Following the trail of contemporary architectural masterpieces
The image of Slovenian towns and cities has been shaped by various eras, starting as far back as ancient times. In modern history two creators were particularly outstanding. These are Maks Fabiani, personal adviser to Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand and Otto Wagner's colleague, and Jože Plečnik, who worked in Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana. Take a walk among the masterpieces of the great Slovenian architects and contemporary architectural achievements worth seeing.
The great names of Slovenian architecture
Learn about the renowned people of Slovenian architectural history, who left a significant mark not only on Slovenian but also some European cities.
Contemporary architectural sights
The most important Slovenian architect, with his own unique language based in classicism, created many masterpieces, the majority of which are in Ljubljana. He also worked outside Slovenia’s borders. In Vienna he created the city's first church made of reinforced concrete and in Prague he led the extensive renovations of the Prague Castle.More
This Slovenian architectural genius was also a personal adviser to the Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand in Vienna. In Ljubljana, Prešernov trg is one of the works bearing his signature. His most romantic works include the renovation of the picturesque town of Štanjel, its castle and the Ferrari Villa, and the design of the Ferrari garden.More
He is considered to be the principal Slovenian architect of the 20th century. He absorbed the locally flavoured classicism and brutalism from his teachers and mixed them with elements of folk and of Scandinavian and Japanese culture. His opus includes Trg Republike in Ljubljana, Cankarjev Dom, the design for Moderna Galerija, and the urban plans for the newly-formed town of Nova Gorica.More
Architectural achievements of the time
At the time of their construction some of the Slovenian buildings were considered outstanding not only in Slovenia but in the global context. Although they might not cause such strong reactions as they used to, they still draw attention with their stories and content.
One of the greatest architectural icons and symbols of progress in the Slovenian capital was built in 1933. Its height of 70 metres made it the tallest building in Central Europe and it remained such for a long time. Its architect, Vladimir Šubic, introduced such technical innovations, residential standards, and other ideas that Nebotičnik was also considered to be one of the greatest architectural projects in both Europe and the USA. Go up to its top floors and visit a restaurant, bar, and terrace, where you will experience an unforgettable view of Ljubljana and its surroundings.
Art Nouveau in Ljubljana
Explore the Slovenian treasury of Art Nouveau buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. Most of them are in the city centre, near the Three Bridges and Prešeren Square. Here, you can find the narrow, painted Hauptman House and the incredible Urbanc House, which was the first department store in Ljubljana If you walk down Miklošičeva Street, you can discover more gems, such as the Grand Hotel Union and the Cooperative Economic Bank at number eight. The latter is an exceptional example of the Slovenian response to late Art Nouveau and is the work of Ivan and Helena Vurnik. In your quest for architectural gems, make sure not to overlook the Dragon Bridge built in 1901, which started a new, very aesthetic style.
Velenje – a socialist miracle
Although the area around present-day Velenje was first mentioned as early as in the 13th century, the town started to really prosper in the 1950s. After World War II and the development of coalmining in Šalek Valley, a new modern town was built through voluntary work actions, a town that the former Yugoslav leader Tito declared a "socialist miracle". Today, Velenje is the fifth-largest town in Slovenia. Its original architectural and urban concept is complemented by contemporary architectural achievements.
Nova Gorica – the town of youth
Nova Gorica is also one of the youngest Slovenian towns. It was formed after World War II as a new centre at the meeting point of Goriška, Posočje and Vipava Valley. Architect Edvard Ravnikar played an important role in the new town’s formation by designing its urban development concept. During the fast growth of the town, which was constructed with the participation of youth work brigades from all over Yugoslavia, Ravnikar's ideas were modified several times, but the elements of the original concept can still be seen today.
Discover some special features of contemporary architecture
In recent decades architecture in Slovenia has been marked by certain structures that attract attention because of their shape and by the establishment of architectural bureaus staffed by younger generations. Discover some of the interesting modern structures that have attractive content as well as the exterior.
Contemporary architectural sights
Open Houses of Slovenia
The achievements of Slovenian modern architecture can also be studied virtually. An extensive online library with attractive photographs shows about 400 buildings with a special emphasis on sustainable construction. Open Houses, which are a part of the international Open House Worldwide network, organise the OHS Festival, within which they enable a personal experience between operators and users in one hundred selected buildings around Slovenia. Any time during the year, you can turn to them to get a personalised tour of Slovenian architecture.
Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO)
This museum for architecture, urban planning, and industrial and graphic design houses over 100,000 different items. Its collection displays works by about one thousand prominent Slovenian designers from the 20th and the 21st centuries, and you can also find products made by designers such as Ron Arad and Konstantin Grcic. The Museum regularly organises interesting themed exhibitions, and when you visit, don’t miss the shop, which offers products by Slovenian designers. It is housed in the wonderful Renaissance Fužine Castle, surrounded by a park and the River Ljubljanica.
On the path of the past and the future
Combine tours of architectural attractions with tasting culinary masterpieces, enjoying a classical concert, or seeing an exhibition and enjoying a wellness treatment.