||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (August 2014)|
Top: Ljubljana Castle in the background
and Franciscan Church of the Annunciation in the foreground;
middle left: the Ljubljanica
with the Triple Bridge in distance;
middle right: Visitation of Mary Church at Rožnik Hill;
bottom left: Ljubljana City Hall;
bottom upper right: Kazina Palace at Congress Square;
bottom lower right: view from Ljubljana Castle towards the north.
|Municipality||City Municipality of Ljubljana|
|Town rights||around 1220|
|• mayor||Zoran Janković (PS)|
|• Total||163.8 km2 (63.2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||295 m (968 ft)|
|Population (June 2013)|
|• Density||1,678/km2 (4,350/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Area code(s)||01 (1 if calling from abroad)|
Ljubljana (Slovene: [ljuˈbljàːna] ( ); German: Laibach, Italian: Lubiana, Latin: Labacum or Aemona) is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. Located in the middle of a trade route between the northern Adriatic Sea and the Danube region, it was the historical capital of Carniola, a Slovene-inhabited part of Austria-Hungary, and it has been the cultural, educational, economic, political, and administrative center of independent Slovenia since 1991. Its central geographic location within Slovenia, transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions and cultural tradition are contributing factors to its leading position.
- 1 Name and symbol
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Cityscape
- 5 Culture
- 6 Sports
- 7 Economy
- 8 Government
- 9 Demographics
- 10 Education
- 11 Science
- 12 Transport
- 13 Healthcare
- 14 International relations
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Name and symbol
The origin of the city's name is unclear. In the Middle Ages, both the river and the town were also known by the German name Laibach, which was in official use until 1918. For most scholars, the problem has been in how to connect the Slovene and the German names. The origin from the Slavic ljub- LYOOB "to love, like" was in 2007 supported as the most probable by the linguist Tijmen Pronk, a specialist in comparative Indo-European linguistics and Slovene dialectology from the University of Leiden. He supported the thesis that the name of the river derived from the name of the settlement. The linguist Silvo Torkar, who specializes in Slovene personal and place names, argued at the same place for the thesis that the name Ljubljana derives from Ljubija, the original name of the Ljubljanica River flowing through it, itself derived from the Old Slavic male name Ljubovid, "the one of a kind appearance". The name Laibach, he claimed, was actually a hybrid of German and Slovene and derived from the same personal name.
The symbol of the city is the Ljubljana Dragon. It is depicted on the top of the tower of the Ljubljana Castle in the Ljubljana coat-of-arms and on the Ljubljanica-crossing Dragon Bridge (Ljubljana) (Zmajski most). It symbolizes power, courage, and greatness.
There are several explanations on the origin of the Ljubljana Dragon. According to the Slavic myth the slaying of dragon releases the waters and ensures the fertility of the earth, and it is thought the myth in this area is tied to the Ljubljana Marshes, the expansive area that has been threatening because of frequent flooding that reached Ljubljana. According to the celebrated Greek legend, the Argonauts on their return home after having taken the Golden Fleece found a large lake surrounded by a marsh between the present-day towns of Vrhnika and Ljubljana. It is there that Jason struck down a monster. This monster has become the dragon that today is present on the city coat of arms and flag. It is historically more believable that the dragon was adopted from Saint George, the patron of the Ljubljana Castle chapel built in the 15th century. In the legend of Saint George, the dragon represents the old ancestral paganism overcome by Christianity. According to another explanation, related to the second, the dragon was at first only a decoration above the city coat of arms. In Baroque, it became part of the coat of arms and in the 19th and especially the 20th century, it outstripped the tower and other elements.
Around 2000 BC, the Ljubljana Marshes in the immediate vicinity of Ljubljana were settled by people living in pile dwellings. These lake-dwelling people lived through hunting, fishing and primitive agriculture. To get around the marshes, they used dugout canoes made by cutting out the inside of tree trunks. Their archeological remains, nowadays in the Municipality of Ig, have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2011, in the common nomination of six Alpine states.
Later, the area remained a transit point for numerous tribes and peoples, among them Illyrians, followed by a mixed nation of Celts and Illyrians called the Iapydes, and then in the 3rd century BC a Celtic tribe, the Taurisci.
Around 50 BC, the Romans built a military encampment that later became a permanent settlement called Iulia Aemona. This entrenched fort was occupied by the Legio XV Apollinaris. In 452, it was destroyed by the Huns under Attila's orders, and later by the Ostrogoths and the Lombards. Emona housed 5,000–6,000 inhabitants and played an important role during numerous battles. Its plastered brick houses, painted in different colors, were already connected to a drainage system. In the 6th century, the ancestors of the Slovenes moved in. In the 9th century, the Slovenes fell under Frankish domination, while experiencing frequent Magyar raids. Not much is known about the area during the settlement of Slavs in the period between the downfall of Emona and the Early Middle Ages.
The medieval Ljubljana's oldest mentioning was found in 2000 at the occasion of 500 anniversary of House of Gorizia's dissolution in a document from the Udine Cathedral archive, dating from 1112 to 1125, that cited Ljubljana Castle (castrum Leibach) and twenty farms surrounding it as a gift received by Patriarchate of Aquileia from a nobleman Rudolf of Tarcento. Whereas at the time, Ljubljana Castle was in ownership of the Spanheim family, the surrounding agrarian estate belonged to a number of noblemen.
At around 1200, the right to hold a market was granted to the Old Square (Stari trg), which was at the time one of the three districts Ljubljana originated from, that additionally included area called "Town" ("Mesto") built around the predecessor of present-day Ljubljana Cathedral on one side of Ljubljanica river, and New Square (Novi trg) at the other side. The Franciscan Bridge, a predecessor of present-day Triple Bridge, and the Butchers' Bridge connected the walled areas with wood-made buildings. Seven fires erupted in the city during the Middle Ages. Artisans organized themselves into guilds. The Teutonic Knights, the Conventual Franciscans, and the Franciscans settled in the town.
In 1327, the Ljubljana's "Jewish Quarter"—now only the name of Ljubljana "Jewish street" is a remainder of it—with a synagogue was established, until Emperor Maximilian I in 1515 succumbed to medieval antisemitism and expelled Jews from Ljubljana, for which he demanded a certain payment from the town.
