Destinations Magazine

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

By Livingthedreamrtw @livingdreamrtw

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River CruiseSitting high up on a hill with a commanding view of the Old City you will find the Ljubljana Castle. As part of a tour of the old town we were able to visit this iconic castle in Slovenia.

As we were visiting the city on a Saturday we were greeted with market stalls selling all different fruits and meats as well as clothing and home wares. As we made our way to the funicular we were able to see locals going about their routines and buying fruit and veggies for the week.

Our tour of the castle also included a ride in the funicular to the top of the hill instead of walking and because the weather was scorching we were happy to relax and enjoy the view as we ascended to the peak.

The Time Machine: Guided Tour

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

Once we got to the castle it was time to find our guided tour called "Time Machine". This tour was to give us a view of several people throughout history that had lived and worked here at the castle.

As we went on the tour of the castle we met many people from different lands. Our first visitors were Romans, a guard who protected the city of Emona (now Ljubljana) against enemies, and a beautiful Roman Priestess.

Next we were told of the mythical dragon. It is said that a fire-breathing dragon used to live in the swamp near the Ljubljana Castle and we met Jason (of Argonauts fame) who heroically killed the dragon during his time in the region.

The dragon is still the symbol of the city today and you can see the dragon watching over the town of Ljubljana at the Franz Joseph Jubilee Bridge or otherwise known as "The Dragon Bridge". The Dragon can also be spotted on the coat of arms that flies from the top of the Ljubljana Castle.

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

As the ages progressed the castle changed hands numerous times, and in the mid-17th century the castle was taken over by the French. Before this the Austrian government wanted to pull the castle down and sell its building materials, however, when the French occupied Ljubljana for the first time they took over the castle and turned it into a military hospital and barracks.

In 1815 the castle was again taken over by the Austrians and they turned it into a prison. It was bought back by the Mayor of Ljubljana in 1905 and he had great plans for the reconstruction of the castle as it was badly damaged by an earthquake at the end of the 1800's. But by the 1940s the Germans had invaded and took control of the castle for a brief period of time.

The castle of Ljubljana today is still owned by the city of Ljubljana and it there have been many renovations over the years.

We enjoyed being transported back in time and learning about the history of the castle. We found the Time Machine Tour catered well for our children. Each character was dressed in time appropriate clothes and the stories they told of the castle were acted so realistically.

Exploring the Castle

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

The castle has many different exhibitions throughout the year and is a major tourist attraction for the city. What was also surprising was that it is also a gathering place for locals. The castle has a couple of restaurants and many areas where you can relax under the shade of trees. There is also an outdoor library that included children's books!

We made our way to the top of clock tower after our tour as we were told there are amazing views from the top. The stairs were easy compared to the Eiffel tower stairs, which we had done a few weeks before.

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

The view from the top was breathtakingly beautiful. We had a 360 degree view of Ljubljana below.

Puppet Exhibition

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

As we were in Austria the week before visiting Ljubljana, the kids had just watched "The Sound of Music" and were excited to see the puppet exhibition. It was held in the new buildings of the castle and was extremely well done.

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

There was a history of puppetry and different interactive displays that the kids could play with. They enjoyed the shadow and string puppets and had lots of laughs trying to scare people as they walked into the exhibition.

River Cruise

Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

After a late lunch near the castle we headed down to the River where our cruise was to depart. We passed many historic places on the way including the Triple Bridge, Preseren Square and the Franciscan Church.

The river tour was one hour long and it was interesting to see Ljubljana from a different perspective. The boat cruise was relaxing and was well enjoyed after several hours discovering the castle.

We'd like to thank the Ljubljana City Tourist Board for inviting us out during our time in the city. As always, all opinions are our own.
Ljubljana Castle Old City Slovenia and River Cruise

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