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Ljubljana - street art and cultural community Metelkova

  • Written by Portal Editor
Ljubljana - street art and cultural community in Metelkova

The next day was also marked by a further tour into the city of Ljubljana, especially the Street Art with the graffiti on many house and façades, probably due to the many young inhabitants, had aroused our keen interest.

The university, which exists since 1919, has probably not been without influence on the development of the city, so the student's youthfulness influence can hardly be concealed. Even after the first few meters of walking, we were surprised by the large number of graffiti and even more about the number of bicycles.

After first talks, we learned that bicycle traffic was that much significant, especially in the summer, that it had to be heavily regulated by traffic planning already. There were even bicycles prohibited on some important traffic-rich streets. On some sections, the prohibition was repealed in the meantime, mostly in connection with the construction of additional cycle paths, including the southern part of the Slovenska cesta in 2016, a main traffic lane in Ljubljana.

The bike rental system BicikeLJ had already been introduced in 2012. Who is registered in the city map Urbana can use one of the offered bikes in the system for up to max. 60 min absolutely free of charge. Since 2013, numerous roads, where bicycles have previously been banned, have now been blocked for individual car travel and are only accessible by bus or bicycles or can be used on foot. In 2015, Ljubljana was named as a bicycle-friendly city for the first time by the transport planning Copenhagenize Design Company. This information is important for bicycle enthusiasts, who always have their vehicles on the campers and want to achieve their goals by cycling as much as possible.

South of the Šentjakobski most (St. Jacob bridge between the streets Zoisova cesta and Karlovška cesta) on the western river side the Ljubljanica terraces lies a popular meeting point at the weekend. The market around the cathedral is particularly interesting, especially on Saturdays full of life. Also worthy to note are the fish market stalls hidden under the colonnades and a special area in the building opposite the colonnades. On Saturdays there is an art-market between the three bridges and Čevljarski most (the Schuster Bridge). Ljubljana also has an impressive railway museum with an extensive collection of historical steam locomotives, an interesting destination on a rainy day.

Metelkova is an internationally-renowned alternative culture community in the centre of Slovenia's capital, that often draws comparisons to Copenhagen's Kristiania. A self-declared 'Autonomous Culture Zone,' Metelkova Mesto occupies the former 'Fourth of July' military barracks originally commissioned by the Austro-Hungarian army back in 1882 and completed in 1911. The space consists of seven buildings and 12,500m2 - making it a sort of city within a city - comprising a former prison (now Celica Hostel), several clubs, live music spaces, art galleries and artist studios. Dedicated to organising social and cultural activities for the public, Metelkova has a nonstop events schedule and is arguably the best after-dark destination in Ljubljana for those looking to experience something wholly unique and unpredictable.

Since it was first created in 1993, Metelkova has consistently been the object of political jockeying, with the long-term status and survival of the community uncertain. Constantly threatened by the lure of commercial development, neo-conservative politicians and internal problems within the 'autonomous zone,' Metelkova has endured simply through the creativity, imagination, energy and determination of the many individuals who have fought to maintain the autonomy and diversity of community, often through physical, yet non-violent, resistance. The community's greatest defense has been the tireless virtue of the events, festivals, and clubs it organises. For years Metelkova hosted the only Women's Centre in Slovenia and is still today the only place in the country with community-run clubs for disabled people, gays and lesbians. Numerous campaigns against racism, domestic and institutional abuse have been organised and operated out of Metelkova. Ljubljana's only gay (Klub Tiffany) and lesbian (Klub Monokel) clubs are in Metelkova, which is also one of the few places in Slovenia to offer ethnic, sexual and other minorities the chance to socialise openly in a community. Many artists have their studios in Metelkova and the space's clubs play host to all range of music from hardcore to jazz to dub to techno. Celica Hostel is one of the most unique and consistently well-ranked hostels in Europe, and Metelkova's Alkatraz Gallery has one of the most diverse and creative contemporary art collections in former Yugoslavia.

For the casual visitor to Ljubljana, Metelkova is a great place to meet people and immediately get your finger on the underground pulse of Ljubljana. Remarkable simply for its existence, Metelkova is a refreshing break from the overwhelmingly homogeneous, clean and prim European atmosphere of Slovenia's capital; perhaps the only space that feels truly 'urban' in the city. During the day, Metelkova may seem a bit sleepy and surreal, but nonetheless has plenty of creativity on display visually. At night it becomes the most reliable place to find a party, with the-devil-knows-what happening in its over seven clubs and all over its common spaces. The best way to find out is to turn up. The 'Autonomous Culture Zone' welcomes guests and is at night a cheap place to have a good time under uncertain circumstances. Don't miss it, and importantly - don't fail to support this communal, creative space, if only with the strength of your energy and presence.

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Ljubljana - first impressions and historical background

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