The architectural highlights of Ljubljana, including historic bridges, a fairy-tale castle, and graceful art nouveau buildings, make an impressive backdrop for a walking tour. Here are some of Ljubljana’s top architectural landmarks.
National and University Library of Slovenia
Much of Ljubljana’s architectural heritage can be attributed to one man—Slovene architect Jože Plečnik—and the National and University Library of Slovenia is typical of his distinctive art nouveau style. Inspired by Rome’s Zuccari Palace (Palazzo Zuccari), the striking stone and brick facade gives way to a magnificent black marble staircase in the entrance hall and a reading room adorned with chandeliers.
Another of Plečnik’s creations is the landmark Triple Bridge, which spans the Ljubljanica River between the medieval old town and the modern city. Lined with stone balustrades and streetlamps, the trio of adjoining footbridges dates back to the early 20th century and offers fantastic views of the city, as well as steps leading down to the riverside.
Looking down over the city from its hilltop perch, Ljubljana Castle is one of the city’s most memorable sights. The imposing medieval fortress showcases a mix of different architectural styles, with highlights including the 19th-century watchtower and the 15th-century Chapel of St. George.
Cathedral of St. Nicholas
Ljubljana’s oldest church has a history dating back to the 13th century, but the current structure was built in 1706. The work of architect Andrea Pozzo, the baroque church has lavish pink marble interiors richly decorated with white stucco, gilt, and elaborate frescoes.
The Cooperative Business Bank building, also known as the Vurnik House, was designed by architect Ivan Vurnik in 1922. Its bold coral-colored facade, adorned with Slovenian tricolor motifs, stands out even among the many vibrant buildings of the art nouveau quarter.
Commissioned by Feliks Urbanc, the Urbanc House (Centromerkur) was built to house Ljubljana's oldest department store in the early 20th century. The palatial building is the work of architect Friedrich Sigismundt and inspired by Belgian and French art nouveau styles, with notable elements including its fan-shaped glass awning and rooftop statue of Mercury, the god of commerce.