Ljubljana Castle

The Ljubljana Castle gained its present image in the 15th century when Duke (later Emperor) Frederick III of Habsburg rebuilt it. The first wooden castle on Castle Hill was in the 12th century and the first stone castle was built in the 13th century. It has now been ‘renovated’ to form a sort of cultural centre that includes art galleries, museums, restaurants, ‘under the stars’ movie nights, weddings, etc.

I prefer to see castles that still look like castles and that have been renovated in a manner that preserves the original appearance. Much of the interior of Ljubljana Castle has been fitted with modern flooring, railings and glass panels that, for me, distract from the historical appearance. There aren’t too many sections of the castle that retain an original appearance without modern touches.

An art gallery inside the castle
An art gallery inside the castle
Art gallery in the castle
Art gallery in the castle
Historical images are projected onto curving screen in the casemates section of the castle
Historical images are projected onto curving screen in the casemates section of the castle

Access to the castle was via a funicular, so no walking up steep hills for this visit. An entry ticket plus return ride on the funicular was 8.50 Euros, but I opted to include the ‘Time Machine’ guided tour, bringing the cost to 12 Euros. The tour lasts about one hour 15 minutes with a guide leading the way around the castle and explaining different elements. Along the way, there are six ‘time stations’ where actors portray characters from the castle’s history. The tour was quite well done and I would say that it is worth the additional 3.50 Euros. It provided some interesting historical context.

Actors narrate part of the castle's history from the perspective of a Roman soldier and a Roman priestess
Actors narrate part of the castle’s history from the perspective of a Roman soldier and a Roman priestess
Wooden winding mechanism for the water well. Two prisoners would walk inside the wheel to raise and lower buckets of water.
Wooden winding mechanism for the water well. Two prisoners would walk inside the wheel to raise and lower buckets of water.
The opening that is now backed by glass was the original entrance into the castle. It was accessed by a bridge over the double moat and had a drawbridge
The opening that is now backed by glass in the Archers Tower was the original entrance into the castle. It was accessed by a bridge over the double moat and had a drawbridge
When the Archers Tower was built, they recycled masonry that they found on the site. In the photo you can see an old Roman tombstone used in the construction.
When the Archers Tower was built, they recycled masonry that they found on the site. In the photo you can see an old Roman tombstone used in the construction.
Inside the Archers Tower
Inside the Archers Tower
An actor portrays St. George and explains how he came to slay the dragon. Until this visit I had no idea that the story of George and the Dragon was reported to have occurred on the site of the Ljubljana Castle.
An actor portrays St. George and explains how he came to slay the dragon. Until this visit I had no idea that the story of George and the Dragon was reported to have occurred on the site of the Ljubljana Castle.
Napolean and the French army also occupied the castle in its history - but they were subsequently besieged in the castle and surrendered after six days
Napolean and the French army also occupied the castle in its history – but they were subsequently besieged in the castle and surrendered after six days
There wis a chapel dedicated to St. George. It is said to be built on the very spot where the earth opened up, swallowed the dragon and then closed again. A great story when there is no body of a dragon to prove you killed it!
There wis a chapel dedicated to St. George. It is said to be built on the very spot where the earth opened up, swallowed the dragon and then closed again. A great story when there is no body of a dragon to prove you killed it!
Part of the ceiling of the chapel
Part of the ceiling of the chapel
Unusually for a church, the paintings on the ceiling are of the coats of arms of the landlords of the region, rather than Christian figures.
Unusually for a church, the paintings on the ceiling are of the coats of arms of the landlords of the region, rather than Christian figures.
The courtyard inside the castle, as seen from the viewing tower
The courtyard inside the castle, as seen from the viewing tower
Looking down onto the city from the castle
Looking down onto the city from the castle
Another view of the city
Another view of the city
One of the prison cells in the penitentiary section of the castle
One of the prison cells in the penitentiary section of the castle
A dragon figure hanging from the wall in the main entrance gate
A dragon figure hanging from the wall in the main entrance gate
The funicular that takes you up to the castle
The funicular that takes you up to the castle

As far as castles go, I was not at all impressed with this one. But I’m glad that I visited for the historical context that I was able to gain from the tour.

 

2 Comments

  1. I agree with you, they have spoiled the looks of that castle.

    I don’t mind when they are decorated to reflect a later period in a castles life such as Warwick castle with its Winston Churchill ‘shooting party’ theme as the castle was inhabited at that point and would have been decorated and furnished as it is portrayed.

    Often it is nice to see some furnishing to reflect how the castles would have been when occupied because another common problem is them being left barren bare stone which is often not how they were. For example a fantastic brick/stone keep called Tattershall castle near Conningsby, Lincolnshire has been left with bare stone walls and floor and no furnishings. True, the rooms are still impressive but I would have liked to see it as it would have been with tapestries draped over the walls, rugs and furniture.

  2. Agreed. You’d love Peles Castle in Romania. It is fully furnished, just as it was when it was occupied by King Carol. A stunning castle!

    I’ve enjoyed visiting castles since I was 8-9 years old when I used to walk to the relatively nearby Conisbrough castle to play on its grounds.

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