Things to do and see in Slovenia

Museums and Galleries

Of course, all countries appear a little bit strange to the people who don't live there... and I bet you're not expecting to find strangeness in something as dull as the Slovenian Galleries and Museums page on a website. Ha!

That's where you'd be so wrong, because the Slovenians actually make fantastic galleries and museums... but none of the locals go to them. Very, very strange people.

To be honest, I now cannot fathom why a country full of so many galleries and museums... has so many empty galleries and museums. Still: the locals' loss is our gain, I guess. Plus, it really is a lovely experience to wander around a gallery or museum with almost no one else about. Try that in London.

Some ideas for you...

The Modern Art Gallery in Ljubljana houses quite an impressive little collection of local artists. Lucky the Brits, Americans or French didn't come and nick them for their own galleries. Cankarjeva 15, Ljubljana.

The National Gallery of Slovenia is also a fab place to find local art - just a bit older. Prešernova 24, Ljubljana.

Božidar Jakac Art Museum in Kostanjevica - probably the worst art gallery website in the world... but what a gallery! Don't wait until you're in Slovenia - even if you're just on the European mainland: Go.

Ljubljana Castle. Although a castle has been here since the 11th century, the present pile was built in the 15th (and the clock tower in 1848). Great for the best views of the city, the church ceiling is beautiful and the exhibition hall a must. The cafe is best avoided... until the fab new one is opened in 2010.

TMS - the Technical Museum of Slovenia. Boring... not!!! As far as we're concerned, one of the funkiest museums in the whole wide world. A beautiful setting and loads of great stuff to see (including all of Tito's cars). A must.

SEM - the Slovene Ethnographic Museum. If this were in London, it would be called the Victoria and Albert... but only Slovenes would be daft enough to keep the crowds away by using a boring name.

Železniški muzej - the Railway Museum is sadly run down, but if you want to see some fantastic old steamers, this place is brilliant. There's no website as such, but the address is Parmova ulica 35, right in the middle of Ljubljana.

Murska Sobota Museum - Unbelievable - we hunted this place down, and on a Saturday afternoon when we entered, the nice person at the desk was surprised out of reading his book. He turned on the lights for us and off we went. If you're anywhere near - GO: it's brilliant.

Kobarid Museum - just click here for the website, then go... even if you're not anywhere near. A fascinating insight into the Soča Front, and the ridiculous things grown men did to each other during WW1, for absolutely no bloody reason. - fairly comprehensive website detailing all you need to know about the country's museums. If you click on the 'English' button at the top right, you'll find that the menus are magically transformed into English. The magic isn't strong enough to stretch to the content though.

In brief...

You may, while perusing other guides and the official tourist board website, see the words 'rich cultural heritage'.

This is a phrase used by professional travel numpties as a catch-all in an attempt to promote Slovenia as some kind of centre of cultural excellence throughout the ages.

What these people don't seem to understand is that, apart from the language, Slovenia doesn't have any 'rich cultural heritage'.

  • Given that it has essentially been a nation of peasants since Day One, it can hardly be described as 'rich'.
  • Given that, even to this day, Slovenians celebrate non-Slovenian 'culture' instead of their own (compare Avsenik to Magnifico).
  • Given that the lords and masters throughout the ages have been 'imported' from its neighbours (the last Slovenian duke having died in... 1456), the 'heritage' is all foreign.

Of course, Slovenians do bang on about how they invented the pizza, cured meats, wine, and sushi (OK, not the last one), but they don't seem to want to acknowledge their amazing contribution to the arts, for instance.