Ljubljana related

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.

22 Jan 2021, 15:20 PM

STA, 22 January 2021 - Several associations have expressed support to members of an autonomous social and cultural community who were evicted from the defunct Ljubljana bicycle factory Rog earlier this week. The Slovenian PEN centre condemned the "brutal violence" with which there were evicted, while Mayor Zoran Janković rejected accusations.

Members of the PEN centre said the incident was "unbecoming of democratic Slovenia" just as the attitude towards a Radio Študent journalist, a retired Večer journalist, and writer Vesna Lemaič.

"Their mission to report and write about the developments was jeopardised in the most brutal way and thus freedom of speech was jeopardised, which is something we are particularly aspiring for in the spirit of the PEN Charter."

The centre regretted that dialogue had been completely abandoned and that "violence spoke instead". It called on the municipality to protect the personal items of the members of the community which they have been unable to take with them or pay them compensation, and foremost offer them new rooms.

"Their art is the soul and image of our capital Ljubljana, which encourages culture and is UNESCO's city of literature. Dialogue is undoubtedly the only democratic way to a solution to this problem," the centre said.

The Rog community was also supported by the local Ljubljana committee of the Left party, the Asociacija society, NGO Peace Institute, and the Association of Culture Workers.

The latter said the battle for Rog was a battle for "all of us who do not accept the dictatorship of the capital culture". It noted that the cultural community there was "precious not just for the city but also wider".

In the last 15 years, Rog has been a "centre of critical thought, a hub for social movements, a sanctuary for all those who are being marginalised by the capital", a "place of friendship, comradeship, ideas and projects".

"Rog has been a symbol of all those who are rejecting profit, gentrification, rightist violence, capitalist repression, Janšist Orbanisation," reads a press release issued by the association.

Author and artist Svetlana Makarovič said after the incident she was renouncing her title of honorary citizen of Ljubljana. In a statement for the STA on Thursday, she said she was "deeply hurt and outraged by the thoughtless and harsh eviction of Rog residents, especially because animals that had shelters there were also subjected to the violence."

Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković responded to the incident on Thursday, saying that nobody had been at the defunct factory at 7am on Tuesday, when workers accompanied by security guards entered the premises to start demolition with a construction permit after all attempts of mediation failed and based on all court rulings in favour of the municipality.

Supporters of the Rog community and members of the community started to gather in Trubarjeva Street later, and tried to enter the Rog area in a violent way, which police prevented, he said in a Facebook post, stressing that the violence had been provoked by those who wanted to enter Rog in a violent way.

He said that all items that are not owned by the municipality would be recorded and taken to the Snaga waste collection centre in Povšetova Street, where owners would be able to collect them after a prior notice.

The mayor said the municipality planned to build a new Rog culture centre that would provide rooms for more than 500 artists and creative groups on more than 8,000 square metres.

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".

25 Mar 2020, 11:33 AM

A short film by Danilo Milovanović, made during the pubic shutdown dealing with the coronavirus epidemic, shows how Bosnian workers continue to work 10-hour shifts at various constructions sites in the centre of Ljubljana, from Trubarjeva to Gregorčičeva. In the film, with English subtiteles, you can learn about their concerns. 

WORKING CLASS IN THE TIME OF A PANDEMIC from dnlmlvnvc on Vimeo.

 

31 Jan 2020, 18:13 PM

I lived on Ljubljana’s Trubarjeva cesta for my first few years in Slovenia. I left because the rent was too high and the space too small, moving 30 minutes out of the city to a large place I’ve hardly left except for supplies since moving last December. It’s a nice place, a lot better than my apartment on Turbarjeva, but no one will ever write a book about the street it’s on.

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Graffiti is a big part of the street, especially in the second half. Photo: Manca Juvan (and if you're on the street around now you'll see some of her photos from the book on the walls)

Trubarjeva is perhaps the most diverse place in Slovenia. Split between the fancier end that runs from Prešeren to Resljeva cesta, the road with Dragon Bridge, and the more graffiti-covered, falling down and rapidly gentrifying dirty end. The former starts with the Emporium top brand store, while the latter ends with the Rog squat, a what now seems to have been a failed attempt to establish an autonomous zone in a former bicycle factory, a space that’s set for glossy redevelopment.

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With sketches by Blaž Budja, this one showing Emporium

And it’s not just Rog. Starting last year the street has been undergoing extensive renovation work, as befits its status as one of the more trafficked parts of downtown, by tourists and residents who want something different, and it’s rising profile in the city (the book this article will eventually get to was supported in part by the City of Ljubljana).

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The book features interviews with local residents and business owners - in Slovene and English for maximum educational potential. if you need a photo, go to Foto Pauli and see Gordana. I trusted her with my passport photo / author picture / Facebook profile.

