Welcome reception @ Ljubljana castle
The castle of Ljubljana is just one of the castles in the city but certainly the biggest one and also the most visited. Built in the middle of the 15th century, today it is a popular tourist destination for locals and foreigners also. It offers an outstanding view over the city, a romantic athmosphere and a place of numerous cultural events.
When in 1335 the Habsburgs took over the area of today`s Slovenia, they demolished the fortress of the Spanheim family, which stood on the hill, and in the second half of the 15th century started building a new one that still stands today. At first it consisted of only walls, towers and wooden barracks but through centuries the castle got the shape that it has today. Its main purpose was to defend against Turkish invasions, which were the most frequent in the 15th and 16th century. Besides, peasant rebellions were not rare as well. In the 17th and 18th century the castle had the function of a military hospital and an arsenal. When in 1809 Napoleon brought freedom and cultural and national enlightment to the citizens of Ljubljana, the war with the Habsburgs broke out. During this war the Pipers tower was demolished and a new wooden one erected on the place of today`s stone one. After the French had left, the Habsburgs used the castle for jails. The jail period lasted until the end of the Second World War, when first Italians and after their capitulation Germans took over the management of the castle. Until 1963 ostracized citizens of Ljubljana lived on the castle in terrible conditions. In the 70s the renovation began and today the castle is a popular tourist destination for home and foreign visitors.
You will be surprised to find out that you don`t have to pay anything to enter the castle courtyard, where you can relax by a cup of coffee, glass of wine or a piece of cake. You can visit numerous art exhibitions, which take place in different parts of the castle and are usually for free as well. By the entrance there is Galerija Rustika, where you can buy or just admire high quality products of Slovene traditional handcraft. On the other side of the castle there`s a chapel and a viewing tower together with Virtual Castle, where you can see a documentary about the history of the castle in Slovene, English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Croatian and Italian. On the left side of the castle chapel you will also find an exelent Museum of Slovene History and a restaurant serving traditional Slovene food.
Gala dinner @ Grand Hotel Union
The Grand Hotel Union held its grand opening in 1905. It was the first modern hotel in Ljubljana and at the time the highest building, built in Art Nouveau style. The hotel was built in unbelievable 18 months and the opening ceremony lasted for 7 days. The hotel is located where the Baroque part of the city ends and the more modern Art Nouveau part begins.
The Grand Hotel Union was one of the biggest, finest and most modern hotels in southeast Europe, i.e. south of Prague and Vienna. It had 87 rooms, a modern restaurant, a café, a large concert hall (today’s Union hall), a bowling alley and several salons for ceremonies. The hotel also had a lift, central heating and telephone, which was rare for that time. Since it was built after the great earthquake, it had an extremely good static support. The Grand Hotel Union set standards for all future hotels and still presents a milestone in technology.
In over a century of its existence, the Grand hotel Union was an important co-creator of the political and social life in the capital and in the wider Ljubljana region. In its rich history the hotel witnessed many important events and hosted many famous people – actor and director Orson Welles in 1979, the American president Bill Clinton and his wife in 1999, the spiritual leader of Tibet Dalai Lama in 2002 and the British Queen Elizabeth and her husband in 2008.
Workshop dinner @ Pension Portal
Portal restaurant offers specialities from international cuisine specialising in genuine Serbian “Leskovac cuisine”. Meat dishes are roasted solely on real charcoal. They also offer classical dishes a la carte, excuisite home-made pasta and deserts. A variety of fresh fish is always available as well. The restaurant offers an excellent sellection of Slovene and Serbian wines, aperitiffs and brandys. In the summer time, the visitors can enjoy a nice natural atmosphere at the Ljubljana river.