In 2016, Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, can pride itself on bearing the title European Green Capital. In cooperation with the Ljubljana Castle Public Institute, the Slovenian National Museum of Contemporary History will make its contribution to the mosaic of events that comprise the European Green Capital with a photography exhibition entitled “Through Ljubljana Streets - Traffic in Ljubljana in the 20th century”.
The exhibition, which will be on show from 3 March to 29 May 2016 in the “S” Gallery of the Ljubljana Castle, features forty photographs by numerous renowned Slovenian photojournalists, giving visitors an opportunity to witness the image of our capital city right back to the times when tramways and carriages alone filled the city streets. In the period of the 20th century, Ljubljana transformed from a city of horses and carriages to an urban capital.
The first car was owned by Baron Anton Codelli and, according to the newspaper Slovenski narod, drove into Ljubljana in 1898. On 6 September 1901, the first tramway began to operate regularly in the Ljubljana streets, marking the beginning of the era of organised public transport in the city. On 6 October 1951, a 4.3 km trial trolleybus route was added to the growing city traffic, running from the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre to the suburb of Ježica. In 1956, Ljubljana gained its first traffic light, and in 1963 the first parking areas and bicycle sheds appeared in the city centre. The dominance of cars and buses brought about a fundamental change in the image of the Slovenian capital, as Ljubljana gradually began to transform into a city of streets and parking areas, often at the expense of recreational areas.
One of the fundamental developmental goals of the Slovenian capital in the 21st century is the establishment of a new traffic policy that meets the demands of the contemporary world for increased mobility and sustainable development. Thus, the city is devoting increasing attention to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. The latter includes hybrid and electric city buses, an extensive P + R system, the bicycle lending system Bicike(LJ), free transport in the environment-friendly “cavalier” vehicles, etc. Amongst the results of the new development-oriented traffic policy is the funicular railway to the Ljubljana Castle.
In the course of the 20th century, the bustle of traffic in Ljubljana had a powerful impact on the city’s image. What could be a better testimony to this than the preserved photographic images?
Andreja Zupanec Bajželj, exhibition curator
In cooperation with the Slovenian National Museum of Contemporary History
Within the framework of Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016