The Ljubljanica River has indelibly shaped the city of Ljubljana from its origins in prehistory as it wound its twisting course, acting as a trading route and bringing wealth to the early settlement. Today Ljubljana is often nicknamed "City of Bridges," and one of its most spectacular river crossings is the Art Nouveau Dragon Bridge, completed in 1901 by Dalmatian architect Jurij Zaninovic; it is guarded by an intimidating pair of bronze dragons – symbol of the city – at either end and connects the modern, working city with the Baroque charms of the Old Town across the Ljubljanica.
Although the river was first spanned by bridge in Roman times, the oldest crossing still in existence today is the 13th-century Cobblers’ Bridge; originally this was a simple wooden construction but it was replaced by a striking ballustraded affair in 1931 by Jože Plečnik. This Slovenian architect was also responsible for shaping much of the modern city before he died in 1957, designing the fine Art Nouveau Triple Bridge over the river from Prešeren Trg (Square) and also helping to wrench the waterfront back to life with the construction of tree-lined bankside promenades along the Ljubljanica. Today the riverbanks are home to countless smart bars and restaurants, with terrace seating for balmy summer evenings. A daily produce market sprawls along the river and there’s a Sunday flea market along the waterfront at Cankarjevo Nabrezje.