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Ivan Mrak (1906–1986) was a Slovenian writer and playwright who remained connected to the hotel throughout his entire life.

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From a local inn to a bohemian salon

Ivan's father, Valentin Mrak, purchased the inn in Ljubljana and relocated his business and family to the current location of the hotel near the archaeological excavations of the Roman wall. Enthralled by them, he decided to name his inn "Pri starem Rimljanu" (At the Old Roman).

The inn soon became famous for its excellent Slovenian traditional dishes and became a popular gathering place for various artists, writers, painters, architects, professors, and bohemians. It had two dining rooms named after famous Slovenian poets Prešeren and Aškerc. Dance parties, social gatherings, and various literary meetings were hosted in the room with arches, which led to the beautiful garden and was known as the "salon". The first meeting of the Slovenian National Government took place here in 1918. In 1916, the inn "Pri starem Rimljanu" was renamed to "Pri Mraku" and later became a hotel.

Staff of Hotel Mrak in the early 20th century.

Charismatic and free-spirited artist

Ivan Mrak was the youngest of five children. He left a special mark on Slovenian literature, mainly due to his somewhat eccentric, mysterious, and charismatic personality. He was known for writing hymnic tragedies in a complex, somewhat elevated style. During his lifetime, he was considered a great individualist, deeply convinced of the power of his art. He lived and worked in Paris, Prague, Munich, and Zagreb as well.

Ivan Mrak with his sister Draga.

He often resisted established social norms, and the youth of that time saw him as a symbol of freedom and rebellion. He was married to Karla Bukovec, a Slovenian painter and artist eleven years his senior, whom he regarded as his muse. They had a platonic relationship, and Ivan Mrak was one of the first Slovenians to openly and publicly live as a homosexual.

Karla Bukovec Mrak (1895-1957).

Since 2016, the hotel has been owned by the Kuharič family. With a thorough renovation, they have infused modernity into the building while still respecting and preserving its rich history and cultural heritage.

The hotel's garden today.

Nina Kuharič, the director, described her favorite corner of the hotel:

The Garden

"The garden is adorned with a two-hundred-year-old grapevine, which still provides shade and gives the space a special charm. In warm weather, we serve breakfast and drinks there, and by prior arrangement, we also offer lunches or dinners and organize events for private groups. Every September, we host a special event that we look forward to all year - the traditional grape harvest. The garden always relaxes and calms me after even the most hectic day; I truly appreciate this part of our hotel!"

Visit www.hotelmrak.si to learn more about this family-owned hotel in the heart of the city!