Written by Giulia.
The best way to explore Ljubljana is by bike: the town is very small and perfectly equipped with bike lanes, and basically if I managed to bike all around Ljubljana I'm sure anyone can!
Cukrarna, the abandoned sugar factory
Built in 1828 along the Ljubljanica river, the complex grew over the decades, adding boilers, wings, warehouses and machinery (one of them being the first steam engine in Slovenia!). This went on until 1858, when a fire caused by the negligence of an employee destroyed the factory and its sugar stock. The complex was eventually transformed into a shelter, both after the Ljubljana earthquake of 1895 and during WW2, and it has been hosting socially disadvantaged people since then.
Cukrarna was also very important to Slovenian literary history, because Slovene poets like Josip Murn Aleksandrov, Dragon Kette found their home and their creative environment inside the abandoned factory, as did their contemporaries from Slovene modernism, such as Ivan Cankar and Oton Župančič.
The Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture is a public institution which has been operating since 2009 in the field of contemporary and urban culture; it organizes concerts, exhibitions and shows and it also has a cozy coffee shop and a summer garden.
The location had been home to a movie theatre (that's what kino means in Slovene) since 1964, but it was closed down due to a decrease in the number of visitors. After a major architectural renovation, Kino Šiška became Ljubljana's centre for contemporary and urban cultural trends.
All around the Kino Šiška building you will find several street art interventions; my favorite one is "Tina", a portrait of a waiter from Kino Šiška's café, painted by the street artist Jorge Rodriguez Gerada.
The Fužine neighbourhood is the Balkan heart of Ljubljana, a multicultural suburb inhabited by people from other Balkan countries, most of whom came to Ljubljana as refugees during the 1990s and settled in this neighborhood with their families: it’s like a tiny Yugoslavia within Ljubljana's municipality!
Fužine is also the location of a castle built in 1520s by the Khisl family, a family of entrepreneurs from Bavaria. It consists of four residential wings around an inner courtyard with a fountain. Nowadays the castle is home to the Museum of Architecture and Design.
The Žale Cemetery is an old cemetery in Ljubljana and it is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Part of the complex was designed by the architect Jože Plečnik during the 1930s and by the architect Marko Mušič during the 1980s. Many of the cemetery’s headstones were designed by the finest Slovenian artists and architects.
One of the oldest part of Ljubljana, the Trnovo district is known for its small houses with large vegetable gardens that supply the Ljubljana market, where you can still buy “Trnovska Iceberg”, the typical kind of lettuce from this area.
After the urban development of Ljubljana, this area became more urbanized, but some of its more rural charms still remain. Even now, walking through the Trnovo district can feel like walking through a small picturesque village, especially in autumn, when Gradaščica’s banks and the chestnut trees growing there show off all their beauty. In this area you will also find good restaurants and lively pubs frequented by a hip and alternative crowd of artists and youngsters, especially on Eipprova Ulica.
This Top-5 is an extract of Blocal’s blogpost “Ljubljana off-the-beaten path”; you can read the original article here: http://www.blocal-travel.com/2014/11/ljubljana-off-beaten-path.html
→ Links for the introduction:
Eating out in Ljubljana VOL. 1: http://www.blocal-travel.com/2013/09/eating-in-ljubljana.html
Eating out in Ljubljana VOL. 2: http://www.blocal-travel.com/2014/10/eating-out-in-ljubljana-vol-2.html