I really had no idea of what to expect when arriving in Ljubljana (pronounced lube-lee-yana). Knowing it was the capital city of Slovenia, I had conjured up images of a bustling city with crowded streets, a sprawling business center, traffic noises with trails of exhaust fuming the air. Ljubljana was anything but!
While it may be a modern city, there is a small-town, old-world charm. It is small compared to other more famous European cities with only a little over 280,000 residents. It is a blend of German, Mediterranean and Slavic cultures where a strong Yugoslavian influence still resides.
Ljubljana is in the middle of the country, literally in the middle of Slovenia, and figuratively in the middle of countryside. Thirty minutes in one direction you are skiing in the most popular ski resorts; thirty minutes in the opposite direction you are wine tasting in the vineyards. This makes Ljubljana the perfect home-base when site seeing in Slovenia such as Lake Bled, Predjama Castle, Piran, Skocjan Caves and Vintgar Gorge.
The symbol of Ljubljana is the dragon. You will see it in the city's coat of arms, atop the Dragon Bridge and the castle tower. Legend has the dragon originating with Jason and the Argonauts. Greek hero Jason and his Argonaut comrades stole a golden fleece from the King of Colchis. Fleeing their pursuers they came across a large lake where a fierce dragon lived. After a heroic struggle, Jason killed the dragon--the Ljubljana dragon. Jason would have been the first citizen of Ljubljana.
Some of my favorite highlights in Ljubljana include:
Photo by Victoria Reay
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