Day 2: Architectural Riches of Ljubljana
After breakfast, our morning began with a walking tour of the old town with Marijan.
Below is a statue of France Preseren, Slovenia’s most reknown poet. He wrote the lyrics to the Slovenian national anthem. The statue was scandalous when it was erected because the it shows Preseren inspired above by a nudeMuse. As the story goes, the model who posed for the statue couldn’t find work because she was so scandalized by this work.
One of Ljubljana’s most famous bridges is Dragon Bridge over the Ljubljana river. There is a legend that Jason was the founder of Ljubljana, and he and his Argonauts killed a dragon in Ljubljana. Now the dragon is now one of the city’s symbols. This is one of the bridge’s four dragon statues. According to local legend, when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.
In the afternoon we took the funicular to the top of the hill of to explore the castle. The castle was built in the 12th century by the Romans. Its original purpose was to defend the empire against peasant revolts and Ottoman attacks. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the castle became an arsenal and a military hospital. It was damaged during the Napoleonic period, but during the reign of the Austrian Empire, it became a prison. It remained a prison until 1905 and resumed that function during World War II. The outlook tower was built in 1848. Its purpose was for cannons that could be fired to warn the city in case of emergency or to announce important visitors or events. We sat down for some traditional Slovenian fare at the restaurant in the castle. The food was quite good. So good, in fact, that I didn’t snap a picture before eating.
A view of the castle from the city below