I’m usually good with names of the places I’ve been to, especially the names of capital cities. Let me take you back when I was 8. I was in living in London back then and one of my prized possession was a world atlas given to me by my dad. I loved the atlas. I was always fascinated to know the fact that I’ve flown half the world away from Malaysia. It was then when my knowledge about capital cities began to developed. I was memorising as many names as possible. I remembered clearly about this TV show where this kid who was about 10 years old going to the show to showcase his memory of the names of capital cities around the world. When asked about the capitals of nearly 30 countries, he answered all of the names correctly. So did I.
This is not a post trying to regret the missing chance of me becoming a child TV star, LOL, but this post is about the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana, a new independent state. Back then, it was still part of Yugoslavia. Despite already visiting the city and loving the small scale and urban planning, I still have problems with spelling its name correctly. I’ve tried Llubjana, Lubjlana, and most recently Ljubjlana. Upon multiple spell checks, I’ve still found my spelling to be wrong.
A tiny capital city
Despite being the capital city, I consider Ljubljana to be a small sized city. With a population of below 300,000, Ljubljana is the smallest capital city I’ve been to – yes sadly that is an achievement to me. Having said that, small doesn’t mean boring. Ljubljana is one of the greatest example of great city planning. I came across the name of the city upon studying my MA in Urban Design at Oxford a few years ago. I remembered our professors constantly talking about the famous architect – Jose Plecnik who designed the city based on ancient Athens. Plecnik uses a great deal of detailing and integrated a host of columns, pillars and balustrades to the capital – making the public realm looking really beautiful. Instead of me giving you guys too much history lesson on this, why not we enjoy the magnificent city in these ordinarily looking photos.
There has been a great deal of preservation done to the city. Most of the city has been kept the same since the Plecnik days. At the heart of the city lies Ljubljanica River. Its riverbank are lined with small trees and outdoor dining areas.
The old city is quite small. I loved the cobbled street and the pedestrian only roads which adds to the experience of walking around the city. When you have a set up like this, it’s easier to introduce seating on the pavements. Who doesn’t like dining like this today?
Even special care has been given to decorate the bridges. Planter boxes has been used widely. It is hard to imagine that this is the photo of the heart of a capital city. The scale of things are beautiful indeed. I even liked the roofs.
Another building designed by architect, Jose Plecnik. Again he uses the large Greek-inspired columns. What attracted me most about this building are the roof with the arch detailing.
I even liked the colours of the buildings. On the far side of the photo is the riverbank of the Ljubljanica river.
This is the picture of outdoor dining areas designed to maximised the appreciation of the riverbank. I’ve managed to have dinner only once in this area. The food prices are definitely a lot more expensive compared to the non-riverbank sides. Though, the experience make it worth spending. This bank becomes lively in the evenings.
The Triple Bridge is one of Jose Plecnik’s most original design. Staying true to the name, the triple bridge actually started of as one wooden bridge until Plecnik redesigned it by adding two more bridges side by side.
All of the bridges in Ljubljana are decorated with beautiful ornaments.
The city centre are adorned with beautiful sculptures such as this fountain.
A bit of history – Slovenia is an EU state which declared its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. For those who doesn’t know, I’ve taken interest in visiting ex-communist countries – Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary being the most recent trips. There’s something really fascinating about these countries – from their architecture to the way people has changed throughout the years. Out of all these states, I felt that Slovenia is the most ‘westernised’ or simply put as – rich.
Have you been to Ljubljana before? Tell us what did you think about it