Ruled by King Ottokar II of Bohemia from 1270, Ljubljana was— together with Carniola region the city belonged to—conquered in 1278 by Rudolph of Habsburg and administered by the Counts of Gorizia from 1279 until 1335, when it became the capital city of Carniola. Renamed Laibach, it would be owned by the House of Habsburg until 1797.
In the 15th century, Ljubljana became recognized for its art, particularly painting and sculpture. The Roman Rite Catholic Diocese of Ljubljana was established in 1461 and the Church of St. Nicholas became the diocesan cathedral. After an earthquake in 1511, the city was rebuilt in Renaissance style and a new wall was built around it. Wooden buildings were forbidden after a large fire at New Square in 1524.
In the 16th century, the population of Ljubljana numbered 5,000, 70% of whom spoke Slovene as their first language, with most of the rest using German. The first secondary school, public library and printing house opened in Ljubljana. Ljubljana became an important educational center.
From 1529 to 1599, Ljubljana had an active Slovene Protestant community until their expulsion after which Catholic Bishop Tomaž Hren ordered the burning of eight cartloads of Protestant books in public marking the beginning of the Counter-Reformation.
In 1597, Jesuits arrived in the city, followed in 1606 by Capuchins, to eradicate Protestantism. Only 5% of all the residents of Ljubljana at the time were of Catholic confession, so it took quite a while to make it again Catholic. Jesuits organized the first theatrical productions in the town, fostered the development of Baroque music and established Catholic schools. In the middle and the second half of the 17th century, foreign architects built and renovated numerous monasteries, churches, and palaces in Ljubljana and introduced the Baroque architecture. In 1702, the Ursulines settled in the town, where, the following year, they opened the first public school for girls in the Slovene Lands. Some years later, the construction of the Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity started. In 1779, St. Christopher's Cemetery replaced the cemetery at St. Peter's Church as the main Ljubljana cemetery.
During the Napoleonic interlude, Ljubljana (under the name Laybach) was the capital of the Illyrian Provinces from 1809 to 1813. In 1815, the city became Austrian again and from 1816 to 1849 was the administrative center of the Kingdom of Illyria in the Austrian Empire. In 1821 it hosted the Congress of Laibach, which fixed European political borders for years to come. The first train arrived in 1849 from Vienna and in 1857 the line was extended to Trieste.
In 1895, Ljubljana, then a city of 31,000, suffered a serious earthquake measuring 6.1 degrees Richter and 8–9 degrees MCS. Some 10% of its 1,400 buildings were destroyed, although casualties were light. During the reconstruction that followed, a number of districts were rebuilt in the Vienna Secession style. Public electric lighting appeared in the city in 1898. The rebuilding period between 1896 and 1910 is referred to as the "revival of Ljubljana" because of architectural changes from which a great deal of the city dates back to today and for reform of urban administration, health, education and tourism that followed. The rebuilding and quick modernization of the city were led by the mayor Ivan Hribar.
In 1918, following the end of World War I and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the region joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, Ljubljana became the capital of the Drava Banovina, a Yugoslav province.
In 1941, during World War II, Fascist Italy occupied the city, and on 3 May 1941 made Lubiana the capital of an Italian Provincia di Lubiana with the former Yugoslav general Leon Rupnik as mayor. After the Italian capitulation, Nazi Germany with SS-general Erwin Rösener and Friedrich Rainer took control in 1943 but formally the city remained the capital of an Italian province until 9 May 1945. In Ljubljana, the occupying forces established strongholds and command centers of Quisling organisations, the Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia under Italy and the Home Guard under German occupation. The city was surrounded by over 30 kilometers (19 mi) of barbed wire to prevent co-operation between the resistance movement that operated within and outside the fence. Since 1985, a commemorative path has ringed the city where this iron fence once stood. Postwar reprisals resulted in a number of mass graves in Ljubljana.
The city, with an area of 163.8 square kilometers (63.2 sq mi), is situated in central Slovenia in the Ljubljana Basin between the Alps and the Karst. Ljubljana is located some 320 kilometers (200 mi) south of München, 477 kilometers (296 mi) east of Zürich, 250 kilometers (160 mi) east of Venice, 350 kilometers (220 mi) southwest of Vienna, 224 kilometers (139 mi) south of Salzburg and 400 kilometers (250 mi) southwest of Budapest. The extent of Ljubljana has changed considerably in the past 30 years, mainly because some of the nearby settlements have merged with Ljubljana.
The city stretches out on an alluvial plain dating to the Quaternary era. The nearby, older mountainous regions date back to the Mesozoic (Triassic) or Paleozoic. A number of earthquakes have devastated Ljubljana, including in 1511 and 1895.
Ljubljana has an altitude of 295 meters (968 ft) The city center, located along the Ljubljanica River, has an altitude of 298 meters (978 ft). The Ljubljana Castle, which sits atop the Castle Hill (Grajski grič) south of the city center, has an altitude of 366 meters (1,201 ft). The highest point of the city, called Grmada, reaches 676 meters (2,218 ft), seven meters more than the nearby Šmarna Gora peak, a popular hiking destination. These are located in the northern part of the city.
The main watercourses in Ljubljana are the Ljubljanica, the Sava, the Gradaščica, the Mali Graben, the Iška and the Iščica rivers. From the Trnovo District to the Moste District, around the Castle Hill, the Ljubljanica partly flows through the Gruber Canal, built upon the plans by Gabriel Gruber in 1772–1782. Next to the eastern border of the city, the Ljubljanica, the Sava, and the Kamnik Bistrica Rivers flow together. The lowest point of Ljubljana, with an altitude of 261 meters (856 ft), is located at the confluence.
Ljubljana has been struck through its history also by floods. The latest took place in 2010. Southern and western parts of the city are more flood-endangered than northern parts. The Gruber Canal has partly diminished the danger of floods at Ljubljana Marshes, the largest marshes in Slovenia, to the south of Ljubljana.
There are two major ponds in the park. The Koseze Pond is located in the District of Šiška and the Tivoli Pond is located in the southern part of the Tivoli Park. The Koseze Pond is home to a number of rare plant and animal species and is a popular place of meeting and recreation. The Tivoli Pond is a shallow pond with a small volume that was originally used for boating and ice skating, but has been abandoned over the years and is now used only for fishing.
