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Ljubljana Through the History

Ljubljana's geographical position has governed its colourful past. A brisk migration of nations flowed through the Ljubljana gateway, part of the natural entrance from Central Europe to the Mediterranean, the Balkans and on towards the East. So it is not surprising that settlements of pile dwellers, and later Illyrians and Celts, grew up in this region more than 5000 years ago.

At the time of Roman hegemony, from the 1st to 6th centuries AD, the capital of contemporary Slovenia was called Emona.

Ljubljana is first mentioned in written sources from 1144, its historical rise beginning in the 13th century when it became the Capital of the Province of Carniola. In 1335 it came under Hapsburg rule.

From the end of the Middle Ages onwards the town gradually assumed the role of the Slovenian cultural capital. Slovenian Protestantism, as the most powerful social movement of the 16th century, was a major influence in this. Ljubljana was then the meeting-place of the nationally conscious. Primoz Trubar, who gave the Slovenians their first book in 1550, worked here end many years later, France Preseren and Ivan Cankar, two important figures in the struggle for the cultural and political freedom of the Slovenian nation produced their works here.

Ljubljana had an important role in Napoleonic times, even being the Capital of the entire Illyrian province between 1809 and 1813.

The building of the Vienna-Trieste Railway, linking Ljubljana with the world was decisive in the further development and organization of the town.

Ljubljana has twice experienced earthquakes: the first in 1511 and the second in 1895, when almost the whole town was destroyed in the natural catastrophe. Reconstruction gave Ljubljana its new contemporary image.

World War I brought the break with the Hapsburg dynasty. Austro-Hungary disintegrated and Slovenia and its capital joined the new state, the Kingdom of the Serb, Croats and Slovenians.

After World War II Ljubljana became the capital of Slovenia, one of the six republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Ljubljana is today the capital city of the independent state of Slovenia, the heart of the political, economic, cultural and scientific life of the Slovenian nation.

The rich cultural life of Ljubljana undoubtedly has its roots in its permanent links with the world, in all that it has accepted from it and given to it in its integration in European and world culture.

Adapted by Mark Martinec from the: Ljubljana, the Capital of Slovenia -- points of interest, published by Ljubljana Promotion Centre, October 1993.

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