Ljubljana Castle renovation completed after half a century
The castle overlooking Slovenia's capital has been undergoing restoration for more than 50 years, but now the last space within the castle walls has been renovated to serve as a multi-purpose venue.
Inaugurated on 25 January following a €2.5 million renovation, the Kazemate is the largest room in the castle, measuring 31 metres in length.
In the late Middle Ages the space served as a passage to the courtyard. Later, when the castle became a penitentiary, the Kazemate was a large sleeping area for prisoners. In the early 20th century it served as a carpentry workshop.
The restoration was designed in such a way as to preserve the authenticity of the space while turning it into a hall that will be able to cater to various types of events.
"We deepened a part of the space and restored it, and we built in a movable floor," said Majda Kregar, one of the architects working on the renovation of Ljubljana Castle. The floor required some innovation, she added.
She said the principle guiding the renovation of the Kazemate was the same as for the rest of the castle, which is to make all large spaces in it open to the public and public functions.
The overarching project, the renovation of the entire castle began in 1969. Back then, the castle was "highly degraded", said Kregar. They hoped to create a "lively cultural centre that would be attractive to Ljubljana citizens.
The renovation has preserved all the elements that testify to the castle's expansion over the centuries, including walls, ceilings, arches, defensive and other openings.
Now the castle "is alive and makes its own survival possible," said Kregar, adding that it appears as if the renovation was completed in one move.
Last year the project's architects, Kregar, Miha Kerin and Edo Ravnikar Jr., received an award from the city of Ljubljana for their work.
While the renovation within the castle's walls is completed, there is still more work to be done, including the renovation of the bastion outside the walls. "And traffic has to be removed from the Castle Hill plateau, underground parking arranged, etc." said Kregar.
Ljubljana Castle hosts concerts, film screenings, educational events and theatre performances. Last year it attracted 1.19 million visitors, nearly 200,000 more than in 2022. More than 75% were foreigners.