Ljubljana's climate is Oceanic (Köppen climate classification "Cfb"), bordering on a Humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with continental characteristics such as warm summers and moderately cold winters. July and August are the warmest months with daily highs generally between 25 and 30 °C (77 and 86 °F), and January is the coldest month with the temperatures mostly oscillating around 0 °C (32 °F). The city experiences 90 days of frost per year, and 11 days with temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F). The precipitation is relatively evenly distributed throughout the seasons, although winter and spring tend to be somewhat drier than summer and autumn. Yearly precipitation is about 1,400 mm (55 in), making Ljubljana one of the wettest European capitals. Thunderstorms are very common from May to September and can occasionally be quite heavy. Snow is common from December to February; on average, there are 48 days with snow cover recorded each winter season. The city is known for its fog, which is recorded on average on 64 days per year, mostly in autumn and winter, and can be particularly persistent in conditions of temperature inversion. In summer, the weather in the city is under the influence of Mediterranean air currents, so the summers are sunny and warm.
|Climate data for Ljubljana|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.8
|Average high °C (°F)||3.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−20.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||69
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||11||9||11||14||14||15||12||12||12||13||14||14||153|
|Avg. snowy days||15||14||6||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||11||50|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||71||114||149||178||235||246||293||264||183||120||66||56||1,974|
|Source #1: Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO)  (data for 1981−2010)|
|Source #2: Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO)  (some extreme values for 1948−2013)|
The city architecture is a mix of styles. Despite the appearance of large buildings, especially at the city's edge, Ljubljana's historic center remains intact. Although the oldest architecture has been preserved from the Roman period, Ljubljana's downtown got its outline in the Middle Ages. After the 1511 earthquake, it was rebuilt in the Baroque style following Italian, particularly Venetian, models. After the quake in 1895, it was once again rebuilt, this time in the Vienna Secession style, which today is juxtaposed against the earlier Baroque style buildings that remain. The large sectors built in the inter-war period often include a personal touch by the architects Jože Plečnik and Ivan Vurnik. In the second half of the 20th century, parts of Ljubljana were redesigned by Edvard Ravnikar.
The central square in Ljubljana is Prešeren Square (Prešernov trg) where the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation (Frančiškanska cerkev) is located. It is the parish church of Ljubljana - Annunciation Parish. Built between 1646 and 1660 (the belltowers following later), it replaced an older Gothic church on the same site. The layout takes the form of an early-Baroque basilica with one nave and two rows of lateral chapels. The Baroque main altar was executed by the sculptor Francesco Robba. Much of the original frescos were ruined by the cracks in the ceiling caused by the Ljubljana earthquake in 1895. The new frescos were painted by the Slovene impressionist painter Matej Sternen.
Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad) is a medieval castle with Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance architectural elements, located at the summit of the Castle Hill that dominates the city center. The area surrounding today's castle has been continuously inhabited since 1200 BC. The castle was built in the 12th century and was a residence of the Margraves, later the Dukes of Carniola. The castle's Outlook Tower dates to 1848; this was inhabited by a guard whose duty it was to fire cannons warning the city in case of fire or announcing important visitors or events, a function the castle still holds today. Cultural events and weddings also take place there. Since 2006, a funicular has linked the city center to the castle atop the hill.
The Town Hall (Mestna hiša, Magistrat), located on the Town Square, is the seat of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. The original building was built in a Gothic style in 1484. Between 1717 and 1719, the building underwent a Baroque renovation with a Venetian inspiration by the architect Gregor Maček. Near the Town Hall, on Town Square, is a replica of the Robba fountain, in the Baroque style. The original has been moved into the National Gallery in 2006. Robba's fountain is decorated with an obelisk at the foot of which are three figures in white marble symbolising the three chief rivers of Carniola. It is the work of Francesco Robba, who designed numerous other Baroque statues in the city.
Ljubljana Cathedral (Ljubljanska stolnica), or Saint Nicholas's Cathedral (Stolnica svetega Nikolaja), serves the Archdiocese of Ljubljana. Easily identifiable due to its green dome and twin towers, it is located on Cyril and Methodius Square (Ciril-Metodov trg) by the nearby Ljubljana Central Market and the Town Hall. The Diocese of Ljubljana was set up in 1461. Between 1701 and 1706, the Jesuit architect Andrea Pozzo designed the Baroque church with two side chapels shaped in the form of a Latin cross. The dome was built in the center in 1841. The interior is decorated with Baroque frescos painted by Giulio Quaglio between 1703–1706 and 1721–1723.
Nebotičnik (pronounced [nɛbɔtiːtʃniːk], "Skyscraper") is a thirteen-story building that rises to a height of 70.35 m (231 ft). It combines elements of the Neoclassical and the Art-Deco architecture. Predominantly a place of business, Nebotičnik is home to a variety of shops on the ground floor and first story, and various offices are located on floors two to five. The sixth to ninth floors are private residences. Located on the top three floors are a café, bar and observation deck. It was designed by the Slovenian architect Vladimir Šubic. Construction began in July 1930 and the building opened on 21 February 1933. It was for some time the tallest residential building in Europe.
Parks and other green spaces
The Tivoli Park (Park Tivoli) is the largest park in Ljubljana. It was designed in 1813 by the French engineer Jean Blanchard and now covers approximately 5 km2 (1.9 sq mi). The park was laid out during the French imperial administration of Ljubljana in 1813 and named after the Parisian Jardins de Tivoli. Between 1921 and 1939, it was renovated by the Slovene architect Jože Plečnik, who designed a broad central promenade, called the Jakopič Promenade (Jakopičevo sprehajališče) after the leading Slovene impressionist painter Rihard Jakopič. Within the park, there are different types of trees, flower gardens, several statues, and fountains. Several notable buildings stand in the Park, among them the Tivoli Castle, the National Museum of Contemporary History and the Tivoli Sports Hall.
The University Botanic Gardens (Slovene: Univerzitetni botanični vrt Univerze v Ljubljani) stretch on 2.40 hectares (5.9 acres) next to the junction of the Gruber Canal and the Ljubljanica, to the south of the Old Town. These are the central Slovenian botanical garden and the oldest cultural, scientific, and educational organisation in the country. It started operating under the leadership of Franc Hladnik in 1810. Of over 4,500 plant species and subspecies, roughly a third is endemic to Slovenia, whereas the rest originate from other European places and other continents. The institution is a member of the international network Botanic Gardens Conservation International and cooperates with more than 270 botanical gardens all across the world.
