Record year for the Ljubljana Castle

Monday, 6. 2. 2017

In 2016, over one million people visited the Ljubljana Castle; the crossing counters recorded 1,246,737 visitors. The funicular transferred the highest number of passengers in its ten years of operation – 413,111. As many as 596 different events were held on the castle premises.

Last year, the fifth year since the Ljubljana Castle started operating as an independent public institute under the umbrella of the City of Ljubljana, was successful according to the director Mateja Avbelj Valentan. The crossing counters recorded 1,246,737 visitors (56,296 more than in the previous year). On 28 December 2016, the funicular railway marked its tenth anniversary in operation and in that period it transported a little under three million passengers (2,894,058). In the whole year 2016, it transported the highest number of passengers to date, 413,111, which is 18.62% more than in the same period in 2015. On 10 December 2016, the funicular also set the daily record for transported passengers – 3080. In 2016, among visitors included in the statistics of sold tourist tickets 36% were domestic and 64% foreign. Foreign visitors come predominately from Italy, Great Britain, Germany, France, United States of America and Spain.
Within the framework of regular and irregular tour hours 1302 guided tours were conducted of the Ljubljana Castle, the exhibitions Save the Bees and Rarely Seen, permanent exhibitions the Slovenian History and the Puppet Museum, the Time Machine and numerous pedagogical programmes. In total, 20,003 people took part in guided tours. In addition, 28,265 audio guides were handed out, which are available in Slovenian and eleven foreign languages. In the middle of August the service was complemented with the addition of a mobile application – the Nexto smart guide.
In the field of culture and art – within the framework of music, art and gallery, educational and performance programmes and traditional events – 224 events were held, 24 of them within the scope of the title Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016.
In 2016, the number of visits to the site increased almost by a quarter, namely, 210,714 visits were recorded. On their Facebook page with 21,668 followers they reached 8,539,785 users with their posts. They have shown a new presentation film to the public which portrays the Ljubljana Castle as a green oasis above the green capital and it reached over 35,000 users. Each Thursday, within the scope of the »green year«, they posted Franci’s green curiosities which reached over 77,000 users.
Among more important projects carried out in 2016, in addition to the opening of a pavilion in front of the bridge which serves as an entrance point where visitors can get all the information about everything on offer at the Ljubljana Castle, they are also highlighting: the Castle Vineyard which was officially opened mid-April when they planted the last vines, a cooling system which uses a contemporary and innovative approach (ice bank) to provide enough cooling water for air-conditioning thus reducing electric energy use by estimated 30% and the renovated footpath to the Castle called Turns (Ovinki).
The Ljubljana Castle Institute is expectiung the economic result for 2016 will be aligned with the financial plan although overall revenue generated will be higher than planned. The founder allocated 170,000 EUR worth of funding to cover programme costs. The City of Ljubljana contributes its share for salaries (for 20 out of 42 employees) and part of material costs, and the Institute covers the difference from its own resources. The Institute is projecting a minimum excess of revenue over the expenditure for 2016; the anticipated overall revenue generated will be 4,360,000 EUR. Detailed information on the performance of the Institute will be made known with the final annual account.
In 2017 the Castle continues with its established cultural and artistic programme. Two important anniversaries this year have to be highlighted as events in diverse programme areas are linked to them. First is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the second the 60th anniversary of the death of the architect Jožete Plečnik who also left his mark on the Ljubljana Castle. Exhibitions, thematic lectures, guided tours, a musical installation and pedagogical programmes are planned within the scope of both projects.
As far as investments in 2017 are concerned (in line with the resources made available by our founder, that is, investor – the City of Ljubljana), the conclusion of the renovation of the Plečnik Hall is planned which will be rented out for commercial purposes and used for own cultural and artistic programmes.
In the field of tourism new adventure guided tours are going to be introduced in spring titled Behind the Castle Bars presenting the history of punishment at the Ljubljana Castle which will, in addition to the Time Machine guided tour and audio tours, offer new opportunities to explore the rich castle history. To make the tourist offer more varied and introduce a new innovative way of familiarizing the diverse audience with the cultural heritage of the castle the »Escape Castle« concept is planned, a fun adventure game with elements of the »Escape Room«.
The public institute Ljubljana Castle will continue to follow its development guidelines in tourism, making sure the castle and its surroundings are clean and well-managed, its staff friendly and its programmes diverse, so that domestic and foreign visitors can enjoy their day at the Ljubljana Castle and on the Castle Hill.