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Ave, Emona! 2000 years of Roman Ljubljana

Ljubljana feels Slovenia and Ancient Rome! This year will be a celebration year for the Slovenian capital, with the climax set for the middle of the summer. Ljubljana celebrates exactly 2000 years since it was placed onto the map of the 60-million empire as a Roman colony. In 14 AD, there was already a town on the left bank of the Ljubljanica river. "Salvete, grati nobis Emonam venitis - Hello and welcome to Emona!" is how visitors were greeted upon arriving at one of the entrances to Julia Emona 2000 years ago. Several institutions have united for the big 2000th anniversary of Emona, including Ljubljana Tourism, City Museum of Ljubljana, Ljubljana Castle, Jakopič Gallery, and the National Museum of Slovenia. They have prepared a wide range of events and exhibits associated to this honourable and round anniversary.

The latest archaeological excavations have resulted in many new discoveries about the ancient predecessor of Ljubljana. At the City Museum you can visit the exhibit Emona: A City of the Empire, getting a glimpse into the lives of the Romans. These Romans later planned the Slovenian capital along a navigable river with a port, constructed in 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.

Ljubljana Tourism is offering a unique experience of Roman Emona, with walks through ancient Ljubljana. Following the footsteps of Emona you can walk with a legionnaire and an Emonienne, adorned in their tunics: past the gilded statue of the Citizen of Emona in Park Zvezda to the remains of mosaics near today`s Cankarjev dom, and continue along the paths of Roman Emona in Trnovo. From 22 to 24 August 2014, Kongresni trg will transform into a Roman forum. At the Ave, Emona! event, there will be a lot of proud Emona citizens, who will be enjoying themselves in each other’s` company. There will even be a proper Roman tavern. The Barjanka is already navigating the waters of the Ljubljanica river. Its crew is dressed in Roman clothing. During the trip, a piece of libum bread and mulsum wine is given to the visitors. This bread was offered by the Romans to the gods, while mulsum was white wine with honey, pepper, saffron, and orange peel. It could be said that Romans quite literally brought bread and wine to this region: with urbanisation, architecture, culture, values, politics, and law.

The National Museum has organized a number of events to celebrate Emona`s birthday. Starting on 1 July, visitors will be able to view an exhibit of archaeological findings entitled Roman Stories from the Meeting Point of Different Worlds. From among more than 1,000 objects on display, the imperial building inscription from 14 AD will have a special place, as it was the inspiration for the Emona 2000 project. It will also show the original position of the gilded bronze statue of the Citizen of Emona. In the time of Trajan, the statue was part of an exquisite funerary monument, which was apparently inspired by the Trajan column in Rome.

The cooperation of the major museums with National Geographic Slovenia also produced the Emonian inspired 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. It was titled 2000 Years of Emona, and its cover is decorated by the statue of the Citizen of Emona, which is the poster child of Ljubljana`s celebration of Emona 2000.

Roman Emona was the first urban ancestor of today`s Ljubljana, which is also special due to the Roman heritage which still exists in the middle of the city, in its original location. Ljubljana`s citizens still live and work overlooking the Roman architectural innovation. In September, Jakopič Promenade in Tivoli Park will house first exhibition of selected photos from the winners of the photo competition Remains of the City + Photo Emona, which was held by the Museum and the galleries around Ljubljana in collaboration with organizers of the Month of Photography.



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