Saturday, December 9, 2017



Francisian Church of Annunciation across Tri-bridge.

The most  notable buildings of Ljubljana are either in Presernov trg Square or  clustered in the Old Town which covers Mestni trg, Stari trg, Gorjni trg Square  and Levstikov trg. Tourist Brochure of Ljubljana has given a reasonably detailed guide of what we should  watch in particular. We, however, did not go much by the 'book' within the O/Town. We walked around for several hours in these areas at our convenience -easy we  were conveniently housed in a Homestay in Stari trg.

 City Walk on a Sunday morning : Scene in 'Old Town' .

I found the 'Old Town'  area remarkably and noticeably clean. Hordes of people would walk around, tourists among them often accompanied by local guides, moving in groups. Roadside restaurants bustled with customers in the evenings. Yet,the cobbled roads stayed clean and unlittered  except for a few cigarette buts noticeable towards the end of the evening.

In the 'Old Town' side, we [ Ruby,Surath and I ] have photographed buildings which caught our fancy, not necessarily what are mentioned in the Travel Brochure.  In fact, at least two buildings  recommended  in the brochure in context with the areas we went around caught just our passing attention.More on this later.

I tried to capture photos of domes and steeples on old buildings, building lining along curves of cobbled streets and .... designs of windows/doors. [Through 2018, I intend to pick out at least 25/30 'windows' from the photos I have taken during the two trips in Europe and the USA in 2015 and 2017 . This, however, can happen when I would  be back to my desk in Kolkata  and have cleared a large part of my pending work. ]   Our efforts were somewhat affected by bad weather of 10/09/17 morning and cloudy sky we faced throughout our stay.

Bronze Scale Model of Ljubljana.2.2M X size. Installed in Preseren square.
Gifted by city's Urban Planning Institute in 1991 AD.

Ljubljana's bridges,like other old cities of Europe,offer interesting sights. Tri-Bridge , built in 19th century with extension designed by the revered architect Joze Plecnik in 1930s and Dragon Bridge (1901 AD) , designed by Giorgio Zaninovich of Viennese company Pittel and Brausewetter are two most well-known bridges across the river Ljubljanica in this area of tourist attraction - Preseren trg Square , Tri-bridge and Town Hall being by-and-large in the same line . More on Tri-bridge and Town Hall in a subsequent post.

Dragons adorn both the ends of this iconic bridge of Ljubljana . Built during  Austro-Hungarian rule of Slovenia, 'dragon' reminds people of the legend of Jason and his Argonauts setting their feet here and killing  a dragon when attacked.

Mentionable here is that according to local legends, whenever a virgin crosses Dragon bridge, dragons wag their tails.Thus,this bridge has acquired a nickname : 'the mother-in-law'.

Presernov trg Square is named after France Preseren ( 1800 - 1849 AD). He is a much revered poet of Slovenia. His poem - A Toast ( Zdravijica) - has been adopted as Slovenia's national anthem. His poems has been translated into English, French, German, Spanish,Italian, Hungarian, Russian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Belorussian ,Bengali as well as to all the languages of former Yugoslavia. In 2013 AD, a complete collection of his poems, titled 'Poezije' was translated in French.The city paid its tribute to him through this monument :

Preseren Monument, designed by Ivan Zajek, unveiled in 1905 AD.
Muse hails above the statue of Preseren clutching his Poem's collection. 

Around his statue, stand several iconic buildings of Ljubljana .The most majestic among the same is  Franciscan Church of the Annunciation. Its red colour is symbolic of Franciscan monastic colour. 
Couple of notes in this context : Firstly, in the front facade , we find  a statue of Madonna with Child - ' Our Lady of Loretto'.It has been made of beaten copper by Matej Schreiner. But, the plan was drawn by another artist while the faces and hands were executed by yet another artist ( source - Wikipedia). The statue replaced an older wooden statue of ' Black Madonna'. Secondly, many of the original frescoes inside the Church were ruined during the earth quake of  1895 AD. Fresh frescoes were painted by Slovene impressionist painter Matej Stemen in 1936 AD.   

The Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, viewed from Tri-Bridge. 
Built between 1646 & 1660 AD , replacing an older building. 
Front facade built in Baroque style in 1703 - 1706 AD. Redesigned in 19th century.

As I have mentioned earlier, staying in the 'Old Town' gave us a lot of advantage in terms of sight-seeing. The ambience was  - we enjoyed the it a lot ! Apart cleanliness, a very noticeable feature here was  deployment of electric vehicles in the 'No-Automobile' zone which transport people from one point in this zone to another.We  had a ride in this car for a round in the 'Old Town',starting from from Tri-bridge to Kongresni trg through Hribarjevo nabrezje through footpaths of neighbouring city road to Preseren trg to the station for Funicular ride to Castle.
 Our Homestay @ 15 Stari trg.

Our Homestay was at 15 Stari trg , close to the Schweiger House @ no 11a , which is adorned with buildings which date back from Baroque period. Located between 11 and 15, its number should have been 13, but, '11a' was, very understandingly, allotted to  it. The  balustrade is supported on the shoulder of a man who puts his finger on his lips, requesting the passers-by to be silent . [Schweiger is a German word which means a silent man.]

  Schweiger House.
 A closer view of the man with his finger on his lips and a bust of Lily Novy.

 On commission from Franz Karl Schweiger von Lerchenfeld, it was rebuilt from an older house to a design by the architect Candido Zulliani between 1748 and 1749.  Schweiger House is considered to be his most important surviving work.The silent man motif also appears on the Schweiger family's coat of arms attached to the facade just below the roofing. Next to the entrance, there is a portrait statue of one of the building's later owners, the poetess Lily Novy, sculpted by Lujo Vodopivec in 1985.

  Cathedral's Dome and Bell Towers in view. 
Robba's Fountain's replica in foreground.

Most attractive sights in this side of the river Ljublajanica, in my opinion, are Francesco Robba's Fountain of  Carniolan Rivers' replica  and Town Hall in Mestni trg and Saint Nicholas Cathedral, a little ahead,on Dolnicarjeva ulica.Photography is a delight in this area both during daytime and evening.

 Cathedral's side door - 
with 20th Century Bishops depicted on it. 

Seminary Palace & Library - a building next to the Cathedral.

The Cathedral, as we find it today,  has replaced a three-nave Romanesque church dating back to 1262 AD. In 1700 AD, a Baroque hall Church was designed.Following year, a Jesuit architect Andrea Pozzo designed it as a Basilica  and complemented it with a Dome .He did not supervise the construction. Builders added to the design two belfries, resembling Salzburg cathedral. The construction was completed by 1706 AD.The exterior and interior have long history , depicted in detail in Wikipedia. We, however, viewed this Cathedral from outside only. I did not find The Pieta on the facade very impressive, but,liked  the side door with 20th Century Bishops depicted on it .

I initially  thought that all three of us have missed out two prominent buildings , namely , Souvan House , located at 24 Mestni trg, opposite to Town hall and Drofenig House , an Art Nouvaeu building, with prefabricated black marble facade. Fortunately, we have two photos, one taken in the morning and the other in the night, though not very good front views.

Drofenig House' black facade is very prominent in both the photos.
Souvan house on its left.
[ Photo on RH by RC]
 The Souvan House or the Hohn House is the tallest building in Town Square.Originally built in the late 17th Century, it was renovated in the early 19th Century.The plan was by Francesco Coconi.Its facade is decorated with motifs from trade,art and agriculture - one of the highest quality example of Bidermeir period architecture in Ljubljana - work by traveling sculptor Martin Kirshner. The present day Drofenig House replaced a medieval 'tri-axial building'. Reconstructed in early 20th Century, it was designed to be a building for commercial use . It still continues to be the same.
Rain-soaked Sunday morning @ Mestni/Stari trg - 
tourists'  colourfull umbrellas add colour to the dull weather.

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NOTE : More photos of Tri- and other bridges, Castle, Town Hall, river Ljubljanica and other interesting sights will be posted in a separate blog.