Franciscan Church of the Annunciation

There are numerous colourful buildings with more than a hundred-year-old history around the historical Ljubljana. It feels like walking into a museum of architecture when strolling around the city. Among those buildings, the most outstanding one has to be the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation. The church has been declared as a cultural monument of national significance in Slovenia since 2008.

The church sits in the heart of the capital’s old town right in front of the Triple Bridge. It was originally painted red, which is the symbolic colour of the Franciscan monastic order. Over time, the red colour faded into the current pink, and liked by the local people and tourists. Its façade is adorned with Ljubljana’s largest Madonna statue. Constructed in the mid-17th century, the church stands as an exhibition of the Baroque and the Art Nouveau architectural style. When walking inside it, you will be dazzled by the exquisite frescoes on the ceiling, the walls and the main altar. To the left of the main altar lays a glass-fronted coffin with the remains of Saint Deodatus. The splendid chandelier and elaborate ornamentations on the walls all are worth your full attention. The church stands as a precious artwork to Slovenia.

Dragon Bridge

Dragon has been the symbol and protector of Ljubljana since ancient times. It embodies power, courage and wisdom. The city is thus as well known as “the city of dragon”. On Ljubljana’s coat of arms, you can see the dragon flying above the Ljubljana Castle, indicating its prominent cultural value to the people. Dragon figures are seen everywhere in the city, such as on numerous souvenirs, a popular theme in Ljubljana’s escape rooms and even on drain covers. The city also holds the Dragon Carnival every winter. Yet, the most iconic one has to be the Dragon Bridge.

Constructed in the early 20th century, the Dragon Bridge spanning the River Ljubljanica is an example of Art Nouveau architecture. The bridge, connecting the modern and old town of Ljubljana, was the first bridge in Slovenia to be paved with asphalt. It was adorned by four terrifying-looking and winged dragon statues. The dragons, looking almost real, sit at the two ends of the bridge guarding the city. It is said that your trip to Ljubljana is incomplete without taking pictures with a dragon on the bridge. You can tell this architecture means a lot to tourists. Apart from the four-winged dragons, there are 16 smaller dragons decorating the bridge. Let’s find them all out when visiting the attraction.

Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana Castle is Ljubljana’s symbol. Entrenching on a green hill in the city centre, the castle guarding the city since the Medieval Period is a crucial landmark. This ancient castle carrying many historical stories would be an excellent place for you to learn about Ljubljana.

The castle was originally a medieval fortress constructed in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th century as a defence structure. It gradually developed into a unique cultural venue today. The castle is drawn right under a dragon on Ljubljana’s coat of arms, indicating its prestigious cultural value to the city. Apart from joining guided tours and seeing exhibitions, you can discover the development of the city and history of the Ljubljana Castle by taking part in the exceptional “Time Machine” activity in the castle. A castle guide will lead you to six time-stations to travel through six key historical periods. At each intriguing theatrical adventure, you will be greeted by a figure from that time who will shed light on the historical background and insights of their period. Another exciting game, “Escape Castle”, allows visitors to learn more about Ljubljana’s history and help save the famous dragon. The vibrant Friday nights are when the castle turns into a music stage and brings spectacular and unmissable jazz performances to the audience. When night falls, why not take a seat at the castle restaurant to savour some exquisite culinary delights? After that, rest your eyes on the breathtaking night view at the highest point of the city. What an unforgettable experience!

Triple Bridge

In front of the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation lies the famous Triple Bridge. It connects Ljubljana’s historical and medieval old town on one bank, and its modern downtown on the other, allowing you to “travel” between the ancient and contemporary times. Unlike its single and straight counterparts, the Triple Bridge is a group of three bridges across the River Ljubljanica resembling a dragon’s paw.

The Triple Bridge was originally a wooden bridge connecting the northwestern European lands with southeastern Europe and the Balkans. It was replaced by a stone bridge, which is the central bridge of today’s Triple Bridge, in 1842 after a fire. Two side bridges, intended for pedestrians, were added to the original stone bridge, with all three furnished with large stone balustrades and lamps. The group has become the most remarkable architecture in Ljubljanica. When the bridge is lit up at night, you can capture an even more extraordinary bridge scenery against the backdrop of the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation when watching at a distance. Stairways on each of the side bridges lead you down to the poplar-lined terraces along the river, which is a nice place to stroll around and enjoy the cool breeze after dinner.

Congress Square

Just a street over from the central area of the old town lies the city’s renowned Congress Square. This Baroque square houses some of Ljubljana’s remarkable attractions and buildings, such as the University of Ljubljana and the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall. It is not only a prominent historic core, but also the centre of life for locals.

Constructed at the ruins of a medieval monastery, the square was used for ceremonial purposes during the famous Congress of Ljubljana, after which it was named. It means a lot to the Slovenes, as it is the place of original of numerous fights and revolutions that marked the history of the country, including the proclamation of independence from Austrian-Hungarian rule in 1918, and the demonstration that marked the beginning of the “Slovene Spring”. The latter even triggered off the struggle of the nation’s independence, and the dissolution of Yugoslavia afterwards.

Citizens and tourists love spending time on the square chilling, reading and soaking in enchanting city views. Raise your head and you can have your eyes rested on the hilltop Ljubljana Castle. In summer, the square becomes an open-air cinema where people gather for free movies in the park that lies in the square’s centre. After the screening, why not grab a coffee at the cafés nearby, and shar with friends your movie review in this relaxing afternoon?