Just a note: The Croatian way to say Croatia is Hrvatska (Hrv-aht-ska)
Ljubljana (Loob-lyahn-a) is a relatively small city lying at the base of the Alps and as well as the Balkan mountains – both of which you can see in this picture. For this small city, there is a lot of beauty and it will quickly become evident that it is a small residual Bavarian-type, architecturally gorgeous city. This is a city not for excitement but for absorbing architectural beauty and simply relaxing while breathing in the Alpine air. Note: Flag on right is the flag of the city.
Some basic facts about Ljubljana: READ
The church of St. Nicholas is the city’s main Cathedral. The picture on the left is actually the main door to this Baroque inspired and period church. During this period, Ljubljana was considered one of the European centers of art as many many painters and sculptors came to this city for inspiration from its natural beauty as well as to partake in the contemporary “fad” of Baroque art in charming Ljubljana. Once inside the Cathedral (as it is now a tourist destination), you will not find one corner of this church unpainted or gilded. Extremely ornate, extremely beautiful. Take a few moments here, sit in a pew and observe. Caution though, to absorb the detail could take a while!
Preshen square is the main square in this city. Here is the meeting spot for artists and all major events, parades, bands (military and corps bands play here often) take place in this square. In the bottom left picture, right of the “pink” building which is the Franciscan Church (and the most prominently recognized building in Ljubljana) built in the mid 1600s, you see a glimpse of the city’s central fountain. Great spot for meeting up with your group!
In the previous slide, you probably noticed a set of stone bridges. Ljubljana is known in Europe as the city of bridges, or more precisely, the city of three bridges (Tro-most-ov-yeh). Because the city is divided by the Ljubljanica river, the two sides of the city had to be joined together and yet had to efficiently connect all the avenues from both sides. These three bridges really are a work of architecture genius themselves and don’t be surprised to find many artists inspired by their structure and beauty while attempting to paint everyday life in this charming town.
The dragon has special meaning to Ljubljana. You’ll see dragons everywhere – including in the city flag: note the green dragon on top of the castle! Why the fascination with dragons? Legend has it that the mythical Greek character Jason, from the legend of the golden fleece, was given a final task to overcome the Sleepless Dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece so that he could return it to Greece. The dragon, coincidentally, resided in what is now Ljubljana. Jason sprayed the dragon with a potion diluted from herbs and was successful in obtaining the golden fleece. Because of this legend, Jason is considered the mythical founder of Ljubljana and to honor him, concrete dragons, incapable of harming humans, are portrayed on the bridge crossing the Ljubljanica river- these bridges are simply known as the dragon bridge.
Like all worthy European cities, a castle exists in Ljubljana. The castle was first mentioned in 1144 as the seat of the Duchy of Carniola. The fortress was destroyed when the duchy became part of the Habsburg domains in 1335. Between 1485 and 1495, the present castle was built and furnished with towers. Its purpose was to defend the empire against Ottoman invasion as well as peasant revolt. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the castle became an arsenal and a military hospital. It was damaged during the Napoleonic period and, once back in the Austrian Empire , became a prison, which it remained until 1905, resuming that function during World War II. Today, many efforts were put in to restoring the castle and is now a major tourist attractions with restaurants, look-out points and a coffee shop. In the summer, live music is held in the courtyard. A wonderful space to spend a beautiful summer night over looking the main city!
Because Ljubljana is considered a small, “mellow” city, the favorite past time of residents is to simply find their favorite café along the river and pass the day away reading, socializing or having a light brunch or dinner. If you want to fit in like the locals, sitting at a café is a must. The difficult task is choosing which of the many superbly decorated and charming cafes along the river to sit at!
Dubrovnik city flag is on the lower right: St Blaise (Sveti Vlaho in Croatian) is the patron saint of the city. Be prepared to see him everywhere!
Some basic facts about Dubrovnik: After first point: Dubrovnik was essentially built by the Venetians – as evidenced by its architecture. You’ll see that the Venetian name “Ragusa” is etched in many buildings and stones around the city. However, despite it’s historic ties to Venice, make no mistake, these people were Slavic Croatians. The most famous inhabitant of the region was Marko Polo as he came from the nearby island of Korchula – yes, even Marko Polo was a Croat. Most Croatians had two names, which you’ll also find etched in buildings and city documents: one Venetian and one Croatian. It is joked, with some truth, that Marko Polo’s Croatian name was Marko Pavlovich. With the ties to Venice and the ease of accessibility to the ports of Dubrovnik, it is no surprise then that the city (which for centuries actually existed as an independent republic) was considered one of the five maritime republics along with those listed here… Read point 3 – just a fun little fact. You’ll notice that Croatians love their dogs…don’t be surprised to see them everywhere, with and without their owners You’ll notice in this pic that the city in enclosed in a fortress – built on purpose! There were constant threats of losing the republic’s independence so the fortress went up to deter both the ambitions of the Venetians as well as the Ottoman Turks who controlled all areas around Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik (Ragusa) existed as a republic for nearly its entire existence. Whether independent or under a monarchy (such as the Austrians). Although its population was Croatian (as it was since the 6 th century), Dubrovnik itself was not formally incorporated into greater Croatia until the formation of the first Yugoslavia in the post WW I era.
