Ljubljana – A unique capital

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Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a central European city lying between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, in a basin where the Ljubljanica river flows into the Sava. It has all the facilities of a modern capital, and yet it has preserved its small-town friendliness and relaxed atmosphere. It is a vibrant city full of surprises.


Ljubljana lies between Vienna and Venice, at a crossroads of important transport routes from northern Europe to the Adriatic Sea and from western to eastern Europe, and further on to the Balkans and the Near East. Its geographical location overlaps with that of the so-called Ljubljana Gateway, a natural passage between central Europe and the Mediterranean.

Essential information

  • Capital of the Republic of Slovenia, a European Union member state since 2004
  • Area: 275 sq km (170.8 sq mi)
  • Population: 280,000
  • Official language: Slovenian; people in Slovenia are generally well versed in English, those living near the Austrian and Italian borders also in German and Italian
  • Climate: continental, with January temperatures averaging –1.5 and July temperatures 21.7 degrees Celsius
  • Height above sea level: 298m (623 ft)
  • Symbol: Ljubljana Dragon
  • Currency: euro (since 2007)
  • Time zone: GMT + 1 hour
  • Country code: +386, area code: (0)1
  • Population density: 1,014 people per sq km
  • GPS coordinates: 14.5057 (E), 46.0518 (N)
  • Student population: approx. 60,000
  • Safety: Ljubljana tops the list of the world’s most honest cities (Reader’s Digest, 2008).

Its surrounding areas, packed with natural beauty and cultural sights bearing witness to the city’s dynamic history, are renowned for their walking, hiking, and cycle trails and a wide variety of culinary delights.

For centuries, Ljubljana was the capital of the historical region of Carniola, and in the 20th century, it became the cultural, scientific, economic, political, and administrative center of Slovenia, independent since 1991. Its transport connections, the concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions and cultural tradition are contributing factors to its leading position.

It is often said of Ljubljana, both by its residents and those visiting it, that it is a city made to the measure of the man. On the one hand, it ranks among mid-sized European cities and offers all the comforts of big capitals, while on the other, it has preserved a smalltown friendliness and a uniqueness of its own.

During winter, it is its dreamy central European character that prevails, and during summer, it’s a relaxed Mediterranean feel. The city’s character is marked by two widely differing yet complementary features: Ljubljana is famed for its historical heritage and tradition while being a relatively young city with a modern lifestyle. Scientists and academics find it attractive for the international reputation of its university, world-renowned artists for its vibrant and creative spirit, businessmen for staging a lot of business events and trade fairs, and all kinds of experts for being a delightful convention city.

Ljubljana is said to be founded by the Greek mythological hero Jason, who had stolen the golden fleece from King Aetes and fled from him, along with his fellow Argonauts on the ship Argo, across the Black Sea and up the rivers the Danube, Sava, and Ljubljanica to the source of the latter. There the Argonauts disassembled their ship to be able to carry it to the Adriatic Sea, put it together again, and return to Greece. On their way to the sea, they made a stop at Ljubljana Marshes, the dwelling place of a monster, which Jason fought and killed. The monster, now referred to as the Ljubljana Dragon, found its place atop the castle tower depicted on the Ljubljana coat of arms.

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This tiny Central European country is simply bursting with attractions – from the atmospheric alleyways of Ljubljana’s old town to the dreamy perfection of Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj; from the majesty of the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park to the subterranean mystery of UNESCO Skocjan Caves. Slovenia’s unparalleled