Lubiana, (known locally as Ljubljana) capital of Slovenia, joined the EU in 2004, a peaceful leafy, elegant city, it was awarded the coveted Green Capital of Europe title for 2016. It is a haven in summer, with cafes lining the river front belying its lively nightlife.
The city’s symbol is the Dragon, depicted on the top of Lubiana Castle overlooking the city, its coat of arms, symbolizing power, courage and greatness, adopted from St George the patron of the castle. You will find dragons everywhere.
Today the city’s architecture is a mix of styles with the historic centre remaining intact, dating back to the Roman period and Middle Ages.
Lubiana, originally the site of a Roman city called Emona. Under Habsburg rule from the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.
The architecture reveals the city’s past, with nods to the city’s dragon emblem, it has an almost fairytale feel to it. Dragons feature larger than life in the cultural history of Lubiana, from bridges to statues and festivals. Rich with romance and mystery it is surprising Lubiana has remained a tourist secret for so long.
A little bit of earlier history...
Earliest archeological remains reveal the area was pretty much marshland with the lake dwelling people surviving by hunting, fishing and primitive agriculture, using dugout canoes to get around.
Marching forward – in the 15thc Lubiana was noted for its art, particularly painting and sculpture. Earthquakes decimated the town in 1511 and it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, wooden buildings were forbidden following fires and another monumental earthquake in the 1600’s. Rising yet again with surrounding new walls and following in the Italian and particularly Venetian styles.
Situated at the middle of trading routes between the northern Adriatic Sea and the Danube region, under the Habsburgs it became the cultural, educational, economic, political and administrative centre.
By 1918 following the dissolution of the Austria-Hungarian rule Slovenia became a province of Yugoslav. After the Italian capitulation in WWI, Nazi Germany took control, however, formally the city remained the capital of an Italian province until 1945. Following the conclusion of WWII Lubiana became the capital of Socialist Republic of Slovenia, a part of Yugoslavia, retaining this status until independence in 1991 and joining the EU in 2004.