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A quick list of Ljubljana’s MUST SEE buildings

A quick list of Ljubljana’s MUST SEE buildings

Visiting Ljubljana? Like in any other place, it’s good to know what you’re looking at!

By Let’s Go Slovenia-Marijana

Photos: Samo Šmarčan

Vurnik House

The Vurnik House, or the Cooperative Business Bank building, is Ljubljana’s most colorful house and a masterpiece of Slovenian Art Nouveau architecture. The structure is work of Slovenian architect Ivan Vurnik and his  Viennese-born wife Helena, who painted the exterior of the building. In 2022 Vurnik House will be celebrating its 100th birthday.

What a beauty!

The building is not open to tourists, but you can walk inside during the working hours. It’s located in the Miklošičeva ulica street 8.

Grand Hotel Union

Just opposite the Vurnik House, the Grand Hotel Union stands. This is Ljubljana’s first modern hotel. At the time it was built (between 1903 and 1905)  it had the largest hall in the whole Balkans. Wow! The entire building, both its façade and interior furnishings, is in the Art Nouveau style.

Fancy, indeed!

The Grand Hotel Union is fit for a Queen (in fact, Queen Elizabeth has stayed here). 

Urbanec House (Emporium Gallery)

Further down Miklošičeva Street, right at the corner you will spot a lovely building with display windows looking like a department store. Well, that’s because it is a department store. Urbanec House (today’s Emporium Gallery) was the first department store in Ljubljana. It dates to the early 20th century (the year on the entrance is 1903). This building represents one of the finest complete works of Art Nouveau in Ljubljana.

It represents some of the finest shopping, too!

Beautiful entrance of Emporium Gallery.

Hauptmann House

If you’re in Ljubljana center, around the Prešeren Square, you can’t miss this one either. The Hauptmann House just looks very special. Some fascinating history,  too. Such as that it was one of the few Ljubljana houses not to have been destroyed by the 1895 Ljubljana eartquake.  After the earthquake its owner merchant Adolf Hauptmann thought to renovate the building in the style of back then very fashionable Viennese Secession.  

Still looking fashionable to me!

You certainly can’t miss the Hauptman House in Prešeren Square.

Krisper House (also known as House Gustav Mahler)

Gustav Mahler (1860 -1911) is undoubtedly one of the greatest conductors and composers of all time. But in a way it all began in Ljubljana. As a 21-year-old talented musician from Vienna Mahler arrived to Ljubljana to take up his first conducting post at what is now the Slovenian Philharmonic. While in Ljubljana (September 1881 – April 1882) Mahler boarded in a house with the parents of his Slovenian classmate and friend from Vienna Anton Krisper.

Gustav Mahler lived in this house opposite the Robba Fountain.
Young Gustav Mahler’s bust on a house he stayed in Ljubljana.

National and University Library (NUK)

The National and University Library (locally known as NUK) is one of the most significant works of famous Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957). It was built during unpleasant times just before the Second World War, in 1941, and was damaged in 1944 due to a fall of a military airplane. After the war the building was repaired. 

NUK is considered one of the country’s most important educational institutions and houses over 2.6 million books, including a rich collection of medieval manuscripts and Renaissance prints.

Slovenia’s temple of wisdom and knowledge.

Some more buildings worth seeing:

SNT Drama Ljubljana

The Slovenian National Drama Theatre of Ljubljana (SNT Drama Ljubljana) is Slovenia’s main dramatic theatre. Its repertoire includes both classic plays and contemporary stage works.

Ljubljana Drama has also a nice cafe inside.

Ljubljana Town Hall

The building and its clock tower are the most beautiful examples of Ljubljana’s architectural baroque style.

Slovenian Philharmonic

The Slovenian Philharmonic building’s heritage goes back to the Academia Philharmonicorum, which was founded in Ljubljana in 1701 on the model of the Italian academies.

The Slovenian Philharmonic is one of the world’s oldest institutions of the kind.

Ljubljana Skyscraper (Nebotičnik)

The Ljubljana Nebotičnik is one of the architectural icons of Ljubljana. When built in 1931, it was the seventh tallest building in Europe. The building was designed to house shops, restaurants, and residential apartments. Still today, the terace of the café on the top of Nebotičnik offers stunning views reaching all the way to the Alps on a clear day.

Slovenian Parliament Building

The magnificent two-story entrance portal of the building portrays an allegory of the working people. The building, which was designed by Plečnik’s student Vinko Glanz, is a true architectural work of art.

Enjoy Ljubljana! You can see even more, by going out of the city center. Here is our list of which 5 LJUBLJANA NEIGHBOURHOODS TO VISIT!

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