Ljubljana Castle (Slovenia)
Central Slovenia See list of castles in Slovenia
The castle of Ljubljana is only one of the castles of the city, but certainly the largest and also the most visited. Built in the middle of the 15th century, today it is a popular tourist destination for residents and foreigners. No surprise. It offers an exceptional view of the city, a romantic atmosphere and a place of numerous cultural events. Guided tours of the castle are conducted daily.
When the Habsburgs took control of the area of present-day Slovenia in 1335, they demolished the fortress of the Spanheim family, which stood on the hill, and in the second half of the fifteenth century began to build a new one that is still there today. At the beginning it consisted only of walls, towers and wooden barracks, but over the centuries the castle has taken the form it has today. Its main purpose was to defend against the Turkish invasions, which were the most frequent in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Furthermore, peasant rebellions were not rare. In the 17th and 18th centuries the castle functioned as a military hospital and an arsenal. When Napoleon brought national and cultural liberty and illumination to the citizens of Ljubljana in 1809, the war broke out with the Habsburgs. During this war the Pipers tower was demolished and a new wooden one was erected in place of today's. After the French had left, the Habsburgs used the castle for the prisons. The period of jail lasted until the end of the Second World War, when the first Italians and after their capitulation the Germans took over the management of the castle. Until 1963 the ostracized citizens of Ljubljana lived in the castle in terrible conditions. In the 70s the renovation began and today the castle is a popular tourist destination for domestic and foreign visitors.
You will be surprised to discover that you do not have to pay anything to enter the castle courtyard, where you can relax with a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a piece of cake. You can visit numerous art exhibitions, which take place in different parts of the castle and are usually free. At the entrance there is Galerija Rustika, where you can buy or simply admire high quality products of traditional Slovenian craftsmanship. On the other side of the castle there is a chapel and a panoramic tower together with the virtual Castle, where you can see a documentary about the history of the castle in Slovenian, English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Croatian and Italian. On the left side of the castle's chapel you will also find an excellent Slovenian History Museum and a restaurant serving traditional Slovenian dishes.
Follow what happens at the castle in the evening. During the summer you could find a good concert, a theater show or an outdoor cinema of non-commercial films. If you're there at the beginning of September, do not miss the medieval day, which takes place in the courtyard and around the castle. To find out what's on, visit the Castle Information Center. Finding yourself madly in love, you might consider getting married in the beautiful surroundings of the castle. Weddings take place every Wednesday and Saturday. Some rooms are available for hire.