(I didn’t get a chance to share this back when we were in Slovenia last year, but you know how I love abandoned and repurposed places – so here’s one from Ljubljana!)
When Slovenia gained independence from Yugoslavia 1991, an old military barracks in the heart of Ljubljana was abandoned—and the squatters moved on in.
They brought with them not dirt or danger or any of the stereotypes the word “squatters” might inspire but rather art and activism and community.
Today, what was once a place tied to war is now a giant art piece, a social gathering place, and a home to many. Wander the old barracks and you’ll find art tucked into every square inch. Sleeping dinosaurs with leaves growing from their spines, walls full of bright pink squid and jellyfish, gates made from old bicycle parts, and boxes overflowing with flowers.
The Slovenian government has tried to take this art community down a time or two, but artists, activists, and protestors have always taken to the streets and stopped the tear-down plans so far.
How can you find your way here? Ask a local (hint: it’s near the Ljubljana train station). To learn more, check out Atlas Obscura’s take.