When in Ljubljana the other weekend, among the many surprising things I discovered about the city was the fact that the city is home to more than a few abandoned spaces and plenty of street art and graffiti. The Metelkova district, a former army barracks and art squat, has been a popular destination for street artists since it was taken over by artists in the ’90s. These days, Metelkova is home to Ljubljana’s most unique hostel (a former prison!) and the city’s best nightlife—and still plenty of squatters and artists in the mix, too.
Another popular place in Ljubljana where you can find not just street art, but other art events and creative undertakings, is at the former bike factory Rog. The former factory once produced Yugoslavia’s most popular bicycle, the Rog “pony.” Since 2006, the factory has been turned into a public art space and cultural center. The center isn’t in the best condition, though, as it’s still very much an abandoned space. So exploring this area should be done with caution (as a sign at the entrance rather ominously points out).
All-in-all, Ljubljana’s surprisingly cool atmosphere comes not from the countless street art, but the creative ambiance that seems to permeate everything that happens in the city. Even the city’s public parks put on seemingly underground special events. Park Tabor, not far from Metelkova, even had a chalk-written sign listing the various events that would be happening there over the course of the week. While I wasn’t able to make it to any of the public events in Park Tabor, the idea that they’re advertising on the side of an electrical box with chalk, just made me feel the city was all the more “underground.”
Walking through the city and exploring the little streets, you can’t help but feel that there’s a creative energy in Ljubljana. Maybe it’s that history with the dragons. Or its long history and relatively recent independence. Or maybe it’s just because this city is oh-so-cool. Ljubljana is not just charming — there’s a definite oomph to the city. The people are friendly (oh-so-friendly!), the beer is sweet, the food is tasty and the street art is quirky. Ljubljana has its very own special style.
Where to Find Street Art in Ljubljana
Want to know where to find some of Ljubljana’s street art? Besides wandering aimlessly by bike or on foot, make sure you hit up these three places:
- Metelkova — Former army barracks, now a cultural center and nightlife hotspot
- Rog — Former bicycle factory, now cultural center with regular events (check their calendar)
- Trubarjeva Cesta — This shopping street and the little alleyways on either side of it are full of cool shops, great cheap restaurants and lots of graffiti
32 Photos of Ljubljana’s Street Art
From typical spray-painted words, to colorful murals and quirky paste-ups, Ljubljana’s street art provides a peek into the creative vibe of the city. Check it out yourself below: