Friday, 31 January 2020

Balkan Travel Part 25: Getting To Know Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is one of the most fascinating Balkan cities that I have visited. Even though it is the capital and largest city of Slovenia, it is relatively slow-paced and relaxing and getting around is seemingly easy. There are two parts to the city. There's the new part where you can see modern high rises and contemporary buildings and there's the old part, also known as Old Town where most of the city's attractions are concentrated. I stayed at Hotel Lev which is located at the newer part of the city but within a walking distance to the Old Town. I did a walking tour from my hotel which is located at Vosnjakova Ulica (street) to Old Town and that was how I got to know Ljubljana, not entirely but enough to fall for its charm and allure. 
Ljubljana impresses through its elegant architecture. There are a whole lot of Art Nouveau buildings dotting the city, the bulk of which can be found along Miklošičeva Cesta (Street). By the way Art Nouveau is the ornate architectural style that defined the early 20th century.  

Among the many Art Nouveau Buildings, there is one that is most eye-popping. Vurnik House the former Cooperative Business Bank, built in 1921 is outstanding both in colour as well as in architecture.
Another Art Nouveau building seen was the former People's Loan Bank (1908). 
This building known as Urbanc House(1902) is Ljubljana's oldest departmental store. 
At the end of Miklošičeva Cesta (Street), lies the most famous and most happening square of Ljubljana. Preseren Square, the city's main square is also the most central spot where major streets meet. Skirting the square are a number of elegant buildings. Seen in this picture is the Central Pharmacy Building aka Mayer Palace and a historical bronze statue of Slovenia's national poet, France Prešeren.
The most prominent landmark on Preseren Square is the 17th century Franciscan Church of the Annunciation.
Preseren Square is very picturesque being surrounded by architectural masterpieces, historical statue and a gorgeous bridge. Seen at the centre of this picture is Hauptmann House(1873), another Art Nouveau building.
My favourite vista in Preseren Square is where I stand in this picture. It shows an intersection of two of the three bridges of Ljubljana's Triple Bridge, also known as Tromostovje. Triple Bridge, uniqely designed with 642 balusters, is another amazing architecture.
This is a sharper image of my favourite spot.
This is a picture of Triple Bridge taken from the opposite side of the river.
Another picture of Triple Bridge showing its balusters.
The River Ljubljanica winds around the city and kind of separates new Ljubljana and old Ljubljana. The river embankment and the river tunnel with its calm green water are added enhancement to the beauty of the city. Seen in this picture is the Central Market of Ljubljana. It is a long stretch of covered buildings and uncovered space from Triple Bridge all the way to Dragon Bridge.
Posing with Central Market and River Ljubljanica in the background.
The scenic River Ljubljanica and the buildings on the embankment.
This majestic building is Kresija Building which marks the entrance to the old town of Ljubljana. It stands on the river embankment just across Triple Bridge.
One of Ljubljana's highlights is its bridges. Many bridges span River Ljubljanica but the most visited are the ones nearest to Preseren Square which are Triple Bridge, Butchers' Bridge and Dragon Bridge. This is a picture of Butchers' Bridge. It is a recent construction (2010) and there is nothing great about its architecture except that is is dedicated to lovers. 
Lovelocks on Butchers' Bridge.
Another famous bridge in Ljubljana is Dragon Bridge. This bridge, opened in 1901 is another Art Nouveau Architecture. The bridge has a beautiful design and it features 4 ghastly dragon statues.
Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana and this is one of the four dragon statues on Dragon Bridge.
Not to be missed if you walk around Ljubljana are its freaky statues. Not refined pieces of work but they are probably meant to be that way; you see many of such statues at many corners of the city.

Experience a riverside walk and you will see many open cafes and shops with interesting facades.

Caught glimpses of the northern end of Central market but didn't have time to see what the vendors were selling.
On the Old Town side, there are lots of things to explore. This picture was taken at Ljubljana's Town Square which is smaller and not as vibrant as Preseren Square. There is a beautiful fountain here, called Robba Fountain.

Standing on the town square is Ljubljana's Town Hall.
A very interesting old town but I had to do a fast-paced walk as the time given to explore the town was very limited. 
This picture is taken at Cyril Methodius Square. It is lined with many restaurants and shops on one side and the huge Cathedral of St Nicholas on the other.
An open air cafe at Cyril Methodius Square with the Cathedral of St Nicholas lurking in the vicinity.
This rustic door of St Nicholas Cathedral is apparently renowned as it appears in many google images.
One of St Nicholas Cathedral's facades.
I got a good overview of Ljubljana even though the walking tour was rushed through. From Old Town, I walked back to Hotel Lev where I stayed.
Last memories of Ljubljana before I depart for Zagreb. Evangeličanska Cerkev is a church very near to my hotel.
A building at No 10 Gosposvetska Cesta (Street) with nice door near Hotel Lev.

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