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Slovenia: Ljubljana Old Town

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Ljubljana Old Town | Slovenia | Europe

[Visited: August 2013]

My first visit to Ljubljana (after previous visits as a child), was under an hour between arriving at the central station and leaving for the east of the country. I walked to the central part of the city, and at once felt at home in this easy-to-grasp, compact, and pretty place, and looking forward to a longer visit later that week. When we came back to the Slovenian capital on a summer afternoon, the city was remarkably quiet, compared to some of the busier places we had seen around the country. We decided to follow our intuition, and strolled around Ljubljana without a clear goal, merely enjoying the sights. We crossed the Dragon Bridge, or Zmajski Most, topped by four fierce bronze dragons, the symbol of Ljubljana. Locals claim that whenever a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons wag their tails. The bridge offers a good view of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, as well as the castle on top of the hill to the south.

Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): One of the dragons of the Dragon Bridge with the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in the background

Not far from the bridge, we bought a tasty ice cream, and walked past the statue of Prešeren, the most famous Slovenian poet. His muse is depicted right above him, while his lover is sculpted in a wall on a house across Prešernov square. On the other side of the square is the pink baroque Church of the Annunciation. We crossed the Triple Bridge, three almost parallel bridges spanning the Ljubljanica river. We arrived in the old part of town, where we walked the main street towards the real centre of the old town, Stari Trg, or Old Square. Most buildings are baroque, although some medieval houses can still be spotted. The light of the late afternoon was lurking around the flowers and lanterns hanging from the buildings, and casting long shadows on the cobble stone streets.

Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): The Triple Bridge gives a choice to cross the Ljubljanica river in downtown Ljubljana

It was time to walk up to Ljubljana Castle, passing some more lovely houses. A path runs around the castle on top of the hill, offering sweeping views over Ljubljana, as well as views up to the tall walls of the castle, and its tower with a flag. Walking around it, offers views of Ljubljana in all directions. The 16th century building now is a lively place where preparations were made for an open-air cinema. We sat on the western side of the wall, watching the sun go down, and were back early next morning on the other side to see the sun rise again. The contours of the Alps seemed very close, and with the city awakening below us, we descended again to walk around the empty streets of the old town of Ljubljana. How pleasant to be able to criss-cross a town, coming back to the same places, seeing it from different angles, and just soak in the beauty of the place without a plan! We ended our tour of the old town at the Dragon Bridge, where the dragons were basking in the morning sun.

Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): View of Ljubljana Castle from below
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Monument dedicated to Slovenian poet Prešeren, topped by his muse
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Dragon on the wall at the entrance to Ljubljana Castle
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Lantern and flowers in the early morning
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Detail of Robba Fountain in downtown Ljubljana
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Late afternoon light on some houses of the old town of Ljubljana
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Detail of the door of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Cathedral of St. Nicholas seen from the other side of the river Ljublanica
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): View of the ceiling of the Chapel of St. George, covered in murals
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Old town of Ljubljana: detail of a building with lantern and flowers
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): The Church of the Annunciation seen from across the Triple Bridge
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Early morning light on the University building of Ljubljana
Picture of Ljubljana Old Town (Slovenia): Sculpted figures and a balcony Schweiger House, one of the monumental buildings in Ljubljana

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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