The Slovenia Times

Celica - a Youth Hostel With a Touch of History



The hostel is situated in a 100-year-old Austro-Hungarian building in the city centre. Its purpose remained the same through at history, until the break-up of Yugoslavia, when the whole complex of Yugoslav army barracks transformed into a cultural area called "Metelkova City". Some of the ex military buildings have become clubs, museums, ateliers, or give shelter to various civil organizations. The historical importance of ex-prison is also due to the fact that some fighters for Slovenian independence were locked up in this building, while mass protests for their release were held. This was one of the high-ups of the Slovenian independence movement. Taking advantage of the historical background of the building, more than eighty acknowledged local and foreign artists were invited to use their creative imagination in order to transform the building into a work of art. Each of the twenty rooms, or cells as they prefer to call them, was assigned to one artist, and is therefore made in a specific style. Despite the luxury and the variety of styles, the building as a whole preserves the resemblance to a prison. For the price ranging from 10 to 20 Euros the guests will be able to choose a cell of their taste - with artistically painted walls or with sculptures by English sculptor Anthony Gormley underneath the glass flour and more. The hostel also includes an oriental caf', access to Internet and offers Slovenian cuisine. Since travellers sometimes need a rest from the hustle and bustle of the outside world it also provides a meditation room. Another specialty is a cultural programme, consisting of art exhibitions, workshops, round-table discussions and concerts of ethno music during the summer. It seems that the Student Organization and the city administration that organized the renewal of the prison did a good job. Perhaps they have done even better than merely "redeeming the disgraceful fact that our capital has not enabled cheap accommodation for the young," as Simon Zore, the president of Student Organization would put it. Ask any of the dusty backpackers, these nomads of the modern world - a city is hardly called a capital without a youth hostel in it. As Ljubljana tends to think of itself as a friendly European city, the opening of a hostel running throughout the year was truly a necessity.


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