Ljubljana related

02 Nov 2021, 11:09 AM

For a long time now things have been bad, and strange at best, for travel, tourism and hospitality in Slovenia and beyond. Back before the masks there were big plans for 2021, with the country set to enjoy the spotlight of the title European Region of Gastronomy for the year, along with the wider attention that goes along the 6th month presidency of the EU Council. But we do at least seem closer to the end than the beginning, and fun times without restrictions could be back again, with impromptu trips, visits and activities a natural part of life as the rules fall away or are simply ignored.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Which is a roundabout way of saying we don’t want to jinx things by saying Ljubljana’s baaaack or get all overheated, just that the good folk at Ljubljana Tourism are back with another “November Gourmet Ljubljana”, bringing more life to a traditionally quiet time of year and easing the city into the month-long, annual attraction that’s December. The project is a joint campaign of hospitality service providers, hotels, food producers, wine makers, brewers, distillers and public institutions.

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As yet there’s no English program (that may come here), but the Slovene one works reasonably well with Google Translate and can be found here.

So there’s a full month of activities and events, from the simple turn up and enjoy good food and drink to the more hands-on workshops. Together the varied program presents not only Ljubljana as the natural showcase for the best of all the varied regions of Slovenia have to offer, but also the more local delights specific to the city and it’s surroundings, as well as it’s role as a hub, attractor and connector with the broader region, with guests from around Europe.

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Some of the speakers - see the details here

There are seminars and workshops, tasting events, themed meals and five-day cooking courses. There’s a series on meat and a class on confectionary, how make mini sweets and sweet snacks. There are also gin, beer and wine events, with the focus of the latter being Martinovanje on 13 November, the national coming out party for new wines and a great way to spend a day buzzed, culturally enriched and fortified by nibbles and sips in the company of others. See it all and make plans at the website..

Martinovanje some years ago

Rounding out the first week is the latest edition of the European Food Symposium. Originally scheduled for March but postponed for obvious reasons, it’s being held from 6-8 November and will bring an international collection of speakers and practitioners to the city. There’s a lot going on, including a Gourmet Ljubljana Crawl and Adventure Dinner. You can learn about the symposium and its exclusive events at the official website.

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Luka Košir in the kitchen, making the dish at the top of this story. Photo: Marko Delbello Ocepek

Whether your interest in food and drink is limited to grabbing a sandwich while sipping a beer or talking to a grocer about the terroir of their carrots, you’ll find something to make you happy during the month of delights that starts today. What’s more, your venue for such pleasures will be the always charming, easy to navigate and difficult to spend a fortune in Ljubljana.

08 Aug 2021, 10:04 AM

STA, 8 August 2021 - The prices of old flats in multi-storey buildings in Ljubljana rose by 48% in the period from 2015 to 2020, after the downward price trend reversed in 2015. The median price per square metre reached nearly EUR 3,000 last year. At EUR 2,960, it was record for a third year in a row and 69% above the median price for entire Slovenia.

As Slovenia's business, administrative and university centre, the capital city has by far the most developed property market in the country, the Mapping and Surveying Authority (GURS) says in the 2020 Slovenian property market report.

In recent years, which have been marked by economic upturn and record low interest rates, demand for housing in Ljubljana has been constantly rising.

People have been buying housing in the capital for their own use, as an investment or for rent.

On the other hand, there has been a shortage of new homes, chiefly as a result of a lack of development projects in 2010-2017, GURS says.

"This quickly resulted in excessive demand for housing and a strong growth of their prices in the capital city."

The median price for flats at multi-storey buildings at national level last year reached a record EUR 1,750 per square metre, but EUR 2,960 in Ljubljana.

The highest median prices in Ljubljana were recorded in the statistical area of the city centre - at EUR 3,280 per square metre.

Poorly maintained flats sold for as low as EUR 2,000 per square metre, while two 100-square-metre flats at Villa Urbana sold at as much as EUR 6,500.

The bulk of flats were meanwhile sold at EUR 2,700 to EUR 3,800 per square metre.

New flats sold from EUR 6,800 in the city centre to EUR 2,800 in the Šiška, Črnuče and Sostro boroughs.

An average price for a new flat was meanwhile EUR 3,200 per square metre, tax included, but without a parking lot.

In the 2015-2020 period, housing prices in Ljubljana posted highest growth rates in 2016 to 2018 - that of 12-15% a year.