Tourism and Airbnb, among other reasons, are why property prices are rising fast in Ljubljana, and with them the rents. This is changing the character of the people who can afford to live there, and the businesses that can afford to operate. But Trubarjeva is still not the Old Town, and there are many businesses used by locals for necessities and minor indulgences.

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What draws most is the variety of restaurants, from cheap to more expensive, with the mix at the time of writing including Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Bangladeshi, Thai, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish, Vegan and Slovenian, without even going into Skuhna and its rotating menu of dishes from Africa, South America and beyond, along with a great spice shop and Asian store.

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There are also some good cafés and bars, with Trubar alone seeing more of my income than anyone other than my landlady in my time on the street, although in some months it was close.

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That umbrella repair store? You can see a documentary on it here

Beyond restaurants and bars, on Trubarjeva you can buy buttons and beads, get your watch or shoe repaired, try a fur coat and second-hand clothes, antiques and art, bread and burek, sex toys and vaporisers. Have your photograph taken or get your hair cut, choose a skateboard or new pair of glasses, a book or umbrella, ride off with a bicycle, equip your home for growing marijuana or stock your fridge with craft beer, purchase health food or handmade chocolates, go to a rave, work with some refugees, attend the "Sigmud Freud University" or watch some graffiti get made. Something for almost everyone.

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You can read our story on Antika Carniola here

Which is to say I’m the ideal reader for a new book, Trubarjeva, Expressions of A Street in Transition, which is being launched next week but can currently be viewed entire online and a paper copy ordered here.

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With texts by Jeff Bickert, in Slovene and English - so great for learning the language, sketches of the street by Blaž Budja, photographs by Manca Juvan and design by Sava Kosmač, it’s a 144-page look Trubarjeva with a variety, colour and cool that are worthy of the street itself. Structured around interviews with people who live and work on Trubarjeva, with faces familiar to anyone who hangs out there a lot, you’ll learn how the street was, how it is, and some of the hopes and fears for the future. Trubarjeva is a unique part of Slovenia that’s changing fast, one that may not survive in its current form for many more years, so it’s good this book is here to document a time of transition.

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All our stories on Trubarjeva can be found here

10 Oct 2019, 16:19 PM

The world of Slovenian craft beer is a fast moving one, and to help you follow the latest developments we’re hoping this will be the first in a series on what’s new, put together with aid of Damir Galijaš, the multi-lingual, multi-talented man behind the Lajbah Pub (Grudnovo nabrežje 15, Ljubljana) and the Že V Redu, Primož beer store and tap room (44 Trubarjeva cesta, Ljubljana), both offering a huge, varied and evolving selection of the best local and imported craft beers.

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"When I go out I drink a pale ale, then an IPA, a sour, double IPA and finish with an imperial stout."

Here are four recent Slovenian craft beers, and one cider, that Damir has been enjoying, in the words of the man himself.

"Dr Orel is back. It was one of the first craft breweries in Slovenia, and it was totally focused on gluten free beer, which was good but ahead of its time. Now Hopsbrew (Domžale) have bought the licence and they’ve relaunched it, which I think is going to become more and more popular."

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"This cider is from Karlovček, a small farm in Šentjernej with lots of apples, and so they started to make a craft cider. Of course it was very popular over the summer, but it’s gluten free and so on, so it’s something you can enjoy all the time."

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"This is a coffee porter from Pivovarna Kralj, a very small brewery with very nice beers, based on the outskirts of Ljubljana. They have an old farm that’s now a brewery. This porter is fantastic, which we also have on tap at Lajbah, with a very good price and performance. Going into autumn and winter the dark beers will be more popular, and this is a great one to sit on the couch in the evening and enjoy alone or with a friend."

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"This is the new Kromberger pilsner from Reservoir Dogs, in Nova Gorica. It’s a fresh beer, maybe just one month old, and a craft beer for people who don’t like craft beer."

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"Pregl is new beer from the experimental range of Kamnik’s Maister Brewery. A very nice sour with passionfruit and mango."

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All our stories on craft beer in Slovenia are here

28 Sep 2019, 14:28 PM

Art enlivens life and soothes the soul, can change how you see the world, can change the world, and – like a good rug – really tie the room together. We were thus thrilled to learn about SLOART a few months ago, which, as we found out in an interview with the owner, Damjan Kosec, aims to connect Slovenian artists with buyers and collectors, using both an online platform and real world gallery. Moreover, aware of the scandals, fraud and other shady practices that have damaged the Slovenian art market in recent years, SLOART focuses on providing the transparency and trust needed to make the scene work in the interests of both artist and buyers.

