Let’s learn about Slovenia #2 – Ljubljana
Ljubljana ( also known by other, historical names ) is the capital and largest city of Slovenia.
It has been the cultural, educational, economic, political, and administrative center of independent Slovenia since 1991.
Its central geographic location within Slovenia, transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions, and cultural tradition are contributing factors to its leading position.
During antiquity, a Roman city called Emona stood in the area.Ljubljana itself was first mentioned in the first half of the 12th century. It was under Habsburg rule from the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. Situated at the middle of a trade route between the northern Adriatic Sea and the Danube region, it was the historical capital of Carniola,a Slovene-inhabited part of the Habsburg Monarchy.
The symbol of the city is the Ljubljana Dragon.
It is depicted on the top of the tower of Ljubljana Castle in the Ljubljana coat of arms and on the Ljubljanica-crossing Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most). It symbolizes power, courage, and greatness.
There are several explanations on the origin of the Ljubljana Dragon. According to a Slavic myth, the slaying of a dragon releases the waters and ensures the fertility of the earth, and it is thought that the myth is tied to the Ljubljana Marshes, the expansive marshy area that periodically threatens Ljubljana with flooding.
According to the celebrated Greek legend, the Argonauts on their return home after having taken the Golden Fleece found a large lake surrounded by a marsh between the present-day towns of Vrhnika and Ljubljana. It was there that Jason struck down a monster. This monster has evolved into the dragon that today is present in the city coat of arms and flag.
It is historically more believable that the dragon was adopted from Saint George, the patron of the Ljubljana Castle chapel built in the 15th century. In the legend of Saint George, the dragon represents the old ancestral paganism overcome by Christianity. According to another explanation, related to the second, the dragon was at first only a decoration above the city coat of arms. In the Baroque, it became part of the coat of arms, and in the 19th and especially the 20th century, it outstripped the tower and other elements in importance.