Congress Square
Congress Square is one of the central squares in Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

, the capital of Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...


The square was built in 1821 at the site of the ruins of a medieval Capuchin
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

 monastery, which had been abolished during the reign of Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 Emperor Joseph II
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

. The square was used for ceremonial purposes during the Congress of Ljubljana
Congress of Laibach
The Congress of Laibach was a conference of the allied sovereigns or their representatives, held in 1821 as part of the so-called Concert of Europe, which was the decided attempt of the Great Powers to settle international problems after the Napoleonic Wars through discussion and collective weight...

, after which it was named. After the congress, a park was laid out in the center of the square, which soon acquired the name Star Park due to its layout. During the communist period
Socialist Republic of Slovenia
The Socialist Republic of Slovenia was a socialist state that was a constituent country of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1943 until 1990...

 it was renamed to Revolution Square and few years later to Liberation Square , but the local population continued to use the old name. In 1990, it regained its original name.
The square has had a highly symbolic role in modern Slovenian history
History of Slovenia
The history of Slovenia chronicles the period of the Slovene territory from the 5th Century BC to the present times. In the Early Bronze Age, Proto-Illyrian tribes settled an area stretching from present-day Albania to the city of Trieste. The Holy Roman Empire controlled the land for nearly 1,000...

. On October 29, 1918, independence from Austrian-Hungarian rule and the establishment of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
The State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was a short-lived state formed from the southernmost parts of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy after its dissolution at the end of the World War I by the resident population of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs...

 was proclaimed during a mass demonstration on the square. In May 1945, the Yugoslav
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

 Communist leader Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

 first visited Slovenia after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  and held a speech on the balcony of the University of Ljubljana
University of Ljubljana
The University of Ljubljana is the oldest and largest university in Slovenia. With 64,000 enrolled graduate and postgraduate students, it is among the largest universities in Europe.-Beginnings:...

, which faces the square. On June 22, 1988, the first free mass demonstration was held on the square demanding the release of four Slovene journalists imprisoned by the Yugoslav army
The JBTZ trial, also known as the Ljubljana trial or the Trial against the Four was a political trial held in a military court in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia in 1988...

. The demonstration marked the beginning of the Slovenian spring which culminated in the declaration of Slovenia's independence on June 25, 1991. Independence was first demanded in the May Declaration, written by the Slovenian democratic opposition and signed by numerous civil society movements; the declaration was first publicly read by the poet Tone Pavček
Tone Pavček
Tone Pavček was one of the most influential Slovene poets, translators and essayists from the first post-war generation. He published a number of collections of poetry, well received by readers and critics alike...

 in a demonstration on Congress Square on May 8, 1989. In 1999 Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 became the first U.S. president to visit Slovenia. On June 21, he publicly addressed the crowd gathered on Congress Square, quoting the opening verses of the Slovenian national anthem
Zdravljica or Zdravica, written in 1844, is a poem by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren, considered the national poet of Slovenes. Since 27 September 1989, its 7th stanza has been the national anthem of Slovenia....


Buildings and monuments

Several important buildings face the square. Among them, there is the early Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity
Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity
Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity is a church in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It was built between 1718 and 1726 in the Baroque style ....

, the Kazina building, one of the few Neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 buildings remaining in Ljubljana after the earthquake of 1895, the Slovenian Philharmonic building, and the rectorate of the University of Ljubljana
University of Ljubljana
The University of Ljubljana is the oldest and largest university in Slovenia. With 64,000 enrolled graduate and postgraduate students, it is among the largest universities in Europe.-Beginnings:...

, formerly the seat of the Provincial Diet of the Duchy of Carniola
Duchy of Carniola
The Duchy of Carniola was an administrative unit of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy from 1364 to 1918. Its capital was Ljubljana...

. The prestigious Slovenska matica
Slovenska matica
Slovenska matica , also known as Matica slovenska, is the second-oldest publishing house in Slovenia, founded in the 19th century as an institution for the scholarly and cultural progress of Slovenes...

publishing house also has its seat on the square.

During the Austro-Hungarian period, a monument to the Austrian
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 General Joseph Radetzky, who was married to a Carniola
Carniola was a historical region that comprised parts of what is now Slovenia. As part of Austria-Hungary, the region was a crown land officially known as the Duchy of Carniola until 1918. In 1849, the region was subdivided into Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and Inner Carniola...

n noblewoman and lived in Ljubljana in the last years of his life, stood in the park on the square. The monument was removed in 1919 and placed in the National Museum
National Museum of Slovenia
The National Museum of Slovenia is located in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It is situated in the Center district of the city near the Tivoli Park....


In the late 1930s, the square was renovated by the prominent Slovene architect Jože Plečnik
Jože Plecnik
Jože Plečnik , was a Slovene architect who practised in Vienna, Belgrade, Prague and Ljubljana.-Biography:...

. New trees on the park were planted, most of which are still there today. In 1940, an equestrian statue of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Alexander I , also known as Alexander the Unifier was the first king of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as well as the last king of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes .-Childhood:...

 created by the architect Lojze Dolinar was erected in the middle of the square. In 1941, the statue was removed by the Fascist Italian
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 occupation forces. In 1954, after the formal annexation of Zone B of the Free Territory of Trieste
Free Territory of Trieste
The Free Territory of Trieste was to be a city-state situated in Central Europe between northern Italy and Yugoslavia, created by the United Nations Security Council in the aftermath of World War II and provisionally administered by an appointed military governor commanding the peacekeeping United...

 to Yugoslavia, an anchor of the Italian ocean liner SS Rex
SS Rex
The SS Rex was an Italian ocean liner launched in 1931. It held the westbound Blue Riband between 1933 and 1935. Originally built for the Navigazione Generale Italiana as the SS Guglielmo Marconi, its state-ordered merger with the Lloyd Sabaudo line meant that the ship sailed for the newly created...

, sunk near Koper during World War II, was placed in the park to symbolize victory over Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

In general, expansionism consists of expansionist policies of governments and states. While some have linked the term to promoting economic growth , more commonly expansionism refers to the doctrine of a state expanding its territorial base usually, though not necessarily, by means of military...

 and the union of the Slovenian Littoral
Slovenian Littoral
The Slovenian Littoral is a historical region of Slovenia. Its name recalls the historical Habsburg crown land of the Austrian Littoral, of which the Slovenian Littoral was a part....

 with the rest of Slovenia.

Several other monuments also stand on the square: Jože Plečnik's memorial to the women who protested against the political imprisonment of Slovene patriots during the Italian occupation of the Province of Ljubljana
Province of Ljubljana
The Province of Ljubljana was a province of the Kingdom of Italy and of the Nazi German Adriatic Littoral during World War II. It was created on May 3, 1941 from territory occupied and annexed to Italy after the Axis invasion and dissolution of Yugoslavia, and it was abolished on May 9, 1945, when...

, a fountain with drinking water designed by the architect Boris Kobe, and a replica of a golden Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 monument found among the ruins of Emona
Emona or Aemona, short for Colonia Iulia emona, was a Roman castrum founded in 14-15 AD, possibly by the Legio XV Apollinaris , on a territory already populated by ancient settlers of uncertain origin...

. A Biedermeier
In Central Europe, the Biedermeier era refers to the middle-class sensibilities of the historical period between 1815, the year of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and 1848, the year of the European revolutions...

A bandstand is a circular or semicircular structure set in a park, garden, pier, or indoor space, designed to accommodate musical bands performing concerts...

 from the 1830s also stands in the park