Related: Ljubljana’s Modern Gallery Highlights Recent Painting in Slovenia

As we noted at the time: It offers works from 1800 to the present day, and even just a passing familiarity with the biggest names of Slovenian art, as seen in the National and Modern Galleries, will make clear what an impressive list of names SLOART offers. Names such as Drago Tršar – the subject of a major retrospective earlier this year, and the man behind many of the most well-known sculptures in Ljubljana; Hinko Smrekar – who did the illustrations for much-loved edition of Martin Krpan; Zoran Mušič – who has his own room at the National; or Rihard Jakopič, the leading Impressionist who founded the school that would go on to become the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Ljubljana. Beyond the dead there’s the living, with exciting works by current artists with years of work and discovery ahead of them.

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Some of the works on offer on the SLOART website

This week the brick-and-mortar version of the project, Galerija Y (with the Y pronounced “epsilon”), at 79 Trubarjeva cesta, the end of the street away from Prešeren Square, opened a new show, Nove Pozicije (New Positions). This showcases works from four of the gallery’s contemporary artists, Tina Dobrajc, Duša Jesih, Arjan Pregl and Sašo Vrabič, which are also for sale. These are paintings, not conceptual art, and so no artists' statements are needed or provided. You can enjoy some of them below, along with pictures from the opening to give a sense of scale, or see them in person until 18 October 2019.

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Arjan Pregl, Dan čarovnic, iz serije Karneval (2018). Photo: Galerija Y

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Arjan Pregl, Shrek z žago, iz serije Karneval (2018) - detail. Photo: JL Flanner

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 Sašo Vrabič, Vrh krize 2 (2019). Photo: Galerija Y

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 Sašo Vrabič, Romeo, (2019) - detail. Photo: JL Flanner

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Tina Dobrajc, Enemy of the State II: Desperate Kingdom of Love (2019). Photo: Galerija Y

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Tina Dobrajc, Enemy of the State II: Desperate Kingdom of Love (2019) (detail). Photo: JL Flanner

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Duša Jesih, Red Cross (2019). Photo: Galerija Y

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Duša Jesih, Never Really Here I, (Re)konstrucija), Hommage a Malevich (2017). Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

You can learn more about Galerija Y here, and pay a visit at 79 Trubarjeva cesta, 1000 Ljubljana.

19 Aug 2019, 20:09 PM

Here's a video of music producer Dave Mech recording some ambient sounds in Slovenia - including some right outside Total Slovenia Towers on Ljubljana's Trubarjeva cesta - and then turning them into music via the magic of an Elektron Digitakt. I was sceptical, but everyone I've shown this to loves it, so it's earned a place in our video collection. What do you think?

29 Jun 2019, 20:32 PM

Trubarjeva cesta is not one of the more obvious tourist streets of Ljubljana. It’s not the Old Town and it’s not by the river. It doesn’t have great views of the Castle or many beautiful buildings. It’s where the smart townhouses end and the smaller homes begin, where the artisans used to live and the actual work got done.

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Of course it’s changing as the city becomes more famous, and well-visited, but it’s still got a character all its own, especially the half that starts around Dragon Bridge and heads out of town. It’s a diverse, graffiti-covered part of the street that has perhaps the greatest mix of ethnicities in Ljubljana, and thus the country, along with the greatest variety of food on offer, from budget prices on up. A place you want to go if you’re hungry, or thirsty, or to see some of street level life of the city, and one with food options to midnight and beyond.

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Right now the road being torn up and replaced, and in some places a little hard to navigate. But the people who live and work there, including myself, are part of a real community of friends and neighbours, and business keeps going despite the dust and rubble. I thus present a walk along the street as of the end of June 2019 with an eye to the food you can get there, in the hope of encouraging you to make a visit and enjoy a meal or two.

Asian, Indian and Turkish food

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Photo: Svilna pot, Facebook

We’ll start our journey at 20 Trubarjeva cesta with Svilna Pot (Silk Road), a small Asian food centre where you can pick up spices, pastes, sauces, ramen, frozen food and so on, with a focus on the foods of India, China, SE Asia, Japan and Korea. It’s run by the people behind Osha – the Thai / Vietnamese place further up the street. A little further up there’s the very lively Centralna Postaja (Central Station) , which offers drinks, burgers and DJ sets.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

Keep walking and you’ll hit Namaste Express, an Indian restaurant, while next door is Šeherezada, a fresh, fast Turkish restaurant with kebabs, falafel, salads, and more, and a best option for food well after midnight on the street. On the opposite side of the street, on the corner, there’s another late night option, the Pekarna Zmajski most (Dragon Bridge Bakery) is open even on days when nothing else is.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Balkan, Arabic, Thai, Vietnamese and Slovenian food

