The Loveliness of Ljubljana
There are few cities steeped so deeply in antiquity and myth as the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Despite being the modern cultural, economic and educational centre of Slovenia, its central location to the country and historical situation in an important trade route between the Northern Adriatic sea and Danube region mean that it has long been a focal point as a cultural melting-pot, and has built up a healthy reputation as a place of adventure and excitement.
The city is represented by its brilliant symbol, the Ljubljana Dragon. There are those who believe that on his way back from claiming the Golden Fleece, Greek hero Jason (of the Argonauts fame) took his crew on a route that led them to a lake situated between what came to be the cities of Vrhnika and Ljubljana – where he had to battle and strike down a fierce monster, who subsequently came to be the symbol. Others note the link to the dragon myth of Saint George, in which Saint George’s slaying of the dragon stands for the success of Christianity in overcoming the original pagan beliefs of the cityfolk.
What to Take
Whenever you go on holiday, planning is vital! Before you even head off, you need to consider things like single trip insurance, currency exchange (be sure to shop around to get the best rates), and appropriate clothing – depending on your agenda, it might be worth investing in a good pair of walking boots or sandals, and depending on the time of year, you may need to pack some good waterproofs! Other than that, Ljubljana is a beautiful city full of life, and for capturing that experience it’s worth taking a camera/camcorder.
What to Do
With a gorgeous array of architectural styles laid out as one city, you should definitely take the time to indulge in a walking tour to take the ancient Roman centre juxtaposed with beautiful Baroque buildings and 20th century modernity. You can download an audio guide yourself, or there are a number of tours catering to different walking capacities that you can join for free – just have a look online for Ljubljana walking tours and find the one that suits you! It’s also worth visiting Ljubljana Castle on top of Castle Hill in the city centre, which was built in the 12th century and combines as wonderfully eclectic a mix of architectural elements as the city itself.
The Dragon Bridge, situated in Vodnik Square, proudly bears four sheet-copper dragon statues at each corner in tribute to the city symbol, and is a protected technical monument. Ljubljana is proud of its heritage, and this testament to it is well worth a trip.