Dungeons and Dragons: Inside the Ljubljana Castle

Domineering as a mediaeval ruler, a quintagonal fortress looms over the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Simply called “Ljubljana Castle,” it is an array of stone buildings gleaming white on top of a hill, surrounded by a thick nest of trees. What used to be the home to the Dukes of Spanheim, stewards of Carinthia (a land in northern Slovenia and southern Austria), Ljubljana Castle is now a tourist favourite.

Ljubljana Castle has been destroyed and rebuilt many times since it was erected in the 9th century. It served as an arsenal, military hospital, and prison, as well as a defence against peasant uprisings and Turkish attacks. Inside is the Chapel of St. George, done in a mix of Baroque and Gothic styles, and with the coat-of-arms of the leaders of Carniola, a mountainous region in Slovenia. From Razgledni Stolp, or Outlook Tower, a guard would fire cannons to warn about fires or announce special guests and occasions. A 2000-year-old Roman well, probably a remnant from when Ljubljana was under Roman control, is another item of interest.

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Modern additions have been made to this landmark. An exhibit of Slovene handicrafts can be seen and gifts purchased at Galerija Rustika. Panjska koncnica, paintings of folklore on panels made of beehives, is something to bring home from a Slovenia holiday. Visitors can watch a 3D documentary about the castle’s history in the Virtual Museum. Tours are a common way to enjoy Ljubljana Castle, but it is also the venue of concerts, plays, and film showings especially in summer. The annual Mediaeval Day on the 3rd of September is not to be missed, featuring dancers, swordsmen, and Renaissance musicians. Dragon’s Days is an event for the family, with green cookies and drinks, as well as tales about the monster from the marsh… the city’s symbol, the Ljubljana Dragon.

The castle is open daily, free of charge. Take the Ljubljana Castle funicular from Krekov trg to get there.

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