The Slovenia Times

A Green Oasis in the City


The Capital

Situated so close the city core that some regard it as part of the centre, Tivoli Park - covering more than 5 km2 with grass and trees has been a popular getaway for citizens of Ljubljana ever since it was opened in 1813, designed according to the French engineer Blanchard's plans. A full century later, between 1921 and 1939, the legendary Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik made significant changes the park, and today it has numerous walking trails, colourful flowerbeds, fountains and statues, the newest of which isan interesting monument to the novelist Edvard Kocbek.

A place to relax

In the second half of the 20th century, the park went through many changes and various sports facilities were built there, including the famous outdoor swimming pool complex Ilirija, the Tivoli sports hall, which used to be a concert venue and home of Olimpija indoor sports teams before Stožice was opened. There are also a fitness complex with swimming pools, a bowling centre, as well as tennis, basketball, roller-skate and mini golf courts.

Options for recreation are plenty and many people come to Tivoli simply to unwind. Strolls along the sandy pathsare popular or just relaxing on the benches or lawns observing the world, while families enjoy the two children's playgrounds. In recent years, many amateur sports groups have organised their practices in the park, including those of the Ljubljana. Besides that, you can also practice yoga or learn Nordic walking techniques there.

In the past, you could also go rowing and ice-skating on the Tivoli pond, but today only eager sport fishers try their luckthere. Besides fish, turtles and frogs also live in the pond, while water lilies flourish on the water surface.

Plant and animal heaven

The park is part of the Tivoli Landscape Park, which includes the Rožnik and Šišenski Hrib hills, and enjoys a protected status. The park abounds in lush vegetation of various plant species, and it also hosts a greenhouse that belongs to the University Botanical Gardens; visitors can see some examples of exotic plant species, including carnivorous plants. Furthermore, those interested in flora can take the Jesenko Path, named after a famous Slovenian botanist, where they can learn about thirty different tree species.

The landscape park offers a vast habitat for animals of over 509 hectares of land. It is home to large numbers of birds and one part of it is even called Tičistan ("birds' home").The caretakers have placed bird houses and birdfeeders there, planted appropriate trees and bushes, and erected information boards for visitors and bird lovers who can observe robins, blackbirds, nuthatches, blue tits and woodpeckers -these are but a few of the species that dwell there.

However, birds are not the only animals people come to Tivoli's to watch. Many visitors never leave home without a pocketful of nuts for the squirrels that jump between the trees, plucking up courage to feast on the treats straight fromthe hands of their admirers.

A place for art and culture

One of the focal points of the park is Jakopič's Promenade, named after one of the central figures of Slovenian painting, which is the link between the city and one of the two manors in park: Grad Tivoli. This is a beautifully decorated mansion and today the home of the International Centre of Graphic Arts, which hosts many exhibitions. The second mansion is Cekinov Grad, which houses the National Museum of Contemporary History.

Over the past decade, Jakopič's Promenade has been a venue for photography exhibitions, which change every few months. Currently on display are the artisticblack-and-white jazz photographs from around the globe by the music photographer Žiga Koritnik. The exhibition, "Cloud Arrangers" is one of the biggest, not only in Slovenia but also in the world.

From art to nature, and in many types of recreation, Tivoli is one of the most important parts of Ljubljana. If it is true that the green spaces of the city determine the quality of life of its citizens, it is without doubt that Slovenia's capital is a great place to live.


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