Ljubljana was the capital of the Austro Hungarian Province of Carniola at the end of the 19th century having less than 30000 inhabitants and being very rural in appearance. The turning point was the devastating earthquake which struck the town in 1895. Immediately after that the regulation plan was prepared with the help of two top experts in urban planning of the time in Vienna, Camillo Sitte and Maks Fabiani. The image of Ljubljana started to change rapidly and the first echoes of the new Secessionist style in Ljubljana appeared.
Secessionist Ljubljana", which developed mainly in the first decade of the 20th century is the synonim for the whole town quarter between the old medieval core and the railway line. The first real secessionist work, Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most) by the Dalmation architect Jurij Zaninovic was erected only in 1901.
The architecture of Ljubljana was mainly influenced by Vienna Secession and its special variant of modern art, accentuating more rational and geometric forms. Maks Fabiani and Joze Plecnik, two central figures of modern Slovene architecture are internationally recognized as co-founders of modern art movement in Vienna.
While Plecnik contributed to the Secessionist movement only in his early works in Vienna, Fabiani gave an important character of the period to Ljubljana. His architecture shows the evolution from the decorative Secessionist to the modernist phase, in which he concentrated on trying to use and re-create the traditional local elements in a modern way.
Although Secession mainly left its imprint on the decoration of the facades, in some cases, modernism surpassed the use of individual stylistic elements and intervened also in the building structure.
Even more than architecture Art Nouveau influenced the style of furnishing domestic and public interiors. Several important factories in Slovenia produced decorative and functional objects for everyday use. The ideals of Art Nouveau inspired painting as well, particularly the caricature, illustration and different kinds of graphic arts. The most important was the group of young painters Vesna, who studied in Vienna at the turn of the century, absorbing the decorative language of Vienna Secession and introducing the Slovene folk art motifs into their art.
Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia
Trnovski pristan 2
SI - 1000 Ljubljana
Phone: +386 14201310
Fax: +386 14201330
Municipality of Ljubljana
Mestni trg 1
Phone: +386 13061000
Fax: +396 13061001
Institute for Protection of Cultural Heritage, Regional unit Ljubljana
Phone: +386 12410700
Fax: +386 14256112
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union