Ljubljana is a very special city: It is almost completely the brainchild of a single architect, Joze Plecnik, who was inspired by ancient Athens in designing many of the city’s buildings and public places.
His greatest achievement is probably the National and University Library. The massive building has a unique patterned look, with rough gray stones poking out of a grid of red brick. The banks of bookshelves inside are lit up like a cathedral.
From the windows you can see Ljubljana Castle, which rises above the city from a nest of green trees. Visit the 11th-century castle’s Viewing Tower to take in the remarkable rows of red-tiled roofs below. There are many art galleries in the castle, but one highlight is the collection of paintings in the Archers’ Tower. For fun, let costumed tour guides show you around.
Later, glide along Ljubljana River on a boat. It’s the most relaxing way to see many of the best sights of Slovenia’s capital from a new angle. One of those sights is Central Market, designed by Plecnik in two levels overlooking the river. The market is where locals mingle with tourists, and stretches between the two well-known landmarks of the city, Dragon Bridge and Triple Bridge.
Triple Bridge is just what the name suggests: three pedestrian bridges crossing Ljubljana River from the same source. At the other end of Central Market, the iconic Dragon Bridge features four green winged dragons. There’s a legend that they will wag their tails when a virgin crosses the bridge! (T)