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Ljubljana, the City of Dragons

Triple Bridge
Ljubljana is a compact city and easy to navigate. Start with a free walking tour from Prešernov trg Square to learn more about the history of the country and the significance of their landmarks. Then take the funicular to Ljubljana Castle for a panoramic view of the city. End the day at a terrace café by the river and order some of the fine Slovenian wines. 

At Triple Bridge (above) with Prešernov trg Square and the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation in the background. Jože Plečnik is the architect of this famous bridge.

Dragon’s Bridge
One of four large dragons guarding Dragon’s Bridge. Slovenia’s mythological history is entwined with Greek mythology and the story of Jason and the Argonauts.

Butcher’s Bridge
Butcher’s Bridge is also the love bridge. Notice the thousands of love locks rusting away with age. I hope the same is not true of the love shared by owners of the padlocks. In the background is Jože Plečnik’s covered market.

Terrace cafés by Ljubljanica River
Café life is alive and well on the terraces by the Ljubljanica river. Ljubljana has a student population of about fifty thousand. They form a large part of the city’s total population which is just under three hundred thousand (2021).

St. Nicholas Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas is a beautiful baroque church in the center of Ljubljana. It was constructed between 1701-1706 from the design of Andrea Pozzo, a Jesuit architect. There is a 2 euro entrance fee to the Cathedral and it is definitely worth it.

These frescoes at St. Nicholas Cathedral were painted by Giulio Quaglio.

This side door to the Cathedral with the portraits of bishops is the work of Mirsad Begić.

What an impressive door frame this is! I found it while walking around the Cathedral.  It is the entrance to the Seminary Palace. These two Hercules statues were carved by Angelo Putti in 1714 in the workshop of stonemason, Luka Mislej.

Coat of arms
The coat of arms of the nobility on the ceiling of the chapel inside Ljubljana Castle.

Ljubljana
View of Ljubljana from the funicular that serves Ljubljana Castle. The funicular costs 4 euros roundtrip. Entrance to the castle including funicular and viewing tower, Museum of Puppetry is 13 euros. There are restaurants in the courtyard of the Castle, the perfect place for a cool drink especially on hot summer days.

France Prešeren
France Prešeren was a romantic 19th century Slovene poet and lawyer. The Slovene National Anthem is derived from the 7th stanza of his poem, Zdravljica. 
“God’s blessing on all nations
Who long and work for that bright day
When o’er earth’s habitations
No war, no strife shall hold its sway
Who long to see
That all men free
No more shall foes, but neighbors be!”

Notice the direction of the statue’s eyes. (See next photo.)

Julija Primic
Prešeren is looking in the direction of his muse, Julija, whose house at 4 Wolfova Street, is across the square from his statue. His love for her was unrequited. She married a wealthy man belonging to her class. Though Prešeren was a lawyer and poet, he came from the peasant class.

The Wreath of Sonnets that Prešeren wrote is dedicated to Julija. Gazelle is all about his feelings for her.
Let my poem, like a shrine, contain - your name
In my heart shall ever proudly reign - your name
Let my countrymen hear echoes, east and west,
Of the music in that joyous strain - your name
On this shrine shall nations henceforth read your fame 
Here it stays to glow and glow again - your name. 
When both you and I have crossed in Charon's boat, 
Even then the glory will remain - your name.
More than Cynthia, Laura, Delia and Corrina, 
Time will ever hallow my refrain - your name.

To read more of France Prešeren’s poems, see poemhunter.com.

Where to stay:
Intercontinental Ljubljana
Convenient location within walking distance to the old town and train station. Large, spacious and luxurious rooms with view of the city. Helpful front desk staff.

Where to eat:
B Restaurant
20th Floor, Intercontinental Ljubljana

Everything from the succulent sea bass to the sweet Slovenian wine I ordered to the olive oil on the table were all delectable and the service was first rate. I liked the restaurant enough that I ate there twice during my three night stay. Oh, did I mention the view?

View from my dinner table. Can you see Ljubljana Castle on the hill?

Travel Restrictions due to Covid-19
I arrived by train from Austria and since both Slovenia and Austria are Schengen countries, there was no border patrol. This means my passport didn’t get stamped and no one asked for my vaccination card. However, if you are arriving by air and are American, please check this website for requirements on entering the country: https://si.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
For the latest travel news in the Schengen countries: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


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