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Definition: Ljubljana from Philip's Encyclopedia

(Laibach) Capital and largest city of Slovenia, at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Ljubljanica. In 34 bc Roman Emperor Augustus founded Ljubljana as Emona. From 1244 it was the capital of Carniola, an Austrian province of the Habsburg Empire. During the 19th century, it was the centre of the Slovene nationalist movement. The city remained under Austrian rule until 1918, when it became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia). When Slovenia achieved independence in 1991, Ljubljana became capital. Industries: textiles, paper and printing. Pop. (2002) 257,338.

Summary Article: LJUBLJANA
from Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Slovenia, commonly called Slovenia, a country in south-central Europe at the northeast coast of the Adriatic Sea. The city is located in the center of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and has historically been at the crossroads of trade. In addition to being national capital, Ljubljana is the main commercial, transportation, cultural, and education center of Slovenia. The population is about 272,000.

Historical Overview

Archaeological evidence indicates that Ljubljana's site has been settled since about 2000 BC. Remains of ancient dwellings built on piles in the nearby Municipality of Ig have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In about 50 BC, the Roman built a fortress on the site. From that start, a permanent settlement called Aemona (Emona) developed. The Huns destroyed the town in 452, as did other marauders later. The ancestors of today's Slovenes settled the area in the ninth century and came to be ruled by the Frankish Kingdom. Ljubljana itself was founded in about 1220, maybe earlier. In 1335, the town came under Hapsburg rule which lasted until the end of World War I in 1918 when Austria-Hungary was dissolved and Ljubljana became part of the Kingdom Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and predecessor to Yugoslavia. The only interlude of Hapsburg rule was 1809–1813 when Ljubljana was part of the Napoleonic First French Empire and capital of the Illyrian Provinces. At that time, the city was known as Laibach. The city prospered when the first rail link with Vienna was inaugurated in 1849, and then again when the line was extended to Trieste, part on the Adriatic Sea, in 1857. An earthquake damaged much of the city in 1895, leading to reconstruction in the style of Vienna's architecture. Both World War I and World War II damaged the city. In 1918, after World War I, Ljubljana became part of the independent Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs that emerged with the demise of Austria-Hungary, a precursor of Yugoslavia. In World War II, the city was occupied first by Italian fascists and then by the Nazis who encircled the city with a barbed-wire fence, as Ljubljana was the center of strong resistance movements. After World War II, Ljubljana became capital of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia within Communist Yugoslavia. In 1991, Slovenia achieved independence, and in 2004 the country joined the European Union.

Major Landmarks

Ljubljana Castle built in the 12th century stands on a hill overlooking the river. The city's historic Town Hall stands on Town Square in the center of which is a replica of the 18th-century Robba Fountain, also known as the Fountain of the Three Rivers of Carniola. The original fountain was moved for display inside the National Gallery of Slovenia in 2006. Near Town Hall and the Ljubljana Central Market is St. Nicholas Cathedral. Other famous churches in Ljubljana are the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, St. Peter's Church, and the Serbian Orthodox Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Nebotičnik, a word meaning “skyscraper,” is a 13-storey high-rise office and shops building that was built in the early 1930s and is one of the city's most distinctive and best-known structures. Čop Street, named after the 19th-century writer Matija Čop, is a downtown pedestrian street with shops, restaurants, and crowds of residents and tourists alike.

Culture and Society

Ljubljana is a city with a thriving cultural life, including museums, theater, concert halls, fine universities, and popular festivals such as the Ljubljana Summer Festival. Its region grows grapes, and Ljubljana is sometimes referred to as “a city of vine and wine.” There is a youthful feel to Ljubljana because of the city's many universities and large numbers of students. According to the census of 2002, 39.2 percent of the residents of Ljubljana were Roman Catholics, 30.4 percent said that they were believers who did not affiliate with any organized religion or did not reply, and 19.2 percent said they were atheist. About 5.5 percent were Eastern Orthodox and 5 percent were Moslem. About 80 percent of the population is ethnically Slovenes (or Slovenians), and Slovene is the official national language.

Further Reading
  • Balažič, Gregor.Marshaling Tito: A Plan for Socialist Cultural Heritage Tourism in Slovenia,” Focus on Geography (American Geographical Society) 54, no. 3 (2011): 103-8.
  • Ferfila, Bogomil. Slovenia's Transition: From Medieval Roots to the European Union. Lexington Books Boulder CO, 2010.
  • Gaŝperič, Primož.The Expansion of Ljubljana onto the Ljubljansko Barke Moor,” Acta Geografica Slovenika 44, no. 2 (2004): 7-33.
  • Hrast, Maša Filipovič; Vesna Dolničar. “Sense of Community and the Importance of Values: Comparison of Two Neighborhoods in Slovenia,” Journal of Urban Affairs 34, no. 3 (2012): 317-36.
  • Copyright 2013 by Roman Adrian Cybriwsky

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