Streets and squares
Existing already in the 18th century, the Ljubljana central square, the Prešeren Square's modern appearance has developed since the end of the 19th century. After the 1895 Ljubljana earthquake, Max Fabiani designed the square as the hub of four streets and four banks, and in the 1980s, Edvard Ravnikar proposed the circular design and the granite block pavement. A statue of the Slovene national poet France Prešeren with a muse stands in the middle of the square. The Prešeren Statue was created by Ivan Zajec in 1905, whereas the pedestal was designed by Max Fabiani. The square and surroundings have been closed to traffic since 1 September 2007. Only a tourist train leaves Prešeren Square every day, transporting tourists to the Ljubljana Castle.
Republic Square, at first named Revolution Square, is the largest square in Ljubljana. It was designed in the second half of the 20th century by Edvard Ravnikar. Independence of Slovenia was declared here on 26 June 1991. The National Assembly Building stands at its northern side, and Cankar Hall, the largest Slovenian cultural and congress center, at the southern side. At its eastern side stands the two-storey building of Maximarket, also work of Ravnikar. It houses one of the oldest department stores in Ljubljana and a cafe, which is a popular meeting place and a place of political talks and negotiations.
Congress Square (Kongresni trg) is one of the most important centers of the city. It was built in 1821 for ceremonial purposes such as Congress of Ljubljana after which it was named. Since then it became an important center for political ceremonies, demonstrations and protests, such as the ceremony at creation of Kingdom of Yugoslavia, ceremony of liberation of Belgrade, protests against Yugoslav authority in 1988 etc. The square also houses several important buildings, such as University of Ljubljana, Slovenian Philharmonic, Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity, and Slovenska matica. Star Park (Park Zvezda) is located in the center of the square. In 2010 and 2011, the square was heavily renovated and is now mostly closed to road traffic on ground area, however there are five floors for commercial purposes and a parking lot located underground.
Čop Street (Čopova ulica) is a major thoroughfare in the center of Ljubljana. The street is named after Matija Čop, an early 19th-century literary figure and close friend of the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren. It leads from the Main Post Office (Glavna pošta) on Slovenian Street (Slovenska cesta) downward to Prešeren Square and is lined with bars and stores, including the oldest McDonald's restaurant in Slovenia. It is a pedestrian zone and regarded as the capital's central promenade.
The most notable Ljubljana bridges are the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje), the Trnovo Bridge (Trnovski most), the Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most), the Hradecky Bridge (Slovene: Hradeckega most), and the Butchers' Bridge (Mesarski most). The Trnovo Bridge crosses the Gradaščica, whereas the others cross the Ljubljanica.
- The Triple Bridge
The Triple Bridge is a group of three bridges, connecting two parts of Ljubljana's downtown, located on both banks of Ljubljanica. There was originally only one bridge, which linked Central Europe and the Balkans. In order to prevent an 1842 stone arch bridge from being a bottleneck, two additional pedestrian bridges on either side of the central one were added in 1932 according to the Plečnik's 1929 design. He decorated them with large stone balusters and lamps. There are two staircases, leading to terraces above the river, the banks with poplars, and the Ljubljana fish market. Two Plečnik's urban axes of Ljubljana, the water axis and the Ljubljana Castle–Rožnik Axis, cross at the bridge.
- The Trnovo Bridge
The Trnovo Bridge is the most prominent object of Plečnik's renovation of the banks of the Gradaščica. It is located in front of the Trnovo Church to the south of the city center. It connects the neighborhoods of Krakovo and Trnovo, the oldest Ljubljana suburbs, known for their market gardens and cultural events. It was built between 1929 and 1932. It is distinguished by its width and two rows of birches that it bears, because it was meant to serve as a public space in front of the church. Each corner of the bridge is capped with a small pyramid, a signature motif of Plečnik's, whereas the mid-span features a pair of Art-Deco male sculptures. There is also a statue of Saint John the Baptist on the bridge, the patron of the Trnovo Church. It was designed by Nikolaj Pirnat.
- The Dragon Bridge
The Dragon Bridge, built by Josef Melan and designed by Jurij Zaninović, is often regarded as the most beautiful bridge produced by the Vienna Secession. It is located in the northeast of Vodnik Square (Vodnikov trg) It is a triple-hinged arch bridge and has a span of 33.34 meters (109 ft 5 in). When opened in 1901, it had the third largest arch in Europe. Today, it is protected as a technical monument. The chief attraction of the bridge are four sheet-copper dragon statues, which stand on pedestals at its four corners and have become a symbol of the city.
- The Hradecky Bridge
The Hradecky Bridge is one of the first hinged bridges in the world, the first and the only preserved cast iron bridge in Slovenia, and one of its most highly valued technical achievements. It has been situated on an extension of Hren Street (Hrenova ulica), between the Krakovo Embankment (Krakovski nasip) and the Gruden Embankment (Grudnovo nabrežje), connecting the Trnovo District and the Prule neighbourhood in the Center District. The Hradecky Bridge was manufactured according to the plans of the senior engineer Johann Hermann from Vienna in the Auersperg iron foundry in Dvor near Žužemberk, and installed in Ljubljana in 1867, at the location of today's Cobblers' Bridge.
- The Butchers' Bridge
The Butchers' Bridge is a footbridge crossing the river Ljubljanica River. It connects Ljubljana Central Market (Osrednja ljubljanska tržnica) and the Petkovšek embankment (Petkovškovo nabrežje). It was officially opened in July 2010 and completes Plečnik's plans from the 1930s. The largest sculptures on the bridge, created by the sculptor Jakov Brdar, represent figures from Ancient Greek mythology and Biblical stories. Shortly after the opening, padlocks of couples in love started appearing on its steel wires, symbolizing declarations of eternal love, a phenomenon similar to the one on the Parisian Pont des Arts.
Ljubljana accent and/or dialect (Slovene: ljubljanščina; or Slovene: [luːblɑːŋʃnɑː] ( ); loo-BLAN-shna as pronounced in the dialect itself) is part of the Upper Carniolan dialect group. The Ljubljana dialect has also been used as literary means in novels, such as in the novel Nekdo drug by Branko Gradišnik, or in poems, such as Pika Nogavička (Slovene for Pippi Longstocking) by Andrej Rozman - Roza.
In literary fiction
Ljubljana appears in the 2005 The Historian, written by Elisabeth Kostova, and is called by its Roman name (Emona). Ljubljana is also the setting of Paulo Coelho's 1998 novel Veronika Decides to Die.
