10 masterpieces by Jože Plečnik

This renowned pioneer of 20th century modern architecture has had a large-scale effect on Ljubljana, similar to that of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona. Visit the 10 masterpieces of Plečnik’s Ljubljana.

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The Triple Bridge © D. Wedam

The Triple Bridge

With the Triple Bridge (in Slovene: Tromostovje), the architect Plečnik proved how much ahead of his time he really was. To the central bridge, which was built in 1842 (architect: Giovanni Picco), two adjacent bridges were added for pedestrians. The bridges, which were opened in 1932, remain a fine example of how to regulate traffic in a sustainable way.

National and University Library © B. Jakše Jeršič

National and University Library

The greatest Plečnik masterpiece was designed as a “house of knowledge” and combines elements that are at first sight incompatible. The front façade is inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture, while the huge marble columns in the lobby are reminiscent of antique temples, and the magnificent reading room is an entrance to the world of knowledge and enlightenment.

The Church of St. Michael on the Ljubljana Marshes © S. Rančov

The Church of St. Michael on the Ljubljana Marshes

In contrast to the National and University Library, which is an example of luxurious architecture, Plečnik, lacking other resources, had to use the skills of local craftsmen and recycled materials when building this unique village church on the marshy swampland plain. The result is one of his most innovative constructions.

Plečnik’s House © M. Paternoster

Plečnik’s House

When entering the Plečnik House, you are entering his home. It is as though the rooms, with their authentic interiors and the architect’s personal belongings, still wait for him to come in through the front door… Apart from the well-preserved residential areas and the garden, the house also hosts a museum dedicated to the great architect.

The covered market buildings © B. Pogačnik

The covered market buildings

The covered market buildings along the Ljubljanica River, at times reminiscent of Venetian palaces, are one of the most recognisable images of Ljubljana. While Plečnik modelled the river side of the market halls on Italian Renaissance lines, he chose antique-type columns for the street side, to stand before the entrances to individual buildings. It is hard to believe but it really is true: all this lavish design was intended just for bakeries, butcher’s shops and fishmonger’s shops.

Žale Cemetery © B. Gradnik

Žale Cemetery

In the same visionary manner as he approached the central market place, Plečnik took up the construction of a new city cemetery in 1940. His complex of chapels, which reflects the building methods of different civilisations and the symbols of various religions, is a unique monument which reminds us that we are all equal in the presence of death.

Križanke Summer Theatre © D. Mladenovič

Križanke Summer Theatre

The architect Plečnik creatively rearranged the former Monastery of the Order of Teutonic Knights into one of the best concert venues in the city. The Summer Theatre is covered with a movable canvas roof so that concerts of classical, jazz and rock music can also take place in rainy weather.

The Ljubljanica River Barrier © M. Kastelic

The Ljubljanica River Barrier

The architect Plečnik reshaped Ljubljana with his urban planning on water as well as on land. The former is demonstrated by a river lock gate that is still used today to regulate the flow of the Ljubljanica River in the city centre. Plečnik designed the river lock gate as a monument, i.e. a triumphal arch dedicated to water.

Cobbler’s Bridge © B. Jakše & S. Jeršič

Cobbler’s Bridge

There is always something going on at the Cobbler’s Bridge. It features street theatres, musical performances, etc. The architect Plečnik designed it as a market place over water. Pillars of various sizes reach for the sky and emphasise in a unique way the character of this open-air venue.

Trnovo Pier © D. Wedam

Trnovo Pier

The Trnovo Pier, with its stepped embankment and wide benches where you can catch some sun, is surely one of the most beautiful river promenades you will ever have seen. The former river port was reshaped by the architect Plečnik for active recreation after the day’s work, socialising and relaxation under the weeping willows.