and in Prater, a large public park in Vienna.

At the end of the season Slovenian kostanjarji mostly returned to their homes, while some remained in the city. The latter were mostly from the Ribnica region, who established handicraft shops In Vienna and would continue their business selling their woodcraft items, also called suha roba (lit. ‘dry goods’) in the streets and markets of Vienna for the rest of the year.

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Suha robatoday.  Photo: Stan Dalone, Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0
 
16 Jan 2019, 16:20 PM

STA, 16 January 2019 - Preparation works have started in Ljubljana's Šiška borough for the construction of what will become the two tallest residential buildings in the country. The two 85-metre towers, expected to be completed by the end of 2020, will feature around 220 apartments.

 The project, located opposite the Celovški Dvori housing complex near the northern section of the capital's ring road, is the brainchild of Izet Rastoder, the owner of Slovenia's biggest tropical fruit importer.

Estimated at EUR 40m, the investment is managed by Rastoder's subsidiary Spektra Invest, which is half-owned as of the end of last year by Podgorica's Zetagradnja, the biggest investor and builder in Montentegro.

The two 21-storey buildings will come with a commercial and business section in the ground floor and with a 420-space underground parking garage.

According to the newspaper Delo, Spektra Invest announced last autumn that the prices of the new flats would not exceed current prices of used flats even though they could be classified as prime housing.

The Rastoder group, mostly known for its banana imports, has been engaged in real estate project since 2014, when it bought the site in Ljubljana's city centre later used by Serbia's Delta to build Intercontinental, the country's only five star hotel.

In 2017, Rastoder also bought the still undeveloped commercial section of Ljubljana's Stožice sports complex, as well as Hotel Bellevue, the capital's former landmark hotel that has for a while been in a state of disrepair.

16 Jan 2019, 14:26 PM

STA, 16 January 2019 - The Slovenian Housing Fund plans to start building two housing complexes in Ljubljana and Maribor this year. In the capital, some 110 apartments for young people will be built, while in Maribor the new complex will offer some 400 apartments with an underground garage.

The fund has already filed for the construction permits and expects construction to start this year.

The youth complex in Ljubljana will be located in the Vič borough, where there are several student facilities already. The new apartments with either one-bed or two-bed rooms will be intended for young people aged between 18 and 29 who want to study or live in Ljubljana.

The 110-room facility will also feature an intergenerational centre, a kitchen with a dining room, a living room, an office, a maintenance room with a separate entrance and an atrium, the Housing Fund said.

According to the fund's head, Črtomir Remec, the construction is to start in the first half of the year.

In the southern part of Maribor, near the city's landmark hill Pekrska Gorca, several two-storey apartment buildings will be constructed in the form of four unfinished squares.

Each building will have a basement, ground floor and two floors, with the complex offering a total of some 400 apartments, 35 to 80 square metres big. Each apartment will also have an underground garage space.

In the first phase, 212 apartments will be built and another 188 in the second, Remec said.

A total of 60 apartments in the complex will be intended for elderly people who need assistance, while the centre will also feature a daycare centre for the elderly, and some shops and offices.

The two projects are in line with the Housing Fund's goal of providing 2,000 new apartments for rent by 2020 and three times as many by 2025 to have a total of 10,000 publicly-owned apartments available for renting.

All our stories on real estate in Slovenia are here, while our “property of the week” stories, showing various properties around the country, can be found here

16 Jan 2019, 11:50 AM

STA, 15 January 2019 - Slovenian traffic statistics have been improving rapidly in recent years, but despite the advances - the annual number of road deaths dropped below 100 for the first time in 2018 - there are some persistent problems, drink driving chief among them. Change appears to be on the horizon.

Statistics for 2018 show that excessive alcohol consumption was responsible for 22 of the 92 road casualties. This is down from roughly a third of alcohol-related deaths in previous years.

But police have found that all drunk drivers involved in accidents last year had very high blood alcohol content, which contrasts with the overall decline in blood alcohol content in random traffic checks.