Housing transactions meanwhile dropped last year, mostly as a result of the epidemic after they were rising from 2015 to 2017 but them dropped a bit in 2018 and 2019.

Transactions in flats and building land in Ljubljana dropped by 20% each compared to 2019, while the drop in transactions in family houses reached 15%.

02 Aug 2021, 12:38 PM

STA, 2 August 2021 - The 30th TrNOVfest festival, the successor to the Trnfest summer festival in Ljubljana's Trnovo borough, is getting under way tonight, to feature concerts, cabaret evenings and other artistic performances throughout August.

The opening concert on Monday evening will feature Black Ivy, a heavy metal band from Ilirska Bistrica. They have been active since 2019 and already released an EP, entitled Trapped In Delirium.

On Wednesday, the quartet Lilith Cage will present their album Shadows, offering an excursion into psychedelic shoe-gaze and post-punk, according to the festival's website.

The following festival evenings will feature hard rock band Hogminister, the band Eyecontact from Lendava, the band Before Time with a touch of psychedelia and contemporary indie rock, and the pop-funk-rock fusion quartet KiNG FOO.

The Celje rock trio Tidal Waves and the band Seven Days In May will also perform, while numerous evenings of dance, burlesque and cabaret will be conjured up by Glam Squad Burlesque.

On Friday, 13 August, the courtyard and the hall of the venue in Trnovo will be taken over by the event Friday the 13th - Metal Edition. The festival will come to an end on the last day of August with a performance by the Balkan folk jazz band Gugutke.

The festival is organised by the France Prešeren Centre of Slavic Cultures (KUD CSK FP).

Learn more at the website or on Facebook

14 Jun 2021, 11:25 AM

STA, 14 June 2021 - The ongoing WoW festival, organised by the City of Women association and taking place in Ljubljana, focuses on the accomplishments of women and non-heteronormative individuals today as well as throughout history, and serves as conclusion to the two-year Women on Women (WoW) project.

Iva Kovač, City of Women's programme manager, has noted that the programme has been complied together with the partner associations from Croatia, Ireland and North Macedonia.

To celebrate the conclusion of the project, they have introduced the WoW awards, which were presented for the second time this Saturday at the festival's opening ceremony.

Tomorrow, a feature film by Nika Autor that traces the life of a 81-year-old and adds a culinary twist to the story by featuring old Yugoslav recipes and follows the life stories of the Yugoslav guest workers will be screened.

The Wow Group, which was formed as part of the Wow project, will make a guest appearance at the Festival of Migrant Film with last year's production of Catastrophic Blues I that explores issue of precarious work.

It will be followed up with the art installation Catastrophic Blues II at the Wow festival, and additionally, an installation-related workshop will take place.

Also designed as part of the project is the Fearless Women card game that promotes social engagement. Visitors will have a chance to play a hand next Thursday at the Tabor bar.

The festival will close with an exhibition by visual artist Barbara Kapelj that features workspaces of an array of women artists, which will be on display from 21 to 25 June at the Cirkulacija 2 art house.

Learn more at the website

12 Jun 2021, 15:19 PM

STA, 12 June 2021 - Clowns, magic and illusion are returning to Ljubljana streets as the 14th international Klovnbuf Festival kicks off in the Fužine Castle park on Saturday with clown performances and workshops. In the first part of the festival, running until 19 June, mostly foreign artists will be presented.

The opening events will include children from Montenegro, while one of the highlights will be the contemporary circus performance Instable by one of the most promising circus French artists of his generation, Nicolas Fraiseau, on Sunday.

The organisers also pointed out Tangram, a joggling performance by Stefan Sing and ballet dancer Christiane Casadio, a German-Italian project pushing the boundaries of new circus, dance and theatre, and String Theory by the group Lyapunov, uniting six artists from Belgium.

In the second part of the festival, from 25 July do 1 August, Slovenian artists will be presented with contemporary circus performances and other genres.

This year, the event will be all about searching for balance between circus and other genres, between the "normality of yearning and abnormality of living," the organisers say.

Like every year, the festival will bring a mixture of different languages of contemporary circus to different venues around the city from Fužine Castle, Tabor Park, Congress Square, Skala Center, Dance Theatre Ljubljana and the Old Power Station.

The accompanying programme will include presentations of emerging performances, residential programme and workshops.

