Another record year for Ljubljana Castle
In 2017, the Ljubljana Castle again registered a record number of visitors – there were as many as 1,373,319, and the funicular exceeded the 500,000 passengers per year mark for the first time.
»The sixth year of operation of the public institute Ljubljana is deemed successful,« stressed the CEO Mateja Avbelj Valentan. In 2017, the crossing counters recorded 1,373,319 visitors (126,496 more than in the previous year). There were eight months when over 100,000 people visited the Ljubljana Castle, which means the »main« tourist season is getting longer. The funicular, which brought the third millionth passenger to the castle already in May, transferred a total of 501,571 passengers last year, which is 21.41 % more than in the same period in 2016; on 9 December 2017, a new daily record for transported passengers was also set – 3428 in one day. In 2017, among visitors included in the statistics of sold tourist tickets 29.80 % were domestic and 70.20 % foreign. Foreign visitors come predominately from Italy, Great Britain, Germany, United States of America, Spain, France, Korea, the Netherlands and Croatia.
Within the framework of regular and irregular tour hours 1271 different guided tours were conducted with 17,194 people taking part. 40,003 audio guides were handed out, enabling participation in Slovenian and thirteen foreign languages. Tourist services have been enriched with a new adventure guided tour on the history of punishment at the Castle titled Behind Bars introduced in April and before the end of the year with a new game with elements of the »Escape Room« called Castle Escape.
Plans for 2018
In 2018, the Ljubljana Castle intends to continue with its established activities in the cultural and artistic area and introduce new ones. The common thread of this year’s programmes is the most recognisable symbol of Ljubljana and the Ljubljana Castle – the dragon, and some of the events are going to be linked to the 100th anniversary of the death of Ivan Cankar.
The programme is going to include numerous artistic fields with some highlighted events: in the art and gallery field the thematic exhibition Dragon of all Dragons, the exhibition of illustrations by Lila Prap Dragons and the photographic exhibition by the established photographer Giampaolo Sgura; in the field of music the festival Godibodi held for the tenth consecutive year, this year moving to the Ljubljana Castle, and the continuation of jazz nights held every Friday in the v Rock Hall; in the educational field the dragon science academy and stories for adults; and in the performance area a new show for children Zmajelovščina (Dragonventure) written by Žiga X Gombač.
Traditional events, with their content based primarily on the stories of Slovenian nationalism or stories directly or strongly linked to the Ljubljana Castle, are going to continue and build upon the stories of the castle vine, the castle pipers and celebrate the awakening of spring on St. Gregory’s Day. There is also plenty of diversity within the programmes of the 8th Castle Days in mid-May and the Dragon Festival in the beginning of September.
Again this year the most visited and popular summer open-air events will certainly include the Film Under the Stars – summer film theatre (in cooperation with Kinodvor), Panč (in cooperation with Ceh za smeh) and the Comedy under the Stars (in cooperation with Gustav film d. o. o.), as well as dance and music evenings under the stars and concerts within the framework of the Castle Music festival.
As far as investments in 2018 are concerned, the completion of the wine shop and the premises for pedagogical programmes under the Castle Café is planned. Using their own funds the premises of the former Rustika gallery are going to be renovated with the modern sales and information centre of the Ljubljana Castle moving in.
The public institute Ljubljana Castle will continue to follow its development guidelines in tourism, putting cultural heritage in the forefront again this year and 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.