Though the area has been settled since Roman times, Ljubljana was officially mentioned by name in the year 1144 and received town rights in 1220. Shortly thereafter it fell under Habsburg rule, where it remained until 1918 when it became part of Yugoslavia. This long period of relative stability allowed the town to thrive culturally and architecturally. Partially destroyed in 1511 and again in 1895 by earthquakes, the city is a stunning mix of baroque, Renaissance, neoclassical and Austrian Art Nouveau styles, epitomized by homegrown architect Jože Plečnik’s work, found throughout the city.
Since Slovenia’s entrance into the European Union in 2004, Ljubljana has come into its own as a capital city. Small by European standards with a population of 270,000 people, its 50,000-strong student population (drawn to the excellent reputation of the University of Ljubljana) has ensured that the arts, culture and nightlife of Ljubljana are constantly fresh and always flourishing. Look for the dragon motif – the city’s symbol – manifested in many different ways.
PUBLISHED: July 22, 2013