This shows, according to traffic experts and driving instructors, that existing programmes for dealing with drunk drivers simply do not work for the worst repeat offenders.

Related: The drink driving limit in Slovenia

In mid-November, for example, police reported pulling over a driving school car. The trainee driver was breathalysed and was found to have been drinking.

Subsequent inquiries determined that he had already lost his licence twice, which is why he had to re-take the driving test.

Thousands lose their driving licence in Slovenia every year, many due to drink driving.

A total of nearly 6,300 licences were revoked in 2017, up from almost 4,300 in 2016, though down significantly from the early 2100s, when up to 9,000 licences were revoked annually.

But temporary revoking of a driving licence is merely the most radical measure, most drink drivers are just fined and get penalty points. Fines range from EUR 300 to EUR 1,200.

In total, those who lose their licence may end up paying up to EUR 3,000 to settle the fine and re-take the test (which may include additional practice hours with instructors). But the cost no longer appears to dissuade drivers from sitting behind the wheel drunk.

"For someone with 25 years of experience behind the wheel retaking the driving test is not the solution. Their problem is not that they lack knowledge. Such drivers would need different treatment," says Manuel Pungartnik, the head of the driving school at the automotive club AMZS.

Related: Food, Alcohol, Sex, Marriage, Divorce & Death: Recent Statistics on Slovenia

In the past another major problem was the forging of licences. There was a huge scandal in Slovenia several years ago when dozens of driving instructors and officials were found to have colluded to issue forged licences; most of those who bought the licenses had lost them due to drink driving.

Moreover, penalty points are erased after two years and when the most severe cases of drink driving get to court, judges are restricted to official records of fines, which are available only for the last three years.

This means they do not get the full picture of a driver's past conduct when they decide whether and how they will be punished.

Saša Jevšnik, the head of the Traffic Safety Agency's department for drivers, says the agency might propose a change of the rulebook.

There might be a restriction on how many times a driver who lost their licence may retake the test, and drivers who cause accidents drunk may be sent to do community work to "face the consequences of their actions," she said.

Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said after a recent meeting with a road safety NGO that her ministry would examine possible solutions to tackle drink driving, in particular repeat offenders.

"There should be no trouble finding political consensus," the ministry said.

12 Jan 2019, 22:10 PM

The lights are down, the days are lengthening and the streets are rather empty, as Ljubljana moves into the dead zone between tourist seasons. But while this isn’t good for business it does offer fresh pleasures and new views to visitors and residents, who can now have a little more time and space to themselves in the downtown area. What’s more, there’s still plenty to explore and enjoy, with an incomplete selection of the more organised entertainments, distractions and events listed below, just after the basic information.

If you're reading this and not in town January 14 to 20, 2019, then you can see all the editions of these guides here, with the latest one at the top.

As ever, clicking on the venue names in the list below should get you more details with regard to the time, price and location, as well as other events on at this place in whatever week you're here. Finally, if there's something 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

Getting around Ljubljana

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. If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to part, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is 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.

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.

Cinemas and films playing in Ljubljana this week

You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kid’s movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, so do check before driving out to a multiplex and dropping off the young ones if they can't understand Slovene. That said, parents should 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.

Kinodvor – The arts cinema not far from the train station is showing, among other features, The Old Man & The Gun, Maria by Callas, The House That Jack Built, Suspira (remake), The Favourite and The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear (dubbed).

Kinoteka – This revival cinema isn’t far from Kinodvor, at the train station end of Miklošičeva, and it's showing a few Yugoslav movies this week, including Ubij me nežno, Draga moja Iza, Sedmina, Beograjski fantom and Ne čakaj na maj. There’s also Yi Yi from Taiwan, Le bonheur by Agnes Varda, and Lars von Trier’s Forbrydelsens.

