To TIC to get some brochures
Perhaps the described route is the most useful for those visitors of Ljubljana who rent a bike near the Triple Bridge and make a quick trip from the centre to the outskirts, to the Marshes . It takes you past the sights which are mainly marked with special written boards. A curious traveller can find out more about them from handy written guides of the public institute Ljubljana Tourism, which are also available at their office (TIC) right next to the Triple Bridge on the right bank of the River Ljubljanica. So this description will include more information about some interesting names, and the history of the streets and roads which you'll come across along the route. Of course, you'll also see them, mainly Plečnik's creations. Before you leave, a word of advice: most paths run along roads with public transport, in some places or at some hours of the day even very busy ones, so put your safety first.
From Prešeren to Napoleon
The route begins in front of a monument to the greatest Slovenian poet, Dr. France Prešeren , and goes up the River Ljubljanica. But today, you won't go along the Hribar Embankment bearing the name of the most renowned mayor of Ljubljana, but instead you'll go along Wolfova Street named in 1892 after a bishop, Anton Alojzij Wolf, the patron of the Slovene-German dictionary. The façade of the second house on your right includes a relief with the image of Julija Primic curiously glancing towards Prešeren .
Drive up the slope and you'll find yourself at the eastern, lower edge of Congress Square, which has been bearing the name given after the Congress of Laibach in 1821, but lost it in 1945, and regained it in 1991. The park next to it is called the Star and is, naturally, Plečnik's work .
Then cross Congress Square (Kongresni trg), go past the University building and drive onto Vegova Street named after Jurij Vega, a mathematician and artillery officer of the old Austria. The street had this name already at the time of Austria-Hungary, when it was called Vegagasse. Its contemporary appearance was designed by Plečnik, who skilfully used a part of the city walls where he put terraces with monuments to deserving Slovenians, musicians and linguists .
National and University Library, and Križanke
At the end of Vegova Street, the famous National and University Library (NUK), one of Plečnik's most important works in Ljubljana, is situated . A few metres ahead, the Napoleons obelisk sits. If you have time, get off the bike and check out NUK from the inside. The famous staircase made from black Podpeč marble and reading room with specially designed, monumental lights are really something special, and the façade is fascinating as well. Brick alternate with stone blocks, which gives the building an unusual appearance .
Behind NUK, French Revolution Square (Trg francoske revolucije) is located with an obelisk as a tribute to Napoleon and the Illyrian Provinces . Until 1952, this square was called Napoleon Square and the obelisk in his memory is one of only few. Supposedly there are only two in the whole world. This gratitude, of course, should be understood in terms of conditions at that time: the period of the Illyrian Provinces was the period when education was performed in Slovenian for the first time, which decidedly contributed to the development of culture and national consciousness.
On the left behind the obelisk, Križanke starts. This is a complex of the former Order of Teutonic Knights, monks, who came to Ljubljana as early as the 13th century . Križanke was renovated according to Plečnik's ideas. This was his last work.
From Emona to a salad bar
Drive across French Revolution Square, past Križanke to a traffic lights crossing with Zoisova Road. If time is on your side, drive down the hill to Breg to the Zois Palace .
Once you've crossed Zoisova Road, you reach Krakovo, besides Trnovo one of the oldest suburbs of Ljubljana, whose name originates from the Middle Ages. One theory claims that Krakovo (Krakow) got its name after Polish soldiers who were once a part of the church army and were supposed to be camping at this place. There's another theory, however, claiming that the name Krakovo originates from the work okrak signifying algae and other plants floating on stagnant water.
Continue along Emonska Road and, on your left, there are remnants of the renowned gardens, where vegetables were grown, mainly lettuce of the renowned variety called Ljubljana iceberg lettuce, which costermongers used to bring to the city market in their barrows. The tradition of growing vegetables is partly preserved even today. Thus, on the way from Trnovo to the market, a unique traffic sign with a silhouette of a barrow is located, which permits driving or rather pushing this typical cargo vehicle along the busy roads all the way to the market. On the right side of Emonska Road, there's a chapel with the famous statue of Mary of Krakovo from the 13th century , and behind it, the area of the Roman Emona begins with a preserved defence wall .
Gradaščica is the northern border...
Across the famous Plečnik's bridge , which is supposedly the only bridge in the world with lined trees growing on it, you'll cycle to Trnovo and stop in front of the portal of the mighty church of Trnovo . In this very church, Prešeren first met Julija Primic, his undestined love, the statue of which was already mentioned at the beginning of the route. After seeing the church, drive around the corner onto Karunova Street, named after a deserving priest in Trnovo. Behind the church, there is a garden and then the house where Plečnik used to live from his return from abroad until his death in 1957 and has been rearranged into a museum .