Each year, over 10,000 cultural events take place in the city, including ten international theater, music, and art festivals. The Ljubljana Festival is one of the two oldest festivals in former Yugoslavia (the Dubrovnik festival was established in 1950, and the Ljubljana one in 1953). Guests have included Dubravka Tomšič, Marjana Lipovšek, Tomaž Pandur, Katja Ricciarelli, Grace Bumbry, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovič, José Carreras, Slid Hampton, Zubin Mehta, Vadim Repin, Valerij Gergijev, Sir Andrew Davis, Danjulo Išizaka, Midori, Jurij Bašmet, Ennio Morricone, and Manhattan Transfer. Orchestras have included the New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestras of the Bolshoi Theatre from Moscow, La Scala from Milan, and Mariinsky Theatre from Saint Petersburg. In recent years there have been 80 different kinds of events and some 80,000 visitors from Slovenia and abroad. Other cultural venues include Križanke, Cankar Hall and the Exhibition and Convention Center. During Book Week, starting each year on World Book Day, events and book sales take place on Congress Square. A flea market is held every Sunday in the old city. On the evening of International Workers' Day, a celebration with a bonfire takes place on Rožnik Hill.
Museums and art galleries
Ljubljana has numerous art galleries and museums. The first purpose-built art gallery in Ljubljana was Jakopič Pavilion, which was in the first half of the 20th century the central exhibition venue of Slovene artists. In the early 1960s, it was succeeded by the Ljubljana City Art Gallery, which has presented a number of modern Slovene and foreign artists. In 2010, there were 14 museums and 56 art galleries in Ljubljana. There is for example an architecture museum, a railway museum, a school museum, a sports museum, a museum of modern art, a museum of contemporary art, a brewery museum, the Slovenian Museum of Natural History and the Slovene Ethnographic Museum. The National Gallery (Narodna galerija), founded in 1918, and the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna galerija) exhibit the most influential Slovenian artists. In 2006, the museums received 264,470 visitors, the galleries 403,890 and the theatres 396,440. The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (Muzej sodobne umetnosti Metelkova), opened in 2011, hosts various simultaneous exhibitions, a research library, archives, and a bookshop.
Entertainment and performing arts
Cankar Hall is the largest Slovenian cultural and congress center with multiple halls and a large foyer in which art film festivals, artistic performances, book fairs, and other cultural events are held.
The cinema in Ljubljana appeared for the first time at the turn of the 20th century, and quickly gained popularity among the residents. After World War II, the Cinema Company Ljubljana, later named Ljubljana Cinematographers, was established and managed a number of already functioning movie theaters in Ljubljana, including the only Yugoslav children's theater. A number of cinema festivals took place in the 1960s, and a cinematheque opened its doors in 1963. With the advent of television, video, and recently the Internet, most cinema theaters in Ljubljana closed, and the cinema mainly moved to Kolosej, a multiplex in the BTC City. It features twelve screens, including an IMAX 3D screen. The remaining theaters are Kino Komuna, Kinodvor, where art movies are accompanied by events, and the Slovenian Cinematheque.
- Classical music, opera and ballet
The Slovenian Philharmonics is the central music institution in Ljubljana and Slovenia. It holds classical music concerts of domestic and foreign performers as well as educates youth. It was established in 1701 as part of Academia operosorum Labacensis and is among the oldest such institutions in Europe. The Slovene National Opera and Ballet Theatre also resides in Ljubljana, presenting a wide variety of domestic and foreign, modern and classic, opera, ballet and concert works. It serves as the national opera and ballet house. Numerous music festivals are held in Ljubljana, chiefly in European classical music and jazz, for instance the Ljubljana Summer Festival (Ljubljanski poletni festival), and Trnfest.
In addition to the main houses, with the SNT Drama Ljubljana as the most important among them, a number of small producers are active in Ljubljana, involved primarily in physical theatre (e.g. Betontanc), street theatre (e.g. Ana Monró Theatre), theatresports championship Impro League, and improvisational theatre (e.g. IGLU Theatre). A popular form is puppetry, mainly performed in the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. Theater has a rich tradition in Ljubljana, starting with the 1867 first ever Slovene-language drama performance.
- Modern dance
The modern dance was presented in Ljubljana for the first time at the end of the 19th century and developed rapidly since the end of the 1920s. Since the 1930s when in Ljubljana was founded a Mary Wigman dance school, the first one for modern dance in Slovenia, the field has been intimately linked to the development in Europe and the United States. Ljubljana Dance Theatre is today the only venue in Ljubljana dedicated to contemporary dance. Despite this, there's a vivid happening in the field.
- Folk dance
Several folk dance groups are active in Ljubljana.
Popular urban culture and alternative scene
In the 1980s with the emergence of subcultures in Ljubljana, an alternative culture begun to develop in Ljubljana organized around two student organisations. This caused an influx of young people to the city center, caused political and social changes, and led to the establishment of alternative art centers.
- Metelkova and Rog
A Ljubljana equivalent of the Copenhagen's Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous Metelkova neighbourhood, was set up in a former Austro-Hungarian barracks that were built in 1882 (completed in 1911).
In 1993, the seven buildings and 12,500 m2 of space were turned into art galleries, artist studios, and seven nightclubs, including two gay venues, playing host to all range of music from hardcore to jazz to dub to techno. Adjacent to the Metelkova are located the Celica Hostel with rooms all artistically decorated by the Metelkova artists, and a new part of the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art. Another alternative culture center is located in the former Rog factory.
- Šiška Cultural Quarter
The Šiška Cultural Quarter hosts a number of art groups and cultural organisations dedicated to contemporary and avant-garde arts. Part of it is also Kino Šiška Center for Urban Culture, a venue where music concerts of indie, punk, and rock bands as well as exhibitions take place.
Societies and clubs
A tension between German and Slovene residents dominated the development of sport of Ljubljana in the 19th century. The first sports society in Ljubljana was the Gymnastic Society South Sokol (Slovene: Gimnastično društvo Južni Sokol), established in 1863 and succeeded in 1868 by the Ljubljana Sokol. It was the parent society of all Slovene Sokol societies as well as an encouragement for the establishment of the Croatian Sokol society in Zagreb. Members were also active in culture and politics, striving for greater integration of the Slovenes from different Crown lands of Austria–Hungary and for their cultural, political, and economic independence.
