Slovenia is a small country with a population of only 2 million people. Thus, the capital, Ljubljana, is a small city, with a population of less than 300,000 residents. And this is the beauty of Ljubljana: on one hand, it’s a modern capital providing everything you need, and on the other, it has small-town friendliness and a relaxed atmosphere. It is said that Ljubljana is a city made to the measure of man.
A unique feature of the city is the Tromostovje, roughly translated as Triple Bridge. It starts as a single bridge on one side of the Ljubljanica River and splits into three bridges before arriving on the opposite shore. The bridge starts from Prešern Square, a main square named for the greatest Slovenian poet, Franc Prešern, whose statue dominates the middle of the square. On both of the riverbanks, a vast number of little pubs and restaurants decorated in various styles can be found. With no big-city noise and no cars, this square is probably one of the best things Ljubljana has to offer.
Another thing is Ljubljana Castle. Just a short walk from the city center, I found myself on the wall of the medieval castle overlooking the city. The view was stunning!
But I saved the most stunning part for the end: Metelkova. When Slovenia got its independence in 1991, the Yugoslav National Army left an old military base empty near the city center. If you search the official site for more information, you won’t find any; authorities in Ljubljana have been trying to shut down Metelkova for more than 20 years now. But what is Metelkova? Currently, it’s a squatter paradise, autonomous cultural center, and a gathering of intellectuals and artists. In other words, a place to be.
The 7 buildings at Metelkova offer a variety of content, including clubs, art rooms, showrooms, concert halls, music studios, and rehearsal halls. In this relatively small circle you have everything you need for cultural uprising and development. And the creativity in this area is endless!
There is even a drum hovering in the air that’s connected to a movement sensor nearby, so that when you walk by in the middle of the night, a drum roll suddenly starts. At first I was scared of it, but afterwards I just felt mighty every time I passed by. A drum roll, just for me: I had to feel mighty!
You may not like the art expressions in Metelkova, but you have to admire them. Even Mother Theresa sent a letter of support back in the day. This is how strong Metelkova is, and this is definitely the best part of Ljubljana for me.
P.S. There is also a hostel in Metelkova where you can sleep in actual prison cells! Pretty awesome usage of empty space, I would say!