Central Slovenia – Ljubljana

Central Slovenia

This is the largest Slovene region. It comprises a major part of the Ljubljana basin, a big part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the Polhov Gradec Dolomites, part of the territory stretching to Notranjska, and vast Kočevsko forests all the way to the state border with Croatia that runs on the Kolpa River.


Over the centuries, Ljubljana’s development was strongly influenced by its geographical position. The city sits in the central Slovene basin from where roads lead to the Pannonian Plain, the Northern Adriatic, and the East Alps.

The territory of Ljubljana has been settled for over 3000 years. During the Stone Age, the Ljubljana Marshes ( Ljubljansko Barje ) was flooded and people settled on the shore of the lake. In the first millennium BC, it was settled by the Illyrians which were followed by the Celts around 400 BC. The Romans came, built a military camp, and called it Aemona. In the 5th century, it was destroyed by barbaric tribes.

Ljubljana first appeared in writing as Laibach in the 12th century, and it was first mentioned as a town in the 13th century. In the beginning, it was a small, but fast-growing settlement.
The railway reached Ljubljana in 1849. In 1895 Ljubljana was destroyed by an earthquake. The first tram pulled out in 1901.

After WWI Ljubljana became the most important city in Slovenia. It is adorned by a mighty castle atop the steep Castle Hill ( Grajski hrib ) with the Ljubljanica river encircling it at the foot. Two lines of buildings surround a big central market. During the last century, the modem town center was built on the left bank of the Ljubljanica and modern districts grew around the old and the new part: Šiška, Bežigrad, Moste, Vič, and others.

The Ljubljanica gives the city a special charm. Not so long ago it was still navigable and boatmen drove passengers and cargo as far as Vrhnika.
The famous Slovene architect Jože Plečnik beautified Ljubljana by rebuilding and redesigning numerous parts of the city.
Ljubljana has a rich historical and cultural heritage. The city boasts several museums, theaters, an opera house, a botanical garden, a zoo, etc.

Ljubljana is one of the youngest European capitals. Its position is very interesting since it is closely linked to nature. Bright city lights and green sub-alpine landscape are only a few kilometers apart. Throughout the year, Ljubljana offers plenty of sports and cultural events, and entertainment.

To the north of Ljubljana lies the gravely Ljubljana Plain (Ljubljansko polje). Villages along the Ljubljanica and Sava Rivers, and at the foot of the hills lie close together and have lately turned into Ljubljana suburbs. To the northeast they are Dravlje, Koseze, Šentvid, Vižmaije, Stanežiče, Brod and Tacen on the left bank of the Sava. To the north lie Brinje, Ježica and Črnuče under the hills on the left bank of the Sava, while to the east, on the wide gravely tongue between the confluence of the Sava and the Ljubljanica, lie Tomačevo, Jarše, Zadobrova, Polje, Vevče, Zalog and Kašelj. To the south is Sostro.

South-east from Ljubljana, on the very edge of the Marshes, run Dolenjska cesta and the railroad. Here we find settlements that still make part of the city: Galjevica and Rudnik and further on Lavrica and Škofljica where the old main road splits. One fork leads to Kočevje and the other to Novo Mesto. The motorway crosses the Marshes and continues over the hills between Rudnik and Lavrica.

The Ljubljana Marshes stretch all the way from Ljubljana to Vrhnika. It is a marshy territory that has been dried up over the last centuries. The layer of peat can get down to 8 meters deep. The Marshes were filled with water until the Bronze Age. Until the 19th-century settlements could only be found at the fringes of the basin and on former islands, which are now solitary hills. Ljubljansko Barje is today one of the largest grass-covered areas in Slovenia.

Golovec with its astronomic and seismologic observatories is a popular promenade.

Old town core of Ljubljana and the Ljubljanica embankment, in the background Šiška (taken from Ljubljana Castle). Roofs in Stara Ljubljana. Prešernov trg in the center of Ljubljana.
Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana and is also in its coat-of-arms.

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