Ljubljana Cathedral

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana Cathedral, also named St. Nicholas' Cathedral, was originally a Gothic church. In the early 18th century, it was replaced by a Baroque building. It is an easily recognizable landmark of the city with its green dome and twin towers and stands at Cyril and Methodius Square by the nearby Ljubljana Central Market and Town Hall.

The site was originally occupied by an aisled three-nave Romanesque church, the oldest mention of which dates from 1262. It was a succursal church of the ancient Parish of Saint Peter. An extensive fire in 1361 saw it refurbished in the Gothic style but underwent alterations when the Diocese of Ljubljana was established in 1461 and the church became a cathedral. However, in 1469 it was burnt down again. This time, it was suspected to be arson, presumably by the Turks.

In 1700 the Capuchin friar Florentianus Ponnensis from Milan or Bologna designed a new Baroque hall church. The following year, after the construction already started, the plan was revised and complemented by the Jesuit architect Andrea Pozzo who designed it as a basilica and added to it a dome. He did not supervise the realisation of his plan, so the buildings was significantly adapted by the builders, in particular by Francesco Bombassi of Venice. The two belfries, resembling of the Salzburg Cathedral, were added upon the plan by Lombard Giulio Quaglio.

The construction took place between 1701 and 1706. The first worship took place in the new building in August 1706, and the consecration took place on 8 May 1707. Originally, a fake dome was painted on the arch above the centre until the church's real dome was constructed in 1841.

Inside much of the original Baroque decor remains with frescoes painted by Giulio Quaglio between 1703–1706 and later 1721–1723. Other notable decorations in the cathedral include the altar angels by the brothers Paolo and Giuseppe Groppelli on the right part of the nave (1711) and by Francesco Robba on the left (1745–1750). Angelo Putti was assigned to much of the artwork, with his painting of Thalnitscher (1715) and the statues of the four bishops of Emona seated under the dome beam (1712–1713). The dome was painted by Matevž Langus in 1843–44. The fresco in the cupola depicts the Holy Spirit and angels, whereas the frescos on the walls of the dome depict the coronation of the Virgin and the glorification of Saint Nicholas, surrounded by angels and saints. In the 1950s, the architect Jože Plečnik made plans for new church furnishings.

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Founded: 1701-1707
Category: Religious sites in Slovenia

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yasser Ashfaq (4 months ago)
Also named St. Nicholas' Cathedral. Originally, Ljubljana Cathedral was a Gothic church. In the early 18th century, it was replaced by a Baroque building. It is an easily recognizable landmark of the city with its green dome and twin towers and stands at Cyril and Methodius Square (Ciril-Metodov trg) by the nearby Ljubljana Central Market and Town Hall. The entrances have bronze sculptured doors from 1996, created at the 1250s anniversary of Christianity in the Slovenian territory and the visit of Pope John Paul II. The front door, now named the Slovene Door, bears a relief by Tone Demšar [sl] with a depiction of Slovene history to commemorate the 1250th anniversary of Christianity in Slovenia. The side door, now named the Ljubljana Door, was redesigned by Mirsad Begić [sl], who decorated them with portraits of the 20th-century bishops of Ljubljana. Subsequently, an automatic electric door has been added beyond the main door. The facades of the church are decorated with 19th-century and 20th-century niches containing statues of bishops and saints, with Baroque frescoes, and with ancient Roman tombstones and some others named the Thalnitscher stone monument collection (Dolničarjev lapidarij), which was created in the early 18th century at the initiative of the historian Johann Gregor Thalnitscher.
Phut Tuhp (5 months ago)
It is nice place but you have to pay to visit. It is about 2€. Normally, many churches are free all Europe but this one no.
María Valenciano (9 months ago)
Cutest cathedral you'll see. Absolutetly worth it (3€). Try to go at midday because sunlight makes it 10 times better.
Howard Cheung (10 months ago)
It was so nice to find this unexpected Lee beautiful church while visiting Ljubljana. Stop by and sit inside for a few minutes if you have time to visit this beautiful town.
Luke Phang (12 months ago)
The main cathedral of Ljubljana. Not as grand as other cathedrals around Europe but still worth a visit as they're the main one. Good to check the opening timing before you visit because they're not always open and they charge an entrance fee to the interior. The interior structure is really nice and inspiring, and they have seats for you to reflect and take in the atmosphere. I would say that they're not as tourist friendly as they still use the church for worship, so do take note and be courteous when you're inside.
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