Metelkova Art Center, Slovenia. Ljubljana with kids
We arrived in Ljubljana in the evening. The capital of Slovenia was one of the stops on our second Balkan trip that we made with our two daughters, ages 3.5 and 4 months. Having such small kids on board, we planned the trip so that the driving will not take too long for them. Thanks to this, we could stop for 1-2 days in different places. One of them was Ljubljana. And although many will probably start their sightseeing with the famous dragons, the castle, or the Old Town ,we took our girls to the place that crossed the border between reality and imagination – the art district Metelkova filled with street art, graffiti, and art installations.
Art district or art center sounds very official and doesn’t really capture the magic of this place, which is exploding with creativity and weirdness. This place is a mecca for local artists and eccentrics. Be prepared to see here and there used syringes. The thing I remember the most, is when one of the artists/eccentrics from the community took out a snake from his handbag and acted so normal as he was simply taking out his mobile phone. I felt like landing in Alice in Wonderland, while my older daughter asked: “Mom, why is this man carrying a snake in his purse?” Such questions you will be getting on your Balkan trips 😀 Still, don’t think the site is some kind of dangerous spot filled with local junkies, coz it’s not true. It is famous among tourist and the city makes sure that the place keeps its status of a cultural hub.
History of Metelkova.
Metelkova’s full name is Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Centre (in Slovenian: Avtonomni kulturni centre Metelkova mesto). Formerly the site were military headquarters (first of Army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, later of the Yugoslav National Army). The name of the district as well as the street comes from Fran Metelko, a Slovenian priest and philologist. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Ljubljana alternative and youth organizations got the permission to use barracks for creative purposes and were granted some kind of independence in decision making.
Tips for parents travelling with kids:
- If you remember my digression about used syringes and snakes in purses, you might ask yourself a question: is this area at all appropriate and safe to visit with kids? I would say „yes”. Of course, I wouldn’t let my kids play or crawl there unattended, but we felt totally relaxed and safe there.
2. After checking out the sights, which was fun not just for us, but our daughters as well, we went to one of the cafes in the building on the left site close to the entrance. There is nothing shabby about cafes in Metelkova, they are modern, clean, and stylish.
You are probably asking what Zosia is drinking on this picture. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Cockta – the famous Yugoslavian drink that originated in Slovenia. When in Yugoslavia people could not get Coca-Cola and other soft drinks from abroad, the chemical engineer Emerik Zelinka created a new drink with a unique taste. A mixture of eleven different herbs and spices, and our love at first sight 🙂 The first thing we actually do after crossing a border to any Balkan country, we ask about Cockta. So, if you’ve never drunk Cockta, don’t tell us you’ve been to Balkans, coz we won’t believe you 😉
Find out more about Balkans here:Feel free to share: