Art Nouveau in Ljubljana

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A view of Dragon Bridge

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The famous fasade of the People's Loan Bank building

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The Centromerkur department store building with a statue of Mercury, the god of commerce

At the turn of the 19th century, many European cities saw the development of a new artistic style, known by the names of Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Modern Style, École de Nancy, Glasgow Style, Modernisme, Liberty Style and Sezession. The style affected all fields of art including architecture, fine and applied arts, theatre, music and literature, as well as fashion. In Ljubljana the new style particularly affected architecture. Having developed under the influence of the Viennese Sezession, it was known under the name of "secesija" (Secession).

By welcoming Art Nouveau, the bourgeoisie, which was the main consumer of the new art, tried to attain a higher position on the social ladder. It tried to establish its own aesthetic views instead of being a mere follower of the outdated styles preferred by aristocracy. The architects of the period utilized the advantages of the new industrial serial production and new materials such as iron, steel, glass and reinforced concrete. The new style was developing regardless of state borders; it swept particular cities and left others untouched. Its inspiration was coming from the animal and plant worlds, folklore, exotic cultures and religions, geometric forms, etc. Particularly public buildings, such as railway stations, banks and department stores, were designed following its principles.

The first notable Art Nouveau architectural creation in Ljubljana was Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most), which was built in 1901, while the majority of other Art Nouveau buildings were built in the first decade of the 20th century, notably in the centrally located district along the Miklošičeva ulica street between the old city centre and Ljubljana Railway Station.

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