Snowy Ljubljana

Snow in BS7, December 1983, photo credit: Dragan Arrigler, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary Histroy.
Snow in BS7, December 1983. Photo credit: Dragan Arrigler. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary Histroy.

When we recently posted a photo on our Instagram profile of children enjoying the joys of winter amid the Šiška residential block neighbourhood the responses were overwhelming. Someone wrote: “A lot has changed… But when the snow falls, you see exactly the same child’s joy as 40 years ago…”

It’s true, when the snow falls, the slopes amid Ljubljana’s residential block neighbourhoods are full of playful children sledding, having snowball fights, making snowmen and igloos. Meanwhile, adults grab their shovels and remove snow from the yards and paths. Snow in Ljubljana evokes the community spirit and brings lots of joy to children, so despite the cold, the atmosphere is warm. It also brings peace and a feeling of not being in a hurry, so that the world can stand still for a while. Besides, snowy Ljubljana is also very charming and photogenic, like a city in a winter fairy tale.

I think that, despite some troubles, the people of Ljubljana are grateful for snowy winters, which have unfortunately become rarer in recent years. I also think that Ljubljana has the identity of a winter city. But it’ s not just about the snow, which has become scarcer in recent years, it is also about the mentality of the inhabitants, who will look for snow where it is and engage in winter sports and all that winter brings with it. It is also about the fact that, when the snow starts falling, the people of Ljubljana will find more reasons to rejoice and less to be upset about the inconvenience it causes. Furthermore, Ljubljana’s skyline is adorned with the snow-capped Alps, so we can see snow all winter long, even if there is none in the city itself.

The National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia has dug out for us some photos of Ljubljana winters in the past. Some of them show images that we don’t see in the city anymore – for instance, ski jumping, skiing from the castle hill or a tram in the snow. Some show heavily snowy winters, the kind that do not exist anymore. The first two photos show, for example, the winter of 1951/1952, the snowiest ever in our region. In mid-February, 146 centimetres of snow fell, people dug tunnels all over the city to move around, and were jumping into the streets right out of their windows. Some of the photos were not taken in winter, although they show winter scenes. For example, here is a photograph of a football match in mid-April, when it was snowing. It is not known how the footballers ended up on the snow-covered field and what the result was. Typical images of winter fun amid the residential block neighbourhoods are photographs taken on Bratovševa ploščad and Savsko naselje.

Ljubljana, 1952. Photo credit: Sani Jesenovec. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.
Ljubljana, 1952, photo credit: Sani Jesenovec, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Group snow shovelling, Ljubljana, 1952, photo credit Sandi Jesenovec, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Group snow shovelling, Ljubljana, 1952. Photo credit Sandi Jesenove. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Snow, Ljubljana, 1961, photo credit Marjan Ciglič, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Snow, Ljubljana, 1961. Photo credit Marjan Ciglič. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Skiing and sledding at Ljubljana Castle, 1962, photo credit: Edi Šelhaus, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Skiing and sledding at Ljubljana Castle, 1962. Photo credit: Edi Šelhaus. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Ljubljana, December 1962, photo credit: Marjan Ciglič, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Ljubljana, December 1962. Photo credit: Marjan Ciglič. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Ljubljana, February 1963, photo credit Marjan Ciglič, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Ljubljana, February 1963. Photo credit Marjan Ciglič. Kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Ljubljana, 1968, photo credit Svetozar Busić, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Ljubljana, 1968. Photo credit Svetozar Busić. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Unexpected April snow didn't stop the players from playing football at the Plečnik Stadium, Ljubljana, April 1970, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Unexpected April snow didn’t stop the players from playing football at the Plečnik Stadium, Ljubljana, 1970. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Snow Ljubljana, March 1976, photo credit Marjan Ciglič, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Snow Ljubljana, March 1976. Photo credit Marjan Ciglič. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Children having a snowball fight, Ljubljana, 1979, photo credit Miško Kranjec, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Children having a snowball fight, Ljubljana, 1979. Photo credit Miško Kranjec. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Snow BS7, Ljubljana, December 1983, photo credit: Dragan Arrigler, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Snow BS7, Ljubljana, December 1983. Photo credit: Dragan Arrigler. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Ljubljana, January 1985. photo credit Marjan Ciglič, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Ljubljana, January 1985. Photo credit Marjan Ciglič. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.

 

Ljubljana, January 1987, photo credit Marjan Ciglič, kept in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
Ljubljana, January 1987. Photo credit Marjan Ciglič. Kept in The National Museum of Contemporary History.
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