The Slovenia Times

Metelkova Culture Centre Celebrates 20 Years



Over the past 20 years, a diverse alternative scene has developed on these premises: there is a concert hall, several alternative music clubs, a gay and a lesbian clubs, an art gallery and a socially-critical infotheque.

A prison building on the premises has been converted into a very successful youth hostel where guests sleep in their own private prison cells. Moreover, a museum quarter has been developed in another part of the former barracks.

Writer Suzana Tratnik, who took part in the protests 20 years ago, told the STA on Monday that "Metelkova is a living organism constantly witnessing new ideas and initiatives emerging".

Metelkova has never been harmonious in itself but it has been thriving on its disharmony for two decades, she added.

"We started fiercely and with determination. That late September evening we found out that Metelkova was being pulled down" and joined many others who wanted to convert the premises into a cultural centre.

Many climbed the fence that nigh, moving into the buildings and squatting there. Later on, Mreža za Metelkovo (The Network for Metelekova) was formed to convert the barracks abandoned by the Yugoslav People's Army after Slovenia's independence into a cultural centre.

"Then we spent months protecting the premises physically. We organised events that were held in spaces without electricity or water and could only heat with wood-burning stoves. But visitors kept coming - strong feeling of solidarity took over."


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