Former Mayors of Ljubljana Viktorija Potočnik and Zoran Janković with Ljubljana Castle Public Institute Director Mateja Avbelj Valentan. Photo: Nik Rovan
The concept of a funicular to Ljubljana Castle goes back a very long way. As far back as 1897 Mayor Ivan Hribar in a letter to the then Austro-Hungarian authorities on his initiative for the repurchase of Ljubljana Castle and including an agreement for an inspection regarding the construction of a lift wrote: "The Castle would have many visitors, particularly on summer evenings, since the view from these premises is charmingly beautiful and since the existing shadowy courtyard could be well used to attract visitors who will pay ten kreutzers or a smaller fare if only we build an elevator to the top".
The concept of a funicular to Ljubljana Castle was also carried forward by architects Plečnik, Kobe and Mihevc, while the final project which led to the current funicular railway was launched in 2005.
The City of Ljubljana decided to link Ljubljana Castle with the old city centre using urban passenger transport equipment – a panoramic cabin. On the basis of spatial and design requirements in the sensitive location and the given topography the best solution was proven to be a funicular railway.
Ljubljana Festival, which managed Ljubljana Castle up to the beginning of 2011, acquired an operating permit on 22 December 2006 and the funicular railway began operating on 28 December 2006.
In its first six days, a total of 31,250 passengers travelled up or down, and in 2010 the funicular saw its millionth user.
From statistical data, 2011 saw the largest number of passengers by month. In August 2011, the funicular carried a total of 44,485 passengers, the largest single monthly usage. In addition to the monthly record, August 2011 also saw the daily record – on 20 August 2011 the funicular carried a total of 2,137 passengers.
Using the funicular is friendly to the environment, nature and the passenger. The cabin holds a total of 33 people, the journey time from the lower and upper stations is one minute, with a height differential of 69.70 metres. The funicular goes every 10 minutes, and so can carry 500 people an hour up to Ljubljana Castle.
The funicular operates every day of the year, in winter (from October to February) from 10am to 9pm and in summer (from March to September) from 9am to 11pm. The operating time can be extended when there are events or by prior arrangement.