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Ave, Emona! Two thousand years of Roman Ljubljana

"Salvete, grati nobis Emonam venitis" - Hello and welcome to Emona!

The Slovenian capital has entered the year of big celebration. Ljubljana is celebrating 2000 years since as Emona it became a part of the old Roman Empire, which at that time had more than 60 million inhabitants. Ljubljana inhabitants are proud of the preserved stone-engraved writing from the year 14. This is evidence that exactly 2000 years ago, Emona was already here and that Caesar Augustus and Tiberius gave a large donation, probably for the wall. Roman Emona was the first urban predecessor of the current Ljubljana, which is special due to the fact that its Roman heritage still remains in the centre of the town in its initial environment. In a place from where Augustus approached the Balkans, where Roman soldiers began to build and where North-Italian families began to colonise Emona.

The people of Ljubljana still work and live with the sights of Roman construction innovations. When their Roman predecessors embraced the great Caesar Theodosius, there was song and dance everywhere. The throb of Ljubljana is nowadays very different, but still lively and friendly to visitors. The city of Ljubljana has prepared three exhibitions and many other events for the anniversary.

Ljubljana has been excited about its antique past for centuries. In the 17th century, when the town was dressed in a baroque disguise, the city planners were inspired by antique sources. They found inspiration in Jason and the Argonauts who supposedly beat a dragon and established the Slovenian capital.

The long-lasting archaeological efforts that started in the 19th century began to unravel the old Roman mysteries of Ljubljana. In the beginning of the 20th century, the most famous Ljubljana architect Plečnik renovated and upgraded the Roman remains in a highly interesting manner. Strong shifts were also seen in the last decades and years. A solid year ago Ljubljana received the prestigious gubbio architectural award for renovated archaeological parks, the Roman wall, Emona house and Early Christianity Centre as well as for the iEmona information pointin Congress Square. The circular Emona path also came to life, where you can dress in togas with a guide day or at night with torches to discover the lives of Romans.

From 22 to 24 August 2014, the Congress Square will come to life as in Roman times. The proud inhabitants of Emona, who will enjoy the festivities and socialize, will be present at the Ave, Emona! event. There will even be a true Roman Inn. Would you like to know how the people of Emona lived and how they spiced up their lives? In the kitchen they mostly used garum or salty sauce on the basis of fish or grape juice. They also loved to add lots of honey and pepper to their dishes.

By establishing Emona, old Romans brought to the former military camp leaned against Ljubljana hill, »honey and pepper« of life – urbanisation, architecture, culture, values, politics and law. Emona, which had from 4000 to 6000 inhabitants, was an important link in the Roman defence chain of towns, especially due to its position at a favourable crossing from the Italian peninsula to the Upper Danube region. As part of the old amber route, it was also busy with Roman trade until the 5th century.

Head out to discover the Roman roots of Ljubljana 2000 years later. The museum and galleries of the town of Ljubljana have, to honour Emona, prepared an archaeological exhibition entitled Emona – the town in the empire, which will open in May 2014, while the National Museum of Slovenia will open an exhibition in May that will reveal the importance of Romans to the wider area of Slovenia. Ave, Ljubljana!



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