Kolosej - The multiplex out at BTC City Mall is playing all the big movies, which this week include The Grinch (with both subbed and dubbed versions), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldBohemian RhapsodyRobin Hood, Johnny English 3A Star is BornGajin svet, dubbed and subbed versions of Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Aquaman, Bumblebee, a dubbed version of Asterix: Le secret de la potion magique, Second Act, Mortal Engines, Južni veter, Mary Poppins Returns, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, and The Old Man & the Gun. New this week are The Favourite and The Upside.

Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing The Favourite, A Star is Born, The Old Man & the Gun, and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Skrbovni’ca – Bringing inclusion to the heart of Ljubljana

Whether you’re looking for a souvenir, small gift, some directions or a sit down, consider going into Skrbovni’ca when you’re next between the Triple Bridge and Town Hall, just opposite Vigo. It’s a project that aims to bring more physically and mentally disabled people into the community, and you can learn more about it here.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Clubbing in Ljubljana

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 consideable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay caberet to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here.

Ambasada Rog – Friday night, at Trubarjeva 72, there’s Fight the power! Music of rebellion - Persian and Arab hip-hop.

Channel Zero – Monday night is Dub Lab, All Night Session: RollKing. There’s more dub on Friday, which brings Dubwise Massive! with Unlisted Fanatic, and Boris Sound System, among others.

Gala Hala – Friday night it’s Zeleno sonce 119: Russian Attack, with Dj SOUL-K and DJ Udo Brenner.

Klub Cirkus – Friday night the more commercial end of the klubland has New AGE / MILI, with trap, hip hop, and R’n’B from the New Age Gang and a live show from Mili. Saturday the dancefloor is then surrendered to TUTTI Frutti: 90s & 00s Hits, with DJs Matthew Z & Matteo Kunst.

Klub K4 – More than 30 years old and still going strong, on Friday you can enjoy Phi w/ DMX KREW Live! The next night it’s the turn of Just A Dance, with DJs Den7el, Von Meister, and Dulash (Kvalitat), along with VJ 5237.

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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. They recently published a story warning about three pills with very high contents of MDMA, with details (in Slovene) here. Also be aware that all the usual drugs are illegal in Slovenia.

Some fun facts about the city and its castle...

Enhance your stay in the city and impress or annoy your friends and companions by learning some obscure facts about the city here, and the castle here.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Things to do with children in Ljubljana

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

Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke, including: The Frog King, Puss in Boots, Carrot Dwarf and The Little Match Girl. 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 of shows, for children and adults, with the schedule here.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Live music in Ljubljana

Channel Zero – Thursday, from 21:00 to 00:00 you can enjoy live avant-garde jazz with Bonus Level: Ottone Pesante + Koromač, with the former being described as “extreme Italian brass metal lunatics” and the latter as “mixing hardcore and metal with jazz”. Anyone interested in this should note that John Zorn will be in town this summer.

Gala Hala – Thursday, 21:00 to 00:00, there’s stoner rock with Domorodni četrtki: Blackoutt. You can see them playing live at the same venue last year, below.

Kino Šiška – Thursday “diligent folk punkers” We Bless This Mess are playing a show. Saturday it’s Same Babe, who will be presenting their new album.

Klub Gromka – Trobecove krušne peći, an avant-garde postpunk band from Zagreb, will be playing with support from Idrija’s S.O.R, a double-bill you can catch on Saturday.

Ljubljana Castle – Friday is jazz night at the Castle, and this week it’s the Ratko Divjak Quartet.

Orto Bar – Thursday there’s another Kadilnica of Death presentation, with power metal from Minotauro and HairX. Friday night it’s Dirty  Skunks Fest, with Armaroth, Snogg, Teleport, Lintver, Valuk, Agregat and many others. The week ends on Saturday with a live set from Get Back, a tribute superband playing rock hits from the 60s and 70s.

