The Late 18th and 19th Century Ljubljana

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An aerial view of the Kongresni trg square

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The building of the University of Ljubljana

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The building of the Slovenian Philharmonic, one of Europe's oldest music institutions

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The Neo-Renaissance building of the Opera House in Ljubljana

Towards the middle of the 18th century, the Mediterranean influences from the Italian master artists began to be superseded by influences from Vienna. One of those who moved to Ljubljana (via Graz) was Matija Persky, an artist from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, who first acquitted himself well as the chief designer of the Episcopal Church in the small Slovenian town of Gornji grad, and later as the architect who designed and redesigned a number of palaces for aristocrats of Ljubljana.

The decline in Italian influences was due to state reforms, which hugely extended the influence of the Vienna Academy. The second half of the 18th century was also the time when the consequences of the Josephine reforms, which led to greater rationalisation and cost efficiency in the building sector, began to show themselves.

The architectural appearance of the buildings constructed in the second half of the 18th century was not uniform. The period was marked by tremendous changes in the city's appearance, mainly due to the construction of the Gruber Canal (Gruberjev prekop), by means of which part of the water from the often flooding Ljubljanica river was diverted around the castle hill (the construction works were in 1773 started by the Jesuit Gabrijel Gruber and finished in 1782 by Vincencij Struppi), the pulling down of the city walls, the dissolving of several monasteries by Emperor Joseph II in 1782, and the reconstruction or pulling down of the vacant former monastery buildings within the following few years.

After the departure of the French from Ljubljana, which was under the French rule the capital of the Illyrian Provinces (1809-1813), the Capuchin Monastery was torn down and a park was landscaped on its site three years later for the 1821 Congress of the Holy Alliance. The park, which was due to its criss-crossing paths called the Star (Zvezda), represents the most important architectural legacy of the period.

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