In 1885, German residents established the first sports club in the territory of nowadays Slovenia, Der Laibacher Byciklistischer Club (Ljubljana Cycling Club). In 1887, Slovene cyclists established the Slovene Cyclists Club (Slovenski biciklistični klub). In 1893 followed the first Slovene mountaineering club, named Slovene Mountaineering Society, later succeeded by the Ljubljana-Matica Mountaineering Club, which is today the largest mountaineering club in Slovenia. In 1900, the sporting club Laibacher Sportverein (English: Ljubljana Sports Club) was established by the city's German residents and functioned until 1909. In 1906, Slovenes organized themselves in its Slovene counterpart, the Ljubljanski športni klub. Its members were primarily interested in rowing, but also swimming and football. In 1911, the first Slovene football club, Ilirija, started operating in the city. Winter sports started to develop in the area of the nowadays Ljubljana already before World War II. In 1929, the first ice hockey club in Slovenia (then Yugoslavia) SK Ilirija was established.
Nowadays, the city's football team which plays in the Slovenian PrvaLiga is NK Olimpija Ljubljana. Ljubljana's ice hockey clubs are HK Olimpija Ljubljana, HK Alfa, HK Slavija and HDD Olimpija. They all compete in the Slovenian Hockey League; HDD Olimpija Ljubljana also takes part in the Austrian Hockey League. The basketball teams are KD Slovan, ŽKD Ježica Ljubljana and KK Union Olimpija. The latter, which has a green dragon as its mascot, hosts its matches in the 13,000-seat Arena Stožice since 2010. AMTK Ljubljana is the most successful speedway club in Slovenia. In the last 20 years, it won the title of the national champion 19 times individually and 17 times in team. The Ljubljana Sports Club has been succeeded by the Livada Canoe and Kayak Club.
Mass sport activities
Each year since 1957, on 8–10 May, the traditional recreational March along the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship has taken place to mark the liberation of Ljubljana on 9 May 1945. At the same occasion, a triples competition is run on the path, and a few days later, a student run from Prešeren Square to Ljubljana Castle is held. The last Sunday in October, the Ljubljana Marathon and a few minor competition runs take place on the city streets. The event attracts several thousand runners each year.
The Stožice Stadium, opened since August 2010 and located in Stožice Sports Park in the Bežigrad District, is the biggest football stadium in the country and the home of the NK Olimpija Ljubljana. It is one of the two main venues of Slovenia national football team. The park also has an indoor arena, used for indoor sports such as basketball, handball and volleyball and is the home venue of KK Olimpija, RK Krim and ACH Volley Bled among others. Beside football, the stadium is designed to host cultural events as well. Another stadium in the Bežigrad district, Bežigrad Stadium, is closed since 2008 and is deteriorating. It was built according to the plans of Jože Plečnik and was the home of the NK Olimpija Ljubljana, dissolved in 2004. Joc Pečečnik, a Slovenian multimillionaire, plans to renovate it.
The Sports Park Ljubljana is located in Lower Šiška, part of the Šiška District. It has a football stadium with five courts, an athletic hall, outdoor athletic areas, tennis courts, a Boules court, and a sand volleyball court. The majority of competitions are in athletics. Another sports park in Lower Šiška is Ilirija Sports Park, known primarily for its stadium with a speedway track. At the northern end of Tivoli Park stands the Ilirija Swimming Pool Complex, which was built as part of a swimming and athletics venue following plans by Bloudek in the 1930s and has been nearly abandoned since then, but there are plans to renovate it.
A number of sport venues are located in Tivoli Park. An outdoor swimming pool in Tivoli, constructed by Bloudek in 1929, was the first Olympic-size swimming pool in Yugoslavia. Currently, the Tivoli Recreational Center in Tivoli is Ljubljana's largest recreational center and has three swimming pools, saunas, a Boules court, a health club, and other facilities. There are two skating rinks, a basketball court, a winter ice rink, and ten tennis courts in its outdoor area. The Tivoli Hall consists of two halls. The smaller one accepts 4,050 spectators and is used for basketball matches. The larger one can accommodate 6,000 spectators and is primarily used for hockey, but also for basketball matches. The halls are also used for concerts and other cultural events. The Slovenian Olympic Committee has its office in the building.
The Tacen Whitewater Course, located on a course on the Sava, 8 kilometers (5 miles) northwest of the city center, hosts a major international canoe/kayak slalom competition almost every year, examples being the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in 1955, 1991, and 2010.
Since the 1940s, a ski slope has been in use in Gunclje, in the northwestern part of the city. It is 600 meters (2,000 ft) long and has two ski lifts, its maximum incline is 60° and the difference in height from the top to the bottom is 155 meters (509 ft). Five ski jumping hills stand near the ski slope. Several Slovenian Olympic and World Cup medalists trained and competed there. In addition, the Arena Triglav complex of six jumping hills is located in the Šiška District. A ski jumping hill, build in 1954 upon the plans by Stanko Bloudek, was located in Šiška near Vodnik Street (Vodnikova cesta) until 1976. International competitions for the Kongsberg Cup were held there, attended by thousands of spectators. The ice rinks in Ljubljana include Koseze Pond and Tivoli Hall. In addition, in the 19th century and the early 20th century, Tivoli Pond and a marshy meadow in Trnovo, named Kern, were used for ice skating.
Industry remains the most important employer, notably in the pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and food processing. Other fields include banking, finance, transport, construction, skilled trades and services and tourism. The public sector provides jobs in education, culture, health care and local administration.
The Ljubljana Stock Exchange (Ljubljanska borza), purchased in 2008 by the Vienna Stock Exchange, deals with large Slovenian companies. Some of these have their headquarters in the capital: for example, the retail chain Mercator, the oil company Petrol d.d. and the telecommunications concern Telekom Slovenije. Over 15,000 enterprises operate in the city, most of them in the tertiary sector.
Numerous companies and over 450 shops are located in the BTC City, the largest business, shopping, recreational, entertainment and cultural center in Slovenia. It is visited each year by 21 million people. It occupies an area of 475,000 square meters (5,110,000 sq ft) in the Moste District in the eastern part of Ljubljana.
The city of Ljubljana is governed by the City Municipality of Ljubljana (Slovene: Mestna občina Ljubljana; MOL), which is led by the city council. The president of the city council is called the mayor. Members of the city council and the mayor are elected in the local election, held every four years. Among other roles, the city council drafts the municipal budget, and is assisted by various boards active in the fields of health, sports, finances, education, environmental protection and tourism. The municipality is subdivided into 17 districts represented by district councils. They work with the municipality council to make known residents' suggestions and prepare activities in their territories.
