ZigZagging Our Way Through Europe
Having left the picturesque Bled Lake, we were off to Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is also the smallest capital city in Europe. With an average age of 40, it is a vibrant city. It is also home to the University of Ljubljana, the largest university in Slovenia. We arrived anxious to explore the history, architecture, shops and outdoor cafes lining the Ljubljana River.
We started at the Dragon Bridge, named for the four dragon sculptures anchoring its four corners. Constructed in 1900, we are told it is one of the first bridges to be constructed of reinforced concrete. Today, it is a popular meeting point with “meet me at the Dragon Bridge” being a common expression.
As we walked along the river that winds its way through the city, it was easy to understand why Slovenia is ranked the third ‘greenest country’ following Sweden and Finland.
Outdoor restaurants and cafes offer a myriad of culinary choices that exemplify Ljubljana’s cultural diversity while tour boats leisurely navigate their way through the city.
Crossing the Triple Bridge, we entered the cobbledstoned Prešernov trg square, the central square of Ljubljana. Anchored by the bright pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation and the monument to France Preseren, a Slovene national poet whom the square is named after, it is a popular spot for locals to socialize as well as the site for concerts and festivals.
With rain clouds beginning to move in, we crossed the bridge into the Town Square. At the centre of the Square and in front of the Town Hall with its distinctive Clock Tower is the Robba Fountain, created by Francesco Robba who was inspired by Rome’s Fontana dei Quattro Flumi (Fountain of Four Rivers).
The fountain is distinguished by three figures representing the gods of the three rivers in Slovenia – the Krka, the Sava, and the Ljubljana.
As we continue to walk down Dolničarjeva ulica, we enter the Cyril Methodist Square and the Cathedral of Ljubljana. Dedicated to Saint Nicholas. The cathedral was originally built in 1736.
Distinguished by its green dome and clock tower, the cathedral’s exterior is not particularly impressive. However, as we enter through the massive bronze sculptured doors (added when Pope John Paul II visited in 1996) …
We were met with an interior that is is breathtaking!
After leaving the cathedral, we set out for the Ljubljana Castle. Situated majestically on a forested hill overlooking the city, the castle has stood guard for over 900 years.
Although the castle can be reached by walking a trail up the 375m-high hill, we elected instead to take the funicular at a round trip cost of €8.00 per person.
Originally a medieval fortress, it was used by Napoleon as a barracks and military hospital. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction especially the Castle’s Outlook Tower from which the panoramic vistas of the entire city of Ljubljana can be viewed.
The castle also houses a number of museums, exhibits, historical rooms and outdoor cafes.
As the day comes to an end, we leave Ljubljana for the return trip to Zagreb. With the beauty of Bled Lake and the vibrance of Ljubljana etched in our minds, we hope to return one day to explore more of this enchanting country.
Next we are off to the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Follow us as we continue to ZigZag Our Way Across Europe!
Have you been to Ljubljana? Tell us about it!
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