CUKRARNA – birthplace of the Slovene literary modernism turns into Ljubljana ‘Tate Art Gallery’

CUKRARNA – birthplace of the Slovene literary modernism turns into Ljubljana ‘Tate Art Gallery’

The 19th century former Ljubljana sugar factory called Cukrarna has been left to ruination for a long time. But in the last years a large renovation project is being carried out …

Once upon a time in Ljubljana

Operating since 1828, Cukrarna used to be one of the most important industrial facilities in Slovenia (from mid of the 19th century it climbed to the first place among the sugar refineries in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy). In 1858, the factory was destroyed in a fire that ended its operations.

The partially renovated building was later used as military barracks and another part of it, as housing.

At the turn of the 20th century, many impoverished young Slovene modernist writers and poets found shelter here – Dragotin Kette, Josip Murn, Ivan Cankar, Oton Župančič were at the centre of the literary circle. Due to extreme poverty and later sickness Kette and Murn took their last breaths here – both in their early 20’s and on the same bed, two years apart.

19th century image of Cukrarna (Wikipedia)

New beginnings

After WW II, Cukrarna was housing socially disadvantaged people, it also became a transitional home for construction workers. The sellers of the Ljubljana farmer’s market also used to overnight here. By the early 1990’s it was empty and then occupied by the homeless.

In 2018, the first real renovation of the building finally started. The plan for the massive empty industrial building was a transformation into The Cukrarna Gallery, intended for contemporary visual arts.

Cukrarna Gallery will be a new contemporary art and social hub in Ljubljana. (FotoArchive Scapelab)

Opening planned for 2022

With The Cukrarna Gallery set by the embankment of the Ljubljanica River (Poljanski nasip), Ljubljana will get a new special venue and a gallery of over 2,500 square metres.

This will make it the biggest exhibition space suitable for more demanding Slovenian and foreign art exhibition projects, as well as for other events in the field of business events, culture, the arts and education.

Ljubljana will get its new “Cathedral of Art”


Under the same roof a day centre for young people is planned to operate, as well as multi-purpose rooms for associations and institutions that will provide a public program.

READ also about the nearby Old Ljubljana Bicycle Factory turning into Urban Creative Centre – (letsgoslovenia.si)



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