Metelkova is Ljubljana’s urban squat

An urban squat. Why did we want to visit such a place? This is a complete contrast to the Old Town’s maze of cobbled streets, medieval buildings, colourful churches and Secession architecture. Introducing Ljubljana’s eclectic and intriguing neighbourhood, Metelkova.

Metelkova is a cultural zone not far from Ljubljana’s Old Town and adjacent the ‘Museum Quarter’. It is a former military barracks of the Yugoslav National Army and a prison. When Slovenia gained independence, students moved in and squatted here. It is now a kind of arty, free spirited squat area. It isn’t all that inviting.

But, it is worth coming here to find some unique graffiti and artwork. Sculptures, graffiti, stickers. Everywhere you look there’s something creative…or eye brow raising. It has its own vibe – urban street art, bizarre buildings with barred windows. A tad weird. People gather here – artists, squatters and those who just want to hide from it all. One gets the sense that no one cares what you look like or where you come from!

When we visited during the day, it was quiet and visually challenging. Vivid, mosaic adorned walls, iron sculptures, broken bike frames, oil drums, Gollum-looking creatures hanging from the buildings, prison windows, a spider sculpture. Some of it was dreadful while other works could be classed as pieces of contemporary art.

We love finding cool stuff as we explore. This is a place where spraying graffiti is acceptable. If you enjoy graffiti and other street art, all you need to do is just to take a walk to this area of Ljubljana. Observe and form your own opinion. An anarchist commune on a former military base in a conservative and cosmopolitan city.

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