Tourist Attractions in Ljubljana (Part 1)

Comedy Tour Ljubljana, Town Center

Ljubljana may be small, but has an astounding number of tourist attractions. People have lived here since prehistory, leaving behind an abundance of important sites and monuments. Today the city is also home to a vastly active alternative scene, transforming some of the dreariest and infamous places into must visit sites of political engagement and social gathering. This is the beginning of a long list of attractions you should see while in Ljubljana.

1. Ljubljana Castle

A medieval landmark perched on a hill overlooking the town center. It was first mentioned in 1112, however the exact time of when it was built is unknown. Throughout its history the citizens of Ljubljana mainly used it as a military fortress, protecting the city from foreign attacks. After ti became redundant, the authorities started using it as a penitentiary, which notably decreased its popularity.

In 1905 the municipality of Ljubljana bought the castle, making extensive renovations and once again repurposing the old fortress. The castle soon became a popular place for weddings and various cultural events. The Municipality also commissioned internationally renowned architect Jože Plečnik to redesign the ruins of several surrounding forts. By granting him the necessary funds he was able to turn the decaying structures into an unusual walking area and park. Today the castle is also occupied by two excellent restaurants serving traditional Slovenian food.

2. Prešeren Square

Located in the very center of the town, this square is dedicated to the most notable Slovenian poet, France Prešeren. He was active in the first half of the 19th century, authoring a large number of romantic poems of international stature. Though his writing was often censured and he was unable to gain success during the time of his life, his works were later rediscovered and recognized as some of the finest poetry ever written in Slovene.

In 1989 Slovenians honored his legacy by choosing a stanza from one of his poems as the lyrics to Slovenia’s national anthem. They built his square in 1905, including life size statues of him and his unrequited love Julija Primic, to whom he had dedicated some of his greatest poems. The statues were made by notable Slovenian sculptor Ivan Zajc and were seen as controversial at the time. Famous local architect Maks Fabiani was in charge of designing the square itself.  

3. The Triple Bridge

A famous architectural landmark connecting Prešeren square and the main town square. Internationally renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik designed this bridge. He created the extraordinary structure by adding a new bridge on each side of a pre-existing Špitalski bridge. Plečnik had also made renovations to the old bridge, replacing its worn out railing by a massive stone fence with street lights, and adding trees on the river banks below. Besides connecting the two squares, the bridge also represents a connection between two of Plečniks urban routes. First is the Water Route and second the Route from the Castle to Rožnik Hill.     

4. Križanke

A 13th century monastery of the Teutonic Knights restored and repurposed as a school of art and photography with open air concert areas. It underwent many changes during its long history. The last architect who was in charge of restorations was Plečnik with his pupils. They expanded the facility, adding two event sites – a small concert area and an auditorium. Plečnik incorporated elements of renaissance and baroque in to the complex, using the ruins of old houses. One of his pupils later turned the monastery’s courtyard into a lobby of the auditorium. Today the auditorium is a popular music venue.

5. Church of the Holy Trinity    

A parish church with one of the most intriguing exteriors in town. Architect Carlo Martinuzzi designed the building in the Padua Baroque style. The construction work was finished 1726. The facade on the front is very elaborate with colossal three-quarter pillars and walls of varying depths. The building extends into a small concave wing on each side. The tympanum has three pointed Gothic style arcades representing the holy trinity. Though not painted, the inside is very rich in architectural structuring. It includes a marble altar designed by the famous sculptor Francesco Robba. The church is part of a Ursuline monastery that used to have a spacious courtyard in place where there is now a supermarket.

6. Robba Fountain

Also known as the fountain of three Carniolan rivers is the most famous fountain in Ljubljana. You’ll find it on the main town square right in front of Ljubljana’s Town Hall. Francesco Robba created the fountain in 1751. He decorated it with an obelisk and three male statues from white marble. The construction was so long and costly that it almost led Robba to bankruptcy.

Through the years the statues deteriorated and renovation began in 1979. The contractors had a very difficult time restoring the fountain and were unable to finish until 2006. To avoid any further damage the renewed statues were stored in the National Gallery and replaced by a replica. The fountain is comprised of a three-leaf shell surrounded by polygonal steps. There’s a triangular obelisk rising from the center. It’s encircled by three Triton statues holding water pitches, and a statue of a dolphin at their feet. The Tritons represent the three Carniolan rivers.

7. Ljubljana Skyscraper

A building from a more recent time. This is the first skyscraper in Ljubljana, which was built in 1933. When the idea for the building was first introduced to the public, many were angrily against its construction, claiming it would ruin the overall image of Ljubljana. Their protests though had little effect. The skyscraper was designed by architect Vladimir Šubic and was the tallest building in central Europe at the time. Some notable features are a roof terrace with a pavilion, a four meter statue on the 6th floor and a monumental lobby, covered in sand marble. The building was designed in neoclassical or so called ‘alogurt deco’ style with three-partitional structure and two dazzling spiral staircases. The upper part with the pillars was not a part of the original design. It was added after the buildings completion.  


This is the end of part one and we still have a lot more to cover. We’ll follow up with another round of attractions soon so stay tuned (click here> for pt. 2). To learn more about the sites we have mentioned above we recommend you pay them a visit and have a look for yourself. If that doesn’t sound like too much fun, an excellent way of hearing some hilarious stories behind the bare facts is taking one of our Comedy Tours.