Dubrovnik itself as entirety is made up of four parts: the old city, Pile (pee-leh), Lapad (Lah-pahd) and Gruz (Grooj) with the latter two being a short bus ride away. When you get from the airport to the main city bus stop, you will land in the area known as Pile. In the picture on the top left, you can see where the busses line up and here you will find the meeting point of many, many tourist groups. Immediately then south of this is the old bridge that will take you into the old city of Dubrovnik. Once you enter the old city, you will see the old fountain to your right which is considered the “meeting spot” of the city. This would be the best place to find someone if ever separated. Here you’ll also find musicians (one old gentleman in particular who daily plays the traditional Dalmatian lijerica (lee-yehr-itsa), a one string violin type of instrument. In front of you, you’ll see the ever long stradun (strah-doon). Tradition has it that a creek used to separate the left and right side so the locals filled it in and paved over it. Be wary, however, avoid walking in the gutters of either side – folklore has it should you walk in the gutters you will either 1. never get married or 2. have a bad vacation. Gutter at your own risk.
From the ground, and looking both left and right, you’ll see two main features of the old city: steps and alleys. Because the city was fortified, the locals could not build out but instead had to build up. There are, depending on the area, 4 to 5 layers of the old city with steps like those depicted in the upper left and right pictures. The alleys are much like those depicted in the bottom center picture where each alley has its own hidden treasure. Many, many jewelry shops (make sure to check out the local red Croatian coral), restaurants, clothing, shoes, etc. Every corner of the old city is worth exploring from the hidden corner restaurant on the 2 nd or 3 rd tier to the Arts and Theatre museum at the end of the Stradun (which will seemingly end…but continue on because it will exit you out onto the beautiful marina) to the church of the patron saint, Saint Blaise – remember, you’ll see him everywhere!
What everyone must do, if able, is to pay the admission to walk the city walls. Here you will get fantastic photo shots of the city and the sea. The above four are just a sample but the walk, which will take you about an hour and a half, is simply breathtaking. Caution, however, this is constant climbing and descending of steps with long strides of level walkways. Notice in the lower left picture the island. This is the botanical island that is very popular and extremely beautiful to visit. Plus, it will give you another fantastic opportunity for photographing the old city.
As mentioned, there are other parts of this city. Lapad is where the locals live and can be easily reached with the bus (no 6 towards Babin Kuk). Here you’ll find grocery stores, more restaurants (at considerably cheaper prices) and shopping of the non-tourist variety. There is also the district of Gruz that provides the same features as Lapad…although locals say those living in Gruz are of a grumpier variety because they don’t get as much sunlight as their counterparts in Lapad. Regardless, both are beautiful. I mentioned the bus system. It really is the cheapest and most effective way to get around town. Make sure to buy a bus card with multiple rides on it. If you pay ride by ride, you will be wasting quite a bit of money. You can purchase bus cards from any Tisak kiosk or at the bus information center in Pile which is on the east side of the bus stops (direction taking you away from the entrance to the old city) Dubrovnik is a difficult town to get out of outside of airplanes and boats. I would highly recommend taking a ferry to the island of Korcula (Korchula) as it is a beautifully quaint island with amazing beaches. Here you can emerse yourself in the man that was Marco Polo and indulge in delicious seafood, prepared slightly different than in Dubrovnik itself – I recommend the squid.
Ljubljana Dubrovnik Presentation
Ljubljana , Slovenia Dubrovnik , Croatia (Hrvatska)
Basics Flag of Ljubljana Capital of Slovenia Major River: Ljubljanica History of Germanic and Slavic Cultures City Symbol: Ljubljana Dragon
History at a Glance: Ljubljana and Slovenia <ul><li>Ancient Roman city of Iulia Aemonam (Emona) - destroyed by the Huns and Goths in 5 th century A.D. </li></ul><ul><li>6 th century A.D. Slavic settlers arrived </li></ul><ul><li>9 th century A.D. to 13 th century: Ruled by Franks </li></ul><ul><li>13 th century began rule by Hapsburgs (Austria) </li></ul><ul><li>15 th century Ljubljana was widely recognized as a center for the arts </li></ul><ul><li>- promoted Pan-Slavicism and freedom from Austrian rule Helped form and joined the Yugoslav Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes </li></ul><ul><li>Fell under Italian Fascist rule during WWII </li></ul><ul><li>Liberated by Yugoslav Partisans and again former joined the Socialist Federalist Republic of Yugoslavia </li></ul><ul><li>Began the dissolution of Yugoslavia by deciding to leave parliament, January 1991 </li></ul><ul><li>Entered European Union 2004 </li></ul>
The Basics and Some History <ul><li>Southernmost city in Croatia </li></ul><ul><li>Also known as Ragusa (Venetian name) </li></ul><ul><li>Known as the 5 th Maritime Republic </li></ul><ul><li>(along Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice) </li></ul><ul><li>In the Croatian region known as Dalmatia – </li></ul><ul><li>Yes, the dog came from here! </li></ul><ul><li>Managed to remain independent from </li></ul><ul><li>Venice and the Ottomans through </li></ul><ul><li>agreements –but they built the fortress just in case </li></ul><ul><li>Although people were Croatian and Slavic since 6 th century, did not formally become part of Croatia until the establishment of Yugoslavia </li></ul>