: Turjaška 1 1000 LjubljanaPhone
: ++386 1 200 11 00Fax
: ++386 1 425 72 93e-mail
The National and University Library is an exceptional piece of Plečnik's architecture, shaped by the block of Vegova, Gosposka and Turjaška Streets. The library was built between 1936-1941 according to plans by Jože Plečnik drawn in 1930-1931. The location was selected at the edge of the medieval town core, at the place of the former Prince's Manor (Knežji dvorec). Plečnik clothed the four and more storey ashlar building in symbolic facades decorated with red bricks and limestone from Podpeč. The hard membrane is softened by the two glass walls of the great reading room, accentuated by two columns with unusual volute capitals in the middle of the windows. The side entrance is decorated with a statue of Moses by Dolinar with portrait features of the painter Jakopič. On the terrace with benches between Vegova Street and the library, statues of Slavicist scholars stand in a line, and at the end of the terrace is a monument dedicated to the poet Simon Gregorčič (sculptor Zdenko Kalin). The portal and the floor plan of the four surrounding wings with a ceremonial staircase at the core are of especially refined design.
A dark stone staircase with a colonnade rises in the peristyle landing and in the strongly illuminated, warm reading room covered in wood. All the accent materials are domestic. The smooth columns of black or grey stone from Podpeč stand out. The exhibition hall above the main entrance is richly furnished, and in front of it is an entrance decorated with a stone curtain, designed according to Semper's principles of clothed constructions. Above the staircase a Royal statue of Primož Trubar used to stand for a long time. The library was damaged in 1944 when a German mail plane fell on it. It killed a visitor and 60,000 books were lost in the fire. By 1948 the building had been repaired. After 1995 the interior along with the basement areas was thoroughly redone and it was statically reinforced in its entirety. The library is open for regular visitors. Tourist visits must be announced in advance.