Between 2002 and 2006, Danica Simšič was mayor of the municipality. Since the municipal elections of 22 October 2006 until his confirmation as a deputy in the National Assembly of Slovenian in December 2011, Zoran Janković, previously the managing director of the Mercator retail chain, was the mayor of Ljubljana. In 2006, he won 62.99% of the popular vote. On 10 October 2010, Janković was re-elected for another four-year term with 64.79% of the vote. From 2006 until October 2010, the majority on the city council (the Zoran Janković List) held 23 of 45 seats. On 10 October 2010, Janković's list won 25 out of 45 seats in the city council. From December 2011 onwards, when Janković's list won the early parliamentary election, the deputy mayor Aleš Čerin was decided by him to lead the municipality. Čerin did not hold the post of mayor. After Janković had failed to be elected as the Prime Minister in the National Assembly, he participated at the mayoral by-election on 25 March 2012 and was elected for the third time with 61% of the vote. He retook the leadership of the city council on 11 April 2012.
Public order in Ljubljana is enforced by the Ljubljana Police Directorate (Policijska uprava Ljubljana). There are five areal police stations and four sectoral police stations in Ljubljana. Public order and municipal traffic regulations are also supervised by the city traffic wardens (Mestno redarstvo). Ljubljana has a quiet and secure reputation.
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At the 2002 census, 39.2% of Ljubljana inhabitants were Catholic; 30.4% had no religion, an unknown religion or did not reply; 19.2% atheist; 5.5% Eastern Orthodox; 5.0% Muslim; and the remaining 0.7% Protestant or another religion.
In Ljubljana today there are over 50 public elementary schools with over 20,000 pupils. This also includes an international elementary school for foreign pupils. There are two private elementary schools: a Waldorf elementary school and a Catholic elementary school. In addition, there are several elementary music schools.
Historically the first school in Ljubljana belonged to Teutonic Knights and was established in the 13th century. It originally accepted only boys; girls were accepted from the beginning of the 16th century. Parochial schools are attested in the 13th century, at St. Peter's Church and at Saint Nicholas's Church, the later Ljubljana Cathedral. Since 1291, there were also trade-oriented private schools in Ljubljana. In the beginning of the 17th century, there were six schools in Ljubljana and later three. A girls' school was established by Poor Clares, followed in 1703 by the Ursulines. Their school was for about 170 years the only public girls' school in Carniola. These schools were mainly private or established by the city.
In 1775, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa proclaimed elementary education obligatory and Ljubljana got its normal school, intended as a learning place for teachers. In 1805, the first state music school was established in Ljubljana. In the time of Illyrian Provinces, "école primaire", a unified four-year elementary school program with a greater emphasis on Slovene, was introduced. The first public schools, unrelated to religious education, appeared in 1868.
Currently in Ljubljana there are ten public and three private grammar schools. The public schools divide into general gymnasiums and classical gymnasiums, the latter offering Latin and Greek as foreign languages. Some general schools offer internationally oriented European departments, and some offer sport departments, allowing students to more easily adjust their sport and school obligations. All state schools are free, but the number of students they can accept is limited. The private secondary schools include a Catholic grammar school and a Waldorf grammar school. There are also professional grammar schools in Ljubljana, offering economical, technical, or artistic subjects (visual arts, music). All grammar schools last four years and conclude with the matura exam.
Historically, upon a proposal by Primož Trubar, the Carniolan Estates' School (1563–1598) was established in 1563 in the period of Slovene Reformation. Its teaching languages were mainly Latin and Greek, but also German and Slovene, and it was open for both sexes and all social strata. In 1597, Jesuits established the Jesuit College (1597–1773), intended to transmit general education. In 1773, secondary education came under the control of the state. A number of reforms were implemented in the 19th century; there was more emphasis on general knowledge and religious education was removed from state secondary schools. In 1910, there were 29 secondary schools in Ljubljana, among them classical and real gymnasiums and Realschules (technical secondary schools).
In 2011, the University had 23 faculties and three academies, located in different parts of Ljubljana. They offer Slovene-language courses in medicine, applied sciences, arts, law, administration, natural sciences, and other subjects. The university has more than 63,000 students and some 4,000 teaching faculty. Students make up one-seventh of Ljubljana's population, giving the city a youthful character.
Historically, higher schools offering the study of general medicine, surgery, architecture, law and theology, started to operate in Ljubljana during the French occupation of the Slovene Lands, in 1810–11. Austro-Hungarian Empire never allowed Slovenes to establish their own university in Ljubljana and the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia's most important university, was founded in 1919 after Slovenes joined the first Yugoslavia. When it was founded, the university comprised five faculties: law, philosophy, technology, theology and medicine. From the beginning, the seat of the university has been at Congress Square in a building that served as the State Mansion of Carniola from 1902 to 1918.
- National and University Library of Slovenia
The National and University Library of Slovenia is the Slovene national and university library. In 2011, it held about 1,307,000 books, 8,700 manuscripts, and numerous other textual, visual and multimedia resources, altogether 2,657,000 volumes.
- Central Technological Library
The second largest university library in Ljubljana is the Central Technological Library, the national library and information hub for natural sciences and technology.
- Municipal Library and other libraries
The Municipal City Library of Ljubljana, established in 2008, is the central regional library and the largest Slovenian general public library. In 2011, it held 1,657,000 volumes, among these 1,432,000 books and a multitude of other resources in 36 branches. Altogether, there are 5 general public libraries and over 140 specialized libraries in Ljubljana.
Besides the two largest university libraries there are a number of libraries at individual faculties, departments and institutes of the University of Ljubljana. The largest among them are the Central Humanist Library in the field of humanities, the Central Social Sciences Library, the Central Economic Library in the field of economics, the Central Medical Library in the field of medical sciences, and the Libraries of the Biotechnical Faculty in the field of biology and biotechnology.
The first libraries in Ljubljana were located in monasteries. The first public library was the Carniolan Estates' Library, established in 1569 by Primož Trubar. In the 17th century, the Jesuit Library collected numerous works, particularly about mathematics. In 1707, the Seminary Library was established; it is the first and oldest public scientific library in Slovenia. Around 1774, after the dissolution of Jesuits, the Lyceum Library was formed from the remains of the Jesuit Library as well as several monastery libraries.