At the end of Karunova Street, the new part of Trnovo begins. Cross Ziherlova Street and drive onto the Mivka (Sand; the street got its name after a former part of Trnovo). Right after the car park, turn right, drive to the blocks of flats and then take the first street left. Continue to the traffic lights at the crossroads with Opekarska Road (Brickmakers' Road), which has been bearing this name since 1876 as the famous brickyards were located in this area.
...and Mali graben the southern border of Trnovo
At the crossroads, drive straight on along Hladnikova Road over Mali graben , which was built so that the high waters of the Gradaščica Stream would flow past Vič and Trnovo where floods frequently occurred. Just after this bridge, there's another bridge, this time over the River Ljubljanica, on the other side of which you'll see Dolgi breg on your right and Livada on your left. From Trnovo, this route turns right onto the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship (PST), which runs along the River Ljubljanica in this section, at the first intersection after the second bridge. Unfortunately, you can't go near the river as the bank is built up with residential houses.
Follow the PST all the way to the intersection with Ižanska Road and turn onto this road. First, you'll go over the motorway (southern bypass) and soon after that over the River Ižica as well . When you drive across the bridge, you'll enter the area of the Ljubljana Marshes Landscape Park . From here on, all your attention should be devoted to the road and traffic as the carriageway is in extremely bad condition. When you reach the traffic lights crossing, turn right towards Črna vas and continue to the famous Plečnik's church made of stone and wood, which was built between 1937 and 1940 . In many ways, the church dedicated to St. Michael is the Plečnik family project: the person who ordered its construction was Jože Plečnik's nephew, a priest, Karel Matkovič, who later also worked here; most of the construction was financed by Jože's brother Andrej, and the payment of the last debts was made from the legacy of their brother Janez .
In the Botanical Garden
After taking a look at Plečnik's church in the Marshes, you'll return to Ljubljana along Ižanska Road; on the way, you can make a stop at the Botanical Garden (a bit more than 600 metres from the crossroads with Hladnikova and Jurčkova roads). The Botanical Garden was established in 1810 at the time of Illyrian Provinces. It is the oldest botanical garden in Slovenia, and at the same time, cultural, scientific and education establishment with the longest uninterrupted operation in Slovenia . Today, it operates within the Biotechnical Faculty. It spreads over two hectares with 4,500 plant species and subspecies growing on them. Of all the plants growing in the garden only one third is indigenous. Don't forget to take a look at the renowned Marmont's linden, which was supposedly planted by Auguste de Marmont, Napoleon's Marshal and governor-general of the Illyrian Provinces, himself upon the opening of the garden .
Across the footbridge at Špica to Prule
After seeing the Botanical Garden, cross the road, go past the Conservatoire for Music and Ballet Ljubljana , continue across the footbridge at Špica, cross the Grubar Canal and you'll find yourself in Prule .
If you haven't stopped in the Botanical Garden, you can take a break at Špica at the River Ljubljanica and Grubar Canal confluence to sit for a while and catch your breath .
After the footbridge, turn right and drive to the first street on your left. Turn onto Prijateljeva Street. Before World War II, this street was called Sokolska Street but the Italian occupying forces renamed it to Prijateljeva Street after a cultural and literary historian, Ivan Prijatelj, along with some other streets whose names were reminiscent of affiliation to the former Yugoslavia.
Back to Prešeren along the foot of the Castle Hill
At the next crossroads, turn from Prijateljeva Street onto Privoz, dash to the traffic lights and drive onto the cycle lane. Cross Karlovška Road and, along Za gradom Street, drive to the next traffic lights and turn left onto Streliška Street. Streliška Street was registered in the Poljane suburb cadastre under its German name as early as 1840 . Once, this was the place of the city shooting range, a popular meeting place of gentlemen who engaged in this, then modern, sport for higher circles. Today, there's no sign of a shooting range as the old building burnt down and the new one was built on the southern slope of Golovec on the other side of Grubar Canal. Drive along Streliška Street to the tunnel under the castle and cross Kopitarjeva Street. Because of heavy traffic, the simplest and safest way is to get off the bike, cross the road at the pedestrian crossing and continue to walk across the car park in Krek Square to the central city market in Vodnikov Square. When the market is open for business, it's best to walk across it as well. Go past the covered market under Plečnik's Arcades on the bank of the River Ljubljanica to Pogačarjev Square and past Kresija to the (also Plečnik's)Triple Bridge . On the opposite bank of the river, Prešeren and his muse await. You've reached the end of the route.