Ljubljana feels Slovenia and ancient Rome! This year, the Slovenian capital celebrates 2000 years of Emona: 2000 years since the Roman colony was founded on the left bank of the Ljubljanica river. "Salvete, grati nobis Emonam venitis - Be greeted, you who have come to visit us here in Emona!" is how you would be greeted upon arriving at one of the entrances to Julia Emona 2000 years ago.
In cooperation with the City Museum of Ljubljana, the Ljubljana Castle and the National Museum of Slovenia, the Ljubljana Tourism prepared a wide range of events, exhibitions and workshops to celebrate this round anniversary of Emona.
The main event "Ave, Emona!" is set to be held between 22 and 24 August at the Kongresni trg square, which will recreate the atmosphere of Roman times. At the main event Ave, Emona!, you will be able to celebrate together with proud Emonans and Roman legionaries. Historical societies from abroad will also present themselves and perform different Roman activities and rituals together with their colleagues from Slovenia. We could say that the Romans brought bread and wine to this land: by urbanisation, architecture, culture, values, politics and law. Here you can watch a video on how the Emonans used to live.
The latest archaeological excavations have resulted in many new discoveries about the ancient predecessor of Ljubljana. At the City Museum of Ljubljana, you can visit the exhibit Emona: A City of the Empire and have a glimpse into the daily life of the Romans. These Romans planned the Slovenian capital to be built along a navigable river with a port in a typical grid-like fashion. They built an unusually strong fortress for the time, which shows the important role Emona played, as it was a trade hub that was very well connected with Rome and many other cities.
The Ljubljana Tourism is offering visitors a unique experience of Roman Emona by taking a walk through ancient Ljubljana. In the company of a legionary and an Emonan girl, adorned in her tunic, you can take a tour through ancient Emona: past the gilded statue of a citizen of Emona in Park Zvezda, to the remains of mosaics in vicinity of today`s Cankarjev dom, and along Roman Emona in Trnovo.
The ties with the ancient Rome also came to life in the Tivoli park. From 1 September, you can take a walk along the Jakopič Promenade and enjoy the exhibition of photographs from different archaeological sites from Slovenia and Croatia all the way to Egypt. Interesting are also the photographs from the photographic contest "The remains of a city + Photo Emona" under the patronage of the City Museum of Ljubljana, the City Art Gallery and the Photon Gallery. At this contest, which focuses on Ljubljana, the successor of Roman Emona, photographers try to portray the coexistence of the past with the present. Continue your tour to Krakovo Embankment, where you can visit the exhibition Photo Emona.
The National Museum is also preparing various events to celebrate Emona`s birthday. Visitors will be able to view the exhibition of archaeological findings entitled Roman Stories from the Crossroads. From among more than 1,000 objects on exhibition, the imperial building inscription from the 14th century will have a special place, as it was the inspiration for the Emona 2000 project. The original position of the gilded bronze statue of a citizen of Emona will also be reconstructed. The statue is from the time of Emperor Trajan, and was part of a sepulchral monument obviously modelled on Trajan`s Column in Rome.
At the Ljubljana Castle the exhibition Urban Development of Ljubljana has been prepared, portraying the urban development of the city from the Roman times to the present day. At the Cankarjev dom, you can visit the exhibition of archaeological finds discovered in the area of the Croatian town of Varaždinske Toplice Aqua Lasae. You can also enjoy the exhibition of a famous photographer Josef Koudelka (1991 – 2012) at the Jakopič Gallery entitled Vestiges, depicting the ancient monuments of the Mediterranean region.
The collaboration of the principle museums with National Geographic Slovenija also gave rise to the Emona-themed May issue of the international magazine. National Geographic first wrote about Emona in 2010. That article focused on the extensive archaeological excavations in the centre of Ljubljana. This May, the article "2000 Years of Emona" was written, and its cover was decorated by the Emonec statue, which is the poster child of Ljubljana`s celebration of Emona 2000.