Slovenska filharmonija – Thursday, the 17th, The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra will be joined by Matej Šarc (musical direction and oboe) and Tomaž Sevšek (harpsichord), playing music by three of the Bachs along with Graun and Krebs, with the featured work by the latter shown in the first video below. Friday there’s new music for the new year, with a programme of Pierre Boulez, George Benjamin, Matej Bonin, and Janez Matičič. The piece by Boulez is in the second video. Sunday, the 20th, Simfonični orkester RTV Slovenija will be playing Mozart and Haydn.

Opera, theatre and dance in Ljubljana

Cankerjev dom – Saturday there’s ballet, with Peer Gynt, as performed by the Ballet and Orchestra of the SNG Maribor Opera and Ballet. The next evening the Slovak Philharmonic and Slovak Philharmonic Choir will be performing Antonín Dvořák’s The Spectre's Bride.

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.

SNG Opera and Ballet – Nothing seems to be on here this week, but it's a nice building to admire on your way to or from the Moderna or National Galleries.

LGBT+ Ljubljana

If you want to learn more about Ljubljana Pride, then take a look at our interview with its president here. If you're looking for more general links on "gay Slovenia", including a history of the scene and various projects, then you can find that here, while our stories about the community can be found here.

Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday.

Klub Tiffany – And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays, while every Monday until June 2019 there's tango at 18:00. On Thursday, 20:00,

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.

Museums and galleries in Ljubljana

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

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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. Read about our guided tour here. Something on for a limited time is Plečnik and the Sacred, showing here until January 20, 2019.

Cankerjev domRunning until the end of February 2019 is an exhibition titled Ivan Cankar and Europe: Between Shakespeare and Kafka. This is “An examination of Cankar’s art through an analysis of influences and interpretations, and juxtaposition with contemporary European writers. The visually elaborate architectural and graphic layout, supported by audio-visual media, installation art and diverse visual highlights, offers a vivid account of Cankar’s excellence, his comprehensively exquisite aesthetic and artistic vision.”

City Art GalleryDrago Tršar recently had a show at the main Moderna looking at his monumental works, and now this smaller gallery in the Old Town, not far from Town Hall, is showing some the sculpture’s erotic works, on until January 20, 2019. It’s being promoted with the following example, and is quite explicit in terms of breasts and vaginas, but if that's OK for you and your companions then there's much to enjoy in the paintings, bronzes and ceramics on show. You can read about my visit, and see a lot more pictures, here.

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City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square has an exhibition on the writer Ivan Cankar that’s on until the end of February 2019, with pictures, books and manuscripts, all presented in Slovene and English. It also has a very 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. Until March 2019 there's a show highlighting the work Elza Kastl Obereigner (1884-1973), a pioneer Slovenian sculptress, with an example of her work shown below.

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Photo: M Paternoster

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

Galerija Jakopič – On until March 3 is Over My Eyes (Na moje oči), an exhibition of photographs from Iraq taken by Iraqi photographers.

International Centre of Graphic Arts – Running from Friday until March 3 2019 there will be a show of posters from Milton Glaser, while until March 3 2019 you can enjoy paintings, drawings, prints and murals from Nathalie Du Pasquier in a show called Fair Game.  The latter is being promoted with the following image.

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Ljubljana Exhibition & Convention Centre – Just outside the centre of town, at Dunajska cesta 18, you can see a lot of plasticized bodies at the Body Worlds Vital show, running from October 20 until January 20 2019.

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Photo: Body Works Vital

MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, and until March 25, 2019, has a show on Ljubljana and it's relation with water. Until February 24 visitors can enjoy Toasted Furniture, which presents some experiments with the reuse of plastic waste, and until February 28 there's a show on Oskar Kogoj and his chairs.

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Sam, 1966, fotografija na srebroželatinskem papirju. ©Stojan Kerbler

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.

Museum of Contemporary History – The museum in Tivoli Park has two new shows. One is called Museum's (R)evolution 1948-2018, marking the place's 70th anniversary with an exhibition tracing its evolution through artefacts, photographs and personal stories and running until January 6 2019 (details here). There's also In Search of Freedom: 1968-2018, looking at the 1968 student protests.

