A medieval town

Ljubljana Old Town in all its medieval glory …

This kite aerial view of Stari (Old), Gornji (Upper) and Levstik Squares, and Rožna (Flower) street encompasses the heart of Ljubljana’s Old Town, the centre of the medieval settlement that begun in around year 1000, was first mentioned in Nomina defunctorum parchment between 1112 and 1125 (VII. kalendis Decembris Rodulfus advocatus obiit, qui XX mansos iuxta castrum Leibach canonicis dedit), and was granted market rights in 1200 …

Reber – ‘The Rib’ – street leads from Upper Square steeply up the Castle hill.

Built in a rather safe place between Ljubljanica river and Castle hill across the river from the ruins of Roman Aemona, Ljubljana and the Castle above it soon became a bustling little medieval market town.

The other two principal parts of medieval Ljubljana are just visible to the right – the Town Square (Mestni trg, ‘Mesto’) and New Square (Novi trg), connected by Cobbler’s bridge.

In times of Sponheim lords Ljubljana was walled and divided into three parts; Mesto (‘Town’) with the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the Town Hall and the Commune; Novi (New) Square across the river, and Old Square (‘Old Market’, for market rights were fist granted to this part of Ljubljana).

A maze of red roofs …

Most of the extant houses are from 16th century and later, for in 1511 the great Idija earthquake destroyed more or less everything, so the medieval Old Town has a distinctive Baroque character.

St Florian church on Upper Square. Ljubljana was prone to fires, and St. Florian was often invoked to help the firefighters.

With the centuries passing Ljubljana flourished; it soon overgrew its walls and spread into the suburbs, then another earthquake in 1895 presented an opportunity to rebuild parts of it in Vienna Secession, Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.

The spire of St. James’ church is the tallest in Ljubljana – a whooping 65 meters!

After World War II Ljubljana expanded even further, quickly reaching 250.000 inhabitants. The commerce and city life moved to more ‘modern’ parts, and the Old Town was neglected, left to its own devices, slowly crumbling away.

Old Square rom Hecules’ fountain to Cobblers’ bridge.

But then tourism and an improved attitude towards history came to the rescue; the houses were renovated, reastaurants, cafes and bars opened, and today the Old Town is the centre of city life again – with hordes of tourists clicking away. It is a small, charming, beautiful place – just grab a chair, order a coffee, and breathe the spirit of centuries past …

All kite aerial photos shot in tricky conditions with Canon A810 on a Rokkaku kite. The kite was launched from a narrow space between trees and in moderate turbulence on the Castle hill:

Kite launch site. Google Street View, 360° photo by Lasha Tsikarishvili.

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