Does the word Metelkova mean anything to you (excluding you folks from Ljubljana, of course)? It didn’t mean anything to me either until a few weeks ago when it decided to join my vocabulary as a synonym for one of the most unique places I have ever visited.
Metelkova is a autonomous alternative arts & culture community right smack in the centre of Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana, and serves as a non-residential squat for artists, activists, and a whole host of other culturally minded folks.
Meltelkova is located on the site of former military barracks (the Slovenian headquarters of the Yugoslav Army) and was squatted after Slovenia gained its independence from Yugoslavia. The space is 12,500m2, pays no taxes, sells liquor without a license, has never had any legal status within the city, and therefore can essentially be thought of as a little city within the city.
Within Metelkova you’ll find a former prison (which is now the Hostel Celica, where you may recall I spent a few nights sleeping in a cell at), art galleries, art studios, an anarchist infoshop, music venues (including Channel Zero, where I caught a show from the USA band The Pharmacy), cafes, bars, clubs (including Ljubljana’s only gay nightclub … aptly named Klub Tiffany), and after dark it seems to become home to pretty much the entire youth population of Ljubljana.
Anyway, this blog isn’t so much about history & facts as it is photos so I’ll leave you with a link if you’re interested in learning more about Metelkova and get on with the light paintings!
Ah, Piran – the jewel of the Slovenian coast. Not that it really has much crown jewel competition as the wee country has 40-ish km of coast line to its name. Still, it’s a serious beauty that makes you feel like you’ve been transplanted straight into one of those postcard Italian coastal town … with the added benefit of a surprising lack of tourists clambering about. The Italian-esque factor has something to do with the fact that Piran was a part of the Venetian Empire from the 13th to 18th centuries and if you climb to the top parts of the town you can spy on folks across the water in both Croatia & Italy.
View of Piran from atop the old city walls.
Oh look, it’s another view of Piran from atop the old city walls!
Martin (a Swedish photographer) and his camera take a break from their reason for being in Slovenia (documenting organic cheese farming).
Martin (the afore-photo-ed Swedish fellow) and Rosie (a CBC radio-er from Victoria on her way to a move to the land of tea and crumpets).
Why hello Adriatic Sea and slight hint of Italia in the distance!
Tartinijev Trg … or Tartini Square to those whose mother language is not so laden with consonants.
Tartini himself (the composer Tartini Square is named for). Tartini seems like a regular ol’ scamp to me … what with using his bow to poke church-top angels right in the rump instead of to make music.
Lazy afternoon cappucino a la Piran.
Burek for breakfast (an old Balkan pastry staple).
Kidlets in Tartini Square.
Tartini Square at dusk.
Sunset over Piran from atop the old city walls.
Tartini Square by night.
Narrow night streets a la Piran.
Bizarre photo experience (and rare, according to a few local photographers I talked to) – upon seeing me taking photos, the men below excitedly approached me, had me take their photo, and even more excitedly exchanged Facebook info with me. If I understood correctly, the man in the middle is a local priest.
For the life of me I can’t find the slip of paper the one man wrote his name I’ll never be able to pronounce on, so here’s hoping they find me!
I haven’t even crawled out of my room yet (Cell 120) and already I’m in photo heaven.
Hostel Celica is a former military prison, dating back to 1883 (the age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Later on, as Yugoslavia was formed, the prison came into the hands of Yugoslav Federal Army, where it remained until 1991 when Slovenia claimed its independence.
The barracks became an artist squatter settlement and have since been converted into a hostel and centre of alternative art & culture. Over 80 artists from all over the world participated in the grand conversion project.