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. Running until February 10 2019 is a show called Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926): But Of Course, Painting Is Something Beautiful!, featuring works like the one below. You can read about our visit to the room containing sacred art from the Middle Ages here, and see a picture from our trip after the two girls.

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JL Flanner

National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more, with the big draw this season being the exhibition of over 140 items of gold from Ming Dyntasy China, as reported here, and with an example below. This runs until February 15th.

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Photo: Wang Wei Chang

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 June 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.

Škuc Gallery - You can find this in the old town, and until January 20 there;s an interesting and often moving show called Kids that you can see for just 1 euro, with works by Johanna Billing, Matic Brumen, Andreja Džakušič, Priscila Fernandes, Eden Mitsenmacher, Franc Purg, and Pilvi Takala.

Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum currently has a temporary show on Bees and Beekeeping, on until June 16 2019, as well 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). This place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova.

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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

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.

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

Other things to do in Ljubljana...

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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maxpixel.net, public domain

Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. If you're heading to the coast, check out our interview with a yoga teacher who offers breakfast sessions there, while if you're staying in town (or nearby) and want to try some "family yoga" then you can learn more about that here and maybe get your kids to calm down a moment or two.

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. Note that these close when the snow starts, if it ever does this year, in which case you might be interested in what's new at Slovenia's ski resorts for 2019, as reported here.

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Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain

Daytrips from Ljubljana

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

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Photo: Google Image Search

Finally...

1. You can see all our stories tagged Ljubljana here

2. We found ourselves with friends in Ljubljanski Dvor for pizza this afternoon and had forgotten about the raw size, majesty and value of their 50cm pizzas, which math says is an incredible 1,963 cm2 of flat surface, or somewhat more due to the uneven nature of the actual “pie”. See a write up of an earlier visit here.

11 Jan 2019, 20:00 PM

STA, 11 January 2019 – Gynaecologists (ginekologi)  in Slovenia have too many women enlisted as their patients, which leads to lower-quality examinations and longer waiting times. They thus urge authorities to reduce the number of women per gynaecologist to preserve the achieved high level of gynaecological care.

Medical Chamber representatives told the press in Ljubljana on Friday that a shortage of gynaecologists and ever new generations of women entering the system had affected access to gynaecologists.

They believe at least 30 new gynaecology teams would be needed to cope with the shortage and take the pressure off overburdened gynaecologists.

In 2018, a gynaecologist had an average of 4,800 women enlisted as their patients, while the college of gynaecologists and obstetricians maintains 4,000 would still be an acceptable figure.

However, some gynaecologists had even more than 7,000 women enlisted, explained Domžale Medical Centre gynaecologist Petra Meglič, who treats some 6,200 women.

All women, including girls aged at least 13, are entitled to choose their personal gynaecologist in Slovenia.

Since some 700,000 women have their personal gynaecologist, gynaecologists carry out more than 1.5 million medical examinations a year.

Another burden is a number of administrative tasks gynaecologists are obliged to carry out, which further shortens the time they have for their patients.

An aging and shrinking profession

Gynaecologists are, moreover, getting older; in 2017, out of a total of 361 active gynaecologists, 160 were older than 50 and 82 older than 60.

Some 300,000 women could remain without their personal gynaecologist due to retirements in the coming years.

"Young specialists prefer to work at hospitals, as working in a gynaecology office is extremely specific, with constant high pressure to process a mass of women," said Meglič.

She also said her office rejects 10 to 20 women who have not yet chosen their personal gynaecologist a day.

According to gynaecologist Renata Završnik Mihič, young doctors are eager to specialise in gynaecology, yet not enough residencies had been opened over the past years to make up for the shortage that would stem from retirements.

The system is working only because gynaecologists assume ever more work, which leads to burn-out.

They thus called on authorities to overhaul the standards governing the number of women patients per gynaecologist, which were adopted in 1994, taking into account population ageing and new discoveries in medicine.

