Ljubljana might be one of Europe’s smallest capitals but that doesn’t mean it’s a city lacking in attitude.
I walked the Slovenian capital’s streets and came across the bizarre and imaginative graffiti that uses the city itself as its artistic canvas.
Ljubljana looks good. It’s got a curvacious, turquoise river winding it’s way through the sleek streets and a marvelous castle that heads up the skyline. Oh, and if that’s not enough for you, it’s surrounded by stunningly sublime Alpine peaks too.
The aesthetics aren’t tarnished at all though by the unusually hefty quantities of street art and graffiti that seems to be drawn at will across the walls of the city.
Even the bridges aren’t left untouched. That’s the ominously named ‘Butcher’s Bridge’ below, but rather than signifying some horrific atrocity, the padlock’s are placed there by romantics declaring their love for each other.
And public it is, with barely a wall, or waste disposal bin for that matter, that hasn’t seen seen a lick of paint.
It’s not all high quality of course, but then old Elton John might make an appearance to inspire you.
Or you might just get downright confused. I think that’s a giraffe below, but I can’t tell you who’s riding it, or where they are headed. In fact I’m not even sure if it’s a real giraffe to be honest.
You might simply be weirded the hell out too… You can find this one right by the river, on what is one of the city’s busiest walkways. Right.
Much of the artwork is focused on an area of the city known as the Metelkova district, just a short stroll from the centre.
Having thrown off its communist yoke when Yugoslavia collapsed in the 90’s, the city was left with an abandoned army barracks and former political prison.
Enterprising squatters moved in and took over the Metelkova district for themselves.
Over the years the squatters have refused to be moved and instead they’ve redecorated the place.
I’m guessing these sculptures weren’t around during the height of communist rule.
It’s amazing how a few licks of paint will liven a place up. Perhaps Tito should have been a bit more artsy.
No matter how dark the day’s of socialist Yugoslavia might have been though, the transport was probably a dash more functional than this trolley.
The buildings are now almost completely covered in artwork.
The district itself is also home to a thriving although perhaps illicit bar scene, while prison cells in one of the buildings are now popular with backpackers, as part of the Celica Art Hostel.
Ljubljana seems to have embraced the idea of graffiti and utilising street art to liven the place up, or else no one’s really doing a lot to stop it.
But who can really argue when you’ve got squirrels like that on your front wall ?