Learn more at the website

13 May 2021, 11:23 AM

STA, 13 May 2021 - When the bicycle renting system Bicikelj was set up in Ljubljana on 12 May 2011, there were 30 stations and 300 bicycles. Today, the system boasts 73 stations with 730 bicycles, while the plan is to expand it to over 80 stations and 800 bicycles by the end of the year, the municipality has announced.

On the first day, the municipality recorded 787 rentals, and to this day, 217,000 users have made eight million rentals, almost all of which shorter than one hour and therefore free of additional charge. The highest number of rentals in a day, 6,387, was recorded on 22 October 2019.

Although the pandemic lowered the number of rentals compared to recent years, the number of active users continues to rise, now standing at an all time high with 52,500 users or 17% of Ljubljana's population.

"The municipality is aware of health and environmental benefits of cycling, so it constantly upgrades the cycling infrastructure," Mayor Zoran Janković said on Wednesday.

Numerous sustainable mobility awards prove this, alongside the fact that since 2015, Ljubljana has been among the top 20 cycling-friendly cities in the world three times in a row according to the Copenhagenize Index.

These achievements will be presented at the Velo-City 2022, a world cycling planning conference Ljubljana will host from 14 to 17 June next year.

Bicikelj is operated by the billboard operator Europlakat through a public-private partnership. Europlakat is part of the JCDecaux group, which is the reason why one of its executive directors, Jean-Francois Decaux, visited Ljubljana on the occasion.

"Ten years ago, Ljubljana was the first city in Central Europe to introduce a bicycle renting system for its citizens and tourists through a public-private partnership. I'm very proud that Bicikelj has become one of the most successful systems in the world, with each bike being rented an average eight times a day," he said.

Over the years, Bicikelj's software has been updated. The mobile app BicikeLJ Official allows users to check the availability of bicycles and free spaces at each station. Rental is possible with the app or with the Urbana city card.

Learn more about how to rent a bicycle in Ljubljana

15 Mar 2021, 11:56 AM

STA, 15 March 2021 - Renovation work on the eastern tube of the Golovec tunnel, located on the south-eastern section of the Ljubljana ring road, got under way on Monday after work on the western tube was completed. The upgrade, during which the tube will be closed to traffic, is expected to take two months with replacement train transport available at discount prices.

The renovation comes after the western tube was already modernised last summer. The work on the second tube was supposed to start in summer this year, however national motorway company DARS decided to capitalise on an epidemic-driven decrease in road traffic and went ahead with the project earlier.

During the renovation, all traffic will be redirected to the western tube, however the tunnel will be off limit to vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes, which will have to opt for other sections of the ring road.

According to DARS, traffic will be organised in a 2+1 fashion, with the format adjusted to peak hour periods.

The eastern tube will be closed to traffic until 15 May. During the next two months, DARS will offer, in association with rail operator Slovenske Železnice, a discount of 50% on train tickets for Kočevje-Ljubljana and Novo Mesto-Ljubljana lines.

Drivers will be notified of any renovation-related congestion via online platforms, media and special signs situated at the main intersections on the ring road.

Slovenian builder Kolektor CPG is in charge of the entire project, whose price tag is estimated at EUR 8.56 million, VAT excluded.

DARS explained that the renovation was very much needed since it was the first since the tunnel opened in 1999. The eastern tube will get the same facelift as the western did last summer - replacing concrete with asphalt and setting up LED lighting and a thermal traffic detection system for traffic incidents, among other things.

What also lies in store is an upgrade of a link road connecting the BTC shopping district and motorway. DARS entrusted the project to Slovenian Trgograd and its Croatian partner GP Krk for more than EUR 2 million, VAT excluded.

28 Jan 2021, 12:05 PM

STA, 27 January 2021 - In just over a week after the Ljubljana City authorities started clearing out the disused bicycle factory Rog following contested squatter evictions, large quantities of what appear to be stolen goods and drugs have been found at the old factory complex, according to the Ljubljana municipality.

The municipality said in a press release on Wednesday that the city's utility company had found a number of new household appliances, still in their original packaging.

Moreover, a large amount of used and new drug needles, as well as large quantities of illegal substances, were also found, the press release said.

Workers clearing out the premises also found nearly 400 bikes, bike wheels and bike frames, many of which seem quite new, the press release said, adding that the police had been notified of these finds.

