Ljubljana, the unknown capital

Slovenia gained independence in 1991, but its capital, Ljubljana, remains a mystery to most. In some ways, the city is reminiscent of Amsterdam – the peace and quiet, the canals, the cyclists – but it's also like a miniature Prague, with elegant buildings lining the banks of the River Ljubljanica, and examples of Central European modernism sitting comfortably alongside classical architecture. You might compare Ljubljana to the cultured Austrian cities of Graz and Salzburg, or perhaps its youthful atmosphere will remind you of one of the many European university cities. The truth is that this boutique capital city is a small gem where life runs a peaceful course among fine monuments – note the castle and the medieval churches – elegant bridges linking the two river banks, sheltered squares and small streets that are home to pleasant cafes, bars and neat shops.

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