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Cross the street and the livelier, funkier end of the Trubarjeva begins, with a narrower street, smaller buildings, and more graffiti. The first food place here is Riviera, and also the first so far with a Balkan menu of soups, steaks, burek, ćevapčići and the like, and open until 01:00. Big soccer games are shown outside or inside, depending on the weather>

A little further up there’s a closely packed run of places that you’ll want to stop and consider in turn.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

There’s Abi Falafal, a clean, well-lit place that offers an extensive menu offering Arabian food and open until 01:00 from Thursday to Saturday. Just up from this is Osha, a Vietnamese / Thai place with soups, noodles, rice dishes and so on. Next to this is Čompa, a place that looks like nothing special from the outside but is fully booked almost every evening due to its lively atmosphere and short but well done menu of Slovenian meats and wines. It’s one of the pricier places on the street, so check those first if on a budget, and book ahead if you want make sure of a table.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

It’s not a restaurant or bar, but just opposite these places is Hiša Začimb (House of Spices), a fantastic little store that has all the herbs and spices you want and many you’ve never heard of. Well worth checking out, and the only place in town to get many of these things.

Lebanese, burgers, pizza and beer

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Photo: JL Flanner

Keep walking and on your left is Libanonske meze in drugi užitki (Lebanese meze and other delights). In the warmer months you can eat outside, but if you want some shade, or it’s cold, head inside, down a few stairs, and be transported to another place. Read our interview with the owner here.

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Photo: JL Flanner

On your right is then Kavarna Mačkon (Café Tomcat), a place you might hear before you see. It has a short café menu, more drinks and snacks than food, and if you like guitar-based music then this is a spot you’ll want to sit down and enjoy, with the outside tables great for watching the life of the street. Next to this is Pinsa Rustika, a pizza place that sells by the slice, to go or eat in, along with beer and wine. The slices are sold by weight and cut to order.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Opposite this, and tucked just off the street, is Burger Time and its craft beer tap room, with burgers, hotdogs and French fries in the formers, and a selection of craft beers in the latter. You might recognize the name from Izola. If you want vegan food then keep walking up through here and you’ll come across Veganika (which is actually at Komenskega ulica 30).

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Photo: JL Flanner

If you want more craft beer to go, and to choose from one of the best selections in the country, then next to Pinsa Rustika you’ll want to visit the wonderful ŽE V REDU, Primož (Are you OK, Primož?). Run by the people by the Lajbah bar on the other side of town, the right side of the store has a selection of Slovenian beer, while the left side focuses on imports. Unless you’re the owner I guarantee they have things you’ve never heard of, never mind tasted.

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Photo: JL Flanner

The food and drink action then pauses for 15 metres or so, until you come across Trubar on your left. This is a café bar that has all the usual drinks, along with ice creams in the summer and very good croissants and donuts. I’ve spent more time here than any place in Slovenia I don’t keep a toothbrush in.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Italian, Chinese, African and Indian food

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Photo: JL Flanner

On the other side of the road, on a lane that takes you to the river, there’s Capriccio, a pizzeria and Italian restaurant that’s run by Italians. Pizzas are big, thin crust, and come fast – I eat here far too often. Opposite this is the Zhong Hua (China, in Chinese) Chinese restaurant, which is a pretty authentic place that tends toward the spicier dishes and sees a lot of Chinese tourists. If you can read Chinese – simplified or traditional – then ask for the Chinese menu, as the English or Slovenian names aren’t always clear. I go for the 魚香肉絲.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

If you return to Trubarjeva then there’s just two more places before the street quietens down, in culinary terms. First up is the most diverse of the lot, and that’s Skuhna. This project works at integrating recent immigrants by training them for restaurant work, and makes use of their skills by offering a rotating menu of specialities from around the world, with each day focusing on a different country, most often from Africa or Asia. It’s a really interesting project that produces very good food, and you can learn more about it here. After this there’s Tandoori, a small Indian restaurant that has a few – very few – seats inside, although it’s easy to get something to go.

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Photo: JL Flanner

And that, as of the start of summer 2019, is what the food scene is like on my favourite street in Ljubljana, and where I currently reside, Trubarjeva cesta. Check it out next time you’re in town.

Note: This story was produced in collaboration with Trubarjeva na dljani (Trubarjeva at your fingertips), a community-led project to promote the street. You can follow it here

17 May 2019, 22:58 PM

May 17, 2019

The colourful and much-visited Trubarjeva Road in Ljubljana has been undergoing reconstruction since this February, and work will continue for another year. While small business owners, visitors and citizens are grappling with the new reality, many have almost forgotten how nice and lively this street used to be, with tourists and locals now walking on gravel and navigating an ever-changing system of diversion.

Living nearby and expecting this to happen, we snapped some photos at the end of last summer, when the construction works were announced, and are placing them side by side with some shots taken in the last few days. Work on the central section of the road has not yet commenced.

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