The press release also said that all belongings of former Rog residents had been recorded and are now available for takeover.

So far, nearly 43 tonnes of waste has been removed, with the utility company estimating that at least three time as much waste still remains on the premises.

"Most of the rooms at Rog were literally overflowing with waste. This, in addition to dangerous chemicals in the galvanising section of what was once a leather factory and asbestos roofing, makes for an environmental time bomb," the press release said, referring to the leather factory that operated on the premises before these became a bike factory.

The Ljubljana municipality also said today that it started tearing down "dangerous and dilapidating constructions near the main factory building, which, in turn, is listed as a cultural monument and will be completely renovated".

The municipality is determined to clear out the waste as soon as possible, so that the planned investments may be launched in a few months, the press release said.

The new Center Rog is to provide more than 8,000 square metres of modern production space for more than 500 artists and creative groups, it added.

19 Jan 2021, 11:55 AM

STA, 19 January 2020 - Members of an autonomous social and cultural community that have been squatting the defunct Ljubljana bicycle factory Rog for years are being forcibly removed from the premises on Monday as construction work started on the site.

The Ljubljana authorities confirmed they had started tearing down buildings on the site as part of the long running efforts to remake the rundown site into a new creative hub.

Representatives of one of the activist organisations squatting the compound told the STA security guards dragged people out of the building with police standing watch, while the rtvslo news webs site reported police used tear gas against some individuals.

The Ljubljana Police Department (LPD) confirmed for the STA that the owner of the premises was carrying out construction work on the site, initially with the help of security guards.

The police were called in as persons gathering on the premises would not follow the guards' instructions, the LPD said, adding they had established violations of the public peace and order on the site and persons who did not follow police orders were fined.

The police said construction and security services had secured the building and checked whether there were persons inside to set up a building site. "The public order has been established and police will stay on the site to ensure it remains that way," the release said.

Video footage available online shows fences being put up and individuals being handcuffed and taken away by the police as some of the onlookers carried banner saying We're not giving up Rog.

The city, which has included the Rog makeover project in its 2021 budget, has been trying to take possession of the premises for years, including through courts. It most recently tried to evict the squatters in 2019 after winning a court battle against several of them.

"Having been notified in recent weeks that Rog is empty, we took possession of the premises, which are property of the Ljubljana municipality, today," the city authorities said.

They added that they had started demolishing work based on a development permit and "environmental remedy of the site, which is seriously degraded and dangerous" due to galvanic residues and structural instability of the buildings.

They are planning to publish a tender within a month to pick a contractor to renovate Rog, announcing that a new Rog Centre would be completed within two years to provide "premises to more than 500 creators and creative groups on 8,000 square metres of modern production space".

"By revitalising the site we will acquire a new creative meeting point and a hub linking the city centre, the Metelkova cultural centre, the new Cukrarna Gallery and Cukrarna Palace," they added.

In response to the developments, the local chapter of the Left party protested against what it called a renewed attack by the city authorities on the autonomous Rog plant, accusing the mayor of abusing the epidemic, also against NGOs helping those affected by it.

The party said the mayor secured an additional EUR 1.8 million for the Rog project in the revised city budget passed yesterday, while "social and education programmes that have been enriching the city for years will be erased [...] and alternative culture disabled".

16 Dec 2020, 12:54 PM

STA, 15 December 2020 - The Ljubljana City Council has adopted a new strategy for the development of tourism in 2021-2027. The main goals include increasing off-peak season visits and average spending, and extending the average stay. The strategy acknowledges the post-coronavirus tourism recovery will take time.

The Slovenian capital seeks to increase the number of tourist nights by 14%, with the average spending per tourist to rise from EUR 101 to EUR 140 and average duration of stay to increase from 2.5 to 3 nights.

Two of the cornerstones of the city's tourism remain the same: meetings and short city breaks. The third pillar will be gastronomy, which the city sees as a significant development opportunity.

Overall, the success of the strategy will hinge on increasing visitor numbers between November and March.

One of the events designed to entice tourists in the off-peak season is a new Ljubljana Love Festival in February with a series of weekend events such as exhibitions, concerts and dance festivals.

November Gourmet, which would tie the city's gastronomy with local customs, music and dance, would revolve around St. Martin's Day, the traditional Slovenian celebration of must turning into wine.

The strategy was confirmed by the City Council at Monday's session.

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