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  • Situated right in the centre of Slovenia lies it's capital,

  • Ljubljana.

  • Almost an equal distance from Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia,

  • this small but innovative city has a car-free heart,

  • a hip attitude and a mythical history.

  • Wherever you go in Ljubljana, you'll see images of dragons.

  • Legend has it that, many centuries ago,

  • a dragon lived in the Ljubljana river preying on locals,

  • until a Greek hero discovered a way to defeat it.

  • It's a perfect symbol for this charismatic university town

  • that is fiercely protective of its environment, its history and its people.

  • Step into the narrow streets of the town centre, and instead of traffic,

  • you'll hear bicycle bells, and instead of gridlock,

  • you'll find riverbanks lined with cafes, pubs and historic architecture.

  • In 2007, the council banned cars here

  • and the city has been rolling out sustainable programs ever since.

  • Ride the funicular or take the gentle stroll to the mighty Ljubljana Castle.

  • This beloved landmark has been standing above the city for more than 900 years.

  • Far from being just a window into history,

  • this castle is part of daily life and is often used for weddings, concerts and art shows.

  • Discover the rich tradition of puppeteering at the Museum of Puppetry here,

  • or just enjoy the views out over the city.

  • The town centre straddles the banks of the Ljubljana River.

  • The cobbled Old Town lies on the east bank,

  • while on the west bank are the more recently built buildings, parks and galleries.

  • The two are linked by the Triple Bridge,

  • one of a dozen iconic masterpieces designed by the city's favourite son, architect Joze Plecnick.

  • This group of three bridges was built in 1842 and its focus on pedestrian access,

  • shows just how far ahead of his time were Plecnick's designs.

  • Head to the oval shaped Preseren Square where in ancient times,

  • several roads met in front of the old city gates.

  • Today it is a popular meeting point and the city's heart.

  • The square was named after France Preseren,

  • whose poem “A Toastbecame the country's national anthem.

  • Enjoy a coffee and a pastry on the steps of Preseren's statue,

  • meet the locals and watch the city go about its day.

  • In this university town, there is always someone to chat with.

  • Take the time to explore the Franciscan Church,

  • with its dramatic staircase that faces the square.

  • Originally painted red to represent the Franciscan monastic order,

  • it has faded over time to salmon pink.

  • There are plenty more magnificent buildings at nearby Congress Square

  • which was built on the site of a ruined medieval monastery

  • and is also home to Park Zvezda.

  • From here, you can see the main building for the University of Ljubljana,

  • one of the largest places of learning in Europe.

  • The balcony of this building has been used by political hard hitters

  • such as Tito to address crowds throughout Slovenia's history.

  • Stroll past the Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra building,

  • one of the world's oldest musical institutions with famous connections

  • to composers such as Beethoven and Brahms.

  • It still delights music lovers today.

  • Keep an eye out as you cross the Dragon Bridge famous for its fearsome statues.

  • They are said to twitch their tails when a pure and untouched maiden is nearby.

  • Ljubljana Central Market is another good place to catch up with the locals

  • and in Town Square, you'll find the Town Hall and St Nicholas's Church.

  • Another of the city's innovative schemes is free bicycle rentals,

  • so pick up a bike and head to Tivoli Park which stretches from the western outskirts

  • right into the city centre.

  • Follow the Jokopic Promenade to the Tivoli Castle

  • and visit the collection of prints by modern artists at the International Centre of Graphic Arts

  • Immerse yourself in art of a different kind in the Metelkova Mesto,

  • a funky cultural zone which is just a few hundred metres away

  • from Ljubljana's main train station.

  • This abandoned army barracks hosts more than 1500 events each year

  • and has become one of the best-known underground social experiments in Europe.

  • As your day ends, stroll back over Cobblers' Bridge,

  • one of the oldest bridges in the city.

  • Ljubljana may have taken a dragon as its symbol but unlike its mythical beast,

  • this city is welcoming, warm and delighted to share its treasures with visitors.

Situated right in the centre of Slovenia lies it's capital,

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Ljubljana Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

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    Summer posted on 2020/04/28
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