There are many castles in Slovenia but the most popular is the City castle in Ljubljana. It is a beautiful place to visit for tourists and those of us who live here. It is worth the visit just to see the view, since it is located at the heart of the city. You can walk there if you want to or you can take the funicular up to the top. While the outside of the castle shows a bit of its age, the inside of the castle has been renovated. Inside you find many things to look at. There are modern galleries, exhibits, a restaurant, a gift shop, and a café. It is also a cultural arts venue!
It is not a far walk if you are in the city but there is also a funicular that will take you up. They think the castle was originally built in the 1160s. But it was mostly torn down and rebuilt in the 15th century with towers and a wall – it needed more protection against enemies like the Ottomans. At several points, it was a military barracks and sometimes a prison. Oddly, the mayor had the city buy the castle in 1905 and wanted it turned into a city museum. Instead, it ended up becoming a home for the poor for over 50 years before renovations transformed the castle into a beautiful location for cultural events and as a tourist destination.
There are beautiful gardens. There is a nature trail starting over by the University Botanic Gardens that leads you to the castle, and you can walk it as part of a guided tour. Speaking of tours, they have them every day. This makes it easy for people to plan a visit. You can also do an audio guide. There is even an app. One tour is known as the Time Machine and you can experience life as it would have been during different times at the castle, including period costumes on characters to help you understand. I liked it very much, especially the actors who played the king and queen.
There was a history of Slovenia exhibit and I did skip that one. There was also a puppet museum. We did not stay to see it but there was a performance later in the day for those who are interested. You can also watch a movie about the castle’s history, but we liked the tour better. It had a lot of the same information. We checked out the jail and the National Geographic exhibit, which was also very good. The signs were a little hard to find and follow but my friend and I managed OK. Sometimes there is music, too. There is a castle jazz club. We got to hear them perform and thought they sounded wonderful. The best place to go is the tower, though. You get a beautiful view of the area – even the Alps in the distance. It is very romantic to watch the sunset there.
Some people might find it a little too modern and not enough like a “real” castle, but we have several other castles in the city to visit!