Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. Being a university city, it is also the most populated. Lying between Vienna in Austria and Venice in Italy, it has gained some importance as a transport route from Northern Europe and the Adriatic Sea. Its geographical location likewise rendered it a natural passage between Central Europe and the Mediterranean. As such,it’s a city which is like a “Little Vienna” with a very Mediterranean feel. And evenings have a particular charm when lamplights flood the lovely bridges and buildings, and cast a reflection on the waters.

📸 Rick C.

We instantly liked Ljubljana even as we felt its summer temps walking and crossing its triple bridges in Preseren Square. It is a mid-sized city by European standards and is manageable to tour around. Affectionately called the “beloved” because its name is derived from “Ljuba” which translates to “love”, its residents express this love and pride for this young capital in the way it’s kept clean, safe and orderly. It is a capital city with small-town friendliness, yet retaining its historical heritage. In the two nights we spent here, we covered most of the city attractions. It helped that our hotel is right within the pedestrians-only area of the Old Town and near the river lined with many interesting shops and dining places. Dining here was a rewarding experience too as we enjoyed all our meals without burning a hole in our pockets.

Triple Bridge

Reminds me of Piazza Navona in Rome

What Gaudi was to Barcelona, Plecnik was to Ljubljana. This Slovenian architect put his stamp on nearly all landmarks here and is so loved by the locals. It’s a fine example of urban planning as Plecnik took charge of the construction and renovation of many key buildings here. From the three bridges fronting the Preseren Square to the Central Market building along the river, to a theatre, a stadium, among others. The locals adore him and accord him the respect like he’s a national hero. Another such icon is Preseren, a poet and composer responsible for the country’s national anthem. The main square is named after him, a statue standing tall quite unlike other city squares graced with monuments of military men/heroes or national leaders. An architect and a poet — men of art. This alone says a lot about the Slovenian psyche.

City Hall Of Ljubljana

The Franciscan Church In Preseren Square

A city of dragons? There’s a good legend behind this country’s symbol. But it involved a “swamp monster” rather than a dragon. A dragon Bridge was so named to honor this legend of Jason who allegedly founded Ljubljana. One of many such bridges spanning the River Ljubljanica. There are many photos of this reinforced concrete Dragon Bridge given its popularity among tourists. And there are more legends attached to it. One such is that the dragons wag their tails when a virgin crosses this bridge. How about that? 😜 Well, you can say Slovenians have a flair for storytelling!

📸 Rick C

📸 Rick C.

For those who love to hike, you can climb up to Ljubljana Castle. There’s a “Camino-like” hiking trail for the avid hikers but there is also the funicular to reach the hilltop fortress without much effort. I’ve got to admit I wasn’t particularly thrilled with what I found — a fortress more than a castle, but the hilltop views are good. So if you feel like walking or wish to enjoy the city’s panorama, try this. Better still, check if there’s a movie showing “under the stars” and plan to have dinner at the top before or after the movie. Yeah, that should be nice.

📸 Rick C

Thanks, Rick C for the lovely borrowed photos 👍