In this way, the country will preserve its quality gynaecological care, few unwanted and teenage pregnancies, relatively few abortions and a low rate for cervix cancer.

11 Jan 2019, 14:20 PM

STA, 10 January 2019 - The Slovenian word of the year 2018 is čebela (honeybee), the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) announced on Thursday. More than 2,000 votes, which is a new record, were collected in the third campaign to pick the word that left the biggest mark on the past year.

Honeybee was followed by micro-plastic (mikroplastika) and a cup of coffee, while the shortlist also included woman general (generalka), orbanisation (orbanizacija), graphic novel (risoroman), hatred (sovraštvo), texting (tekstati), tactile book (tipanka) and guard (varda).

According to Simon Atelšek, researcher of the Fran Ramovš Institute for the Slovenian Language and one of the authors of the Beekeepers' Terminological Dictionary, the Slovenian terminology in beekeeping has very few loanwords.

"This is because Slovenians have always been very advanced in this field - Anton Janša was appointed the head of the first royal beekeeping school by Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century - so we have been exporting our know-how rather than importing it like in law, military etc."

Another interesting fact is that "we had as many as four individual beekeepers' manuals by the mid-19th century, which is extraordinary compared to any other related field," Atelšek said.

Slovenian terms used in beekeeping reflect the great respect Slovenians feel towards honeybees, he said. While there are two different terms for dying for animals and humans in Slovenian, the term for bees is the same as for humans.

Moreover, the term for the queen bee is derived from the word mother in Slovenian.

This year, more than 2,000 people cast their vote for the word of the year in an on-line poll published on the website of the ZRC and the MMC portal, and both partners' accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

That is twice as many as last year, ZRC SAZU said.

The most innovative word of the year was also picked this year. The winning word is drečka, a bag for picking up dog poop.

Word of the year proposals are collected throughout the year and then a jury of experts makes a shortlist of ten words, which are put up for a vote.

In 2016, the word of the year was refugee and in 2017 European champions.

All our posts on the Slovenian language can be found here

11 Jan 2019, 12:50 PM

STA, 10 January 2019 - Slovenians place the highest trust in firefighters, nurses and scientists, but they distrust politicians and priests the most, while they also hold domestic SMEs in high regard, a survey has found.

The survey, conducted by pollster Valicon, showed fire-workers enjoying a 93% trust rate as the most trustworthy profession, followed by nurses (76%) and scientists (61%).

The least trusted professions are priests (-53%), government ministers (-69%) and politicians in general (-86%), however Valicon said that all of them fared better than December 2016 when the survey was conducted for the first time.

The most trustworthy institution or organisation is Slovenian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with a 56% trust rate, followed by the company or organisation where the respondents work 38%.

The police force ranks third at 30%, followed by the armed forces at 22%, while the list is trailed by the ruling coalition parties (-61%), the National Assembly (-64%) and opposition parties (-67%).

The trust rate is calculated based a margin between the number of those who say they trust an institution fairly or very and those who say they do not trust it at all or rather don not than do.

Many still dissatisfied with the general situation in the country

The survey, called Slovenia's Mirror, also found that the proportion of those who are satisfied with the situation in the country in general rose from 2% at the time of mass anti-establishment protests in December 2012 to 28.4% in December 2018.

In turn, the proportion of the dissatisfied fell from 91% to 43.9%, while 27.7% said they were neither satisfied nor satisfied.

More than seven out of ten said they were happy personally, which compares to 58% six years ago.

The proportion of those who are optimistic about the future rose by more than ten percentage points to 43.5%, while the percentage of the glum nearly halved to 18%.

But only 20% believe that the situation in society is turning for the better, against roughly 40% who believe it is turning for the worse and as many who think the situation is not changing.

The survey was conducted based on an online panel of respondents between 14 and 16 December and between 21 and 23 December involving 1,001 respondents.

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