The first society of the leading scientists and public workers in Carniola was the Dismas Fraternity (Latin:Societas Unitorum), formed in Ljubljana in 1688. In 1693, the Academia Operosorum Labacensium was founded and lasted with an interruption until the end of the 18th century. The next academy in Ljubljana, the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, was not established until 1938.
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (IATA code LJU), located 26 kilometers (16 mi) northwest of the city, has flights to numerous European destinations. Among the companies that fly from there are Adria Airways, Air France, easyJet, Finnair, Job Air, Montenegro Airlines, Wizz Air and Turkish Airlines. The destinations are mainly European. This airport has superseded the original Ljubljana airport, in operation from 1933 until 1963. It was located in the Municipality of Polje (nowadays the Moste District), on a plain between Ljubljanica and Sava next to the railroad in Moste. There was a military airport in Šiška from 1918 until 1929.
In the Ljubljana Rail Hub, the Pan-European railway corridors V (the fastest link between the North Adriatic, and Central and Eastern Europe) and X (linking Central Europe with the Balkans) and the main European lines (E 65, E 69, E 70) intersect. All international transit trains in Slovenia drive through the Ljubljana hub, and all international passenger trains stop there. The area of Ljubljana has six passenger stations and nine stops. For passengers, the Slovenian Railways company offers the possibility to buy a daily or monthly city pass that can be used to travel between them. The Ljubljana railway station is the central station of the hub. The Ljubljana Moste Railway Station is the largest Slovenian railway dispatching place. The Ljubljana Zalog Railway Station is the central Slovenian rail yard. There are a number of industrial rails in Ljubljana. At the end of 2006, the Ljubljana Castle funicular started to operate. The rail goes from Krek Square (Krekov trg) near the Ljubljana Central Market to Ljubljana Castle. It is especially popular among tourists. The full trip lasts 60 s.
Ljubljana is located where Slovenia's two main freeways intersect, connecting the freeway route from east to west, in line with Pan-European Corridor V, and the freeway in the north–south direction, in line with Pan-European Corridor X. The city is linked to the southwest by A1-E70 to the Italian cities of Trieste and Venice and the Croatian port of Rijeka. To the north, A1-E57 leads to Maribor, Graz and Vienna. To the east, A2-E70 links it with the Croatian capital Zagreb, from where one can go to Hungary or important cities of the former Yugoslavia, such as Belgrade. To the northwest, A2-E61 goes to the Austrian towns of Klagenfurt and Salzburg, making it an important entry point for northern European tourists. A toll sticker system has been in use on the Ljubljana Ring Road since 1 July 2008. The center of the city is more difficult to access especially in the peak hours due to long arteries with traffic lights and a large number of daily commuters. The strict city center has been closed for motor traffic since September 2007, except for residents with permissions.
Historical Ljubljana tram system was completed in 1901 and was replaced by buses in 1928, which were in turn abolished and replaced by trams in 1931 in its final length of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 mi) in 1940, In 1959, it was abolished in favor of automobiles; the tracks were dismantled and tram cars were transferred to Osijek and Subotica. Reintroduction of an actual tram system to Ljubljana has been proposed repeatedly in the 2000s.
The Ljubljana Bus Station, the Ljubljana central bus hub, is located next to the Ljubljana railway station. The city bus network, run by the Ljubljana Passenger Transport (LPP) company, is Ljubljana's most widely used means of public transport. The fleet is relatively modern. The number of dedicated bus lines is limited, which can cause problem in peak hours when traffic becomes congested. Bus rides may be paid with the Urbana payment card (also used for the funicular) or with a mobile phone. Sometimes the buses are called trole (referring to trolley poles), harking back to the 1951–71 days when Ljubljana had trolleybus (trolejbus) service. There were five trolleybus lines in Ljubljana, until 1958 alongside the tram. There are numerous taxi companies in the city, but their services have been evaluated as bad.
Another means of public road transport in the city center is the Cavalier (Kavalir), an electric vehicle operated by LPP since May 2009. There are three such vehicles in Ljubljana. The ride is free and there are no stations because it can be stopped anywhere. It can carry up to five passengers; most of them are elderly people and tourists. The Cavalier drives in the car-free zone in the Ljubljana downtown. The first line links Čop Street, Wolf Street and Hribar Embankment, whereas the second links Town Square, Upper Square, and Old Square. There is also a tractor with wagons decorated to look like a train for tourists in Ljubljana, linking Cyril and Methodius Square in the city center with Ljubljana Castle.
There is a considerable amount of bicycle traffic in Ljubljana, especially in the warmer months of the year. It is also possible to rent a bike. Since May 2011, the Bicikelj, a self-service bicycle rental system offers the residents and visitors of Ljubljana 300 bicycles and 600 parking spots at 31 stations in the wider city center area. The daily number of rentals is around 2,500. There was a possibility to rent a bike even before the establishment of Bicikelj.
However, the conditions for cyclists in Ljubljana have been criticized as unfortunate to date. This refers to cycle lanes in poor condition and constructed in a way that motorized traffic is privileged. In contrast to other European capitals, on some of the main streets cycling is forbidden; for example, on part of Slovenska cesta (Slovene Street) and on a new link road on the Fabiani Bridge across the Ljubljanica River connecting Hrvatski trg and Roška cesta. There are also many one-way streets which therefore cannot be used as alternate routes so it is difficult to legally travel by bicycle through the city center. Through years, some prohibitions have been partially abolished by marking cycle lanes on the pavement.
The river transport on the Ljubljanica and the Sava was the main means of cargo transport to and from the city until the mid-19th century, when railroads were built. Today, the Ljubljanica is used by a number of tourist ships, with wharves under the Butchers' Bridge, at Fish Square, at Court Square, at Breg, at the Poljane Embankment, and elsewhere.
Ljubljana has a rich history of discoveries in medicine and innovations in medical technology. The majority of secondary and tertiary care in Slovenia takes place in Ljubljana. The Ljubljana University Medical Center is the largest hospital center in Slovenia. The Faculty of Medicine (University of Ljubljana) and the Ljubljana Institute of Oncology are other two central medical institutions in Slovenia. The Ljubljana Community Health Center is the largest health center in Slovenia. It has seven units at 11 locations. Since 1986, Ljubljana is part of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network.
Twin towns — Sister cities
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