Taken over by squatters, artists, and dissidents after Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Metelkova is a scruffy self-governing alternate reality in the heart of the capital. Street art, mosaics, macabre sculptures, and layers of concert posters cover the walls of the decommissioned army barracks.
Explore Metelkova as part of a walking tour that suits your interest. Some focus on the history of Slovenia’s socialist past, while others highlight the city’s vibrant subcultures. Or join a guided cycling tour, pedalling alongside the Ljubljanica River and over its picturesque bridges to landmarks such as Tivoli Park and Botanic Gardens.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Metelkova appeals to lovers of nightlife and alternative culture.
- Abide by Metelkova’s strict code of conduct, which includes zero tolerance for racism, homophobia, sexism, and harassment of any kind.
- Visit Hostel Celica, a guesthouse built inside a former military prison on the grounds.
- Enjoy avant-garde art and photography at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova.
- Ljubljana is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with special cycling lanes and car-free streets.
How to Get There
Metelkova is about the size of one city block, hemmed in by Metelkova ulica, north of the Ljubljanica River. The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (MSUM) is steps from Hostel Celica. If taking public transport, take bus line 2, 9, 12, 25, or 27 to the Friškovec stop, directly in front of Gala Hala nightclub inside Metelkova.
When to Get There
Metelkova is open 24/7. Weekends are the most lively, as kids from all over Europe descend upon the center to soak up the raucous nightlife and sift through the flea market offerings. The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova is open Tuesdays through Sundays.
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova The huge drawing that Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi created for the museum’s entrance, titled In 1990 We Spoke about Freedom, Now We Speak about Money, sets the tone for the museum’s focus. Among the progressive, politically-minded artworks is Arteast 2000+, the world’s oldest collection of Eastern European avant-garde art from the 1960s to the present, with works from Miroslaw Balka, Tomislav Gotovac, and Marina Abramovic, among others.
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- Dragon Bridge
- Butchers' Bridge (Mesarski Most)
- Ljubljana Cathedral (Church of St. Nicholas)
- Ljubljana Castle Funicular
- Preseren Square (Presernov Trg)
- Triple Bridge (Tromostovje)
- Ljubljana Old Town
- Ljubljanica River
- Ljubljana Town Hall (Magistrat)
- Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski Grad)
- Congress Square (Kongresni Trg)
- Cobblers' Bridge (Cevljarski Most)
- Museum of Illusions
- National and University Library of Slovenia (Arodna in Univerzitetna Knjiznica)
- Krizanke Summer Theatre (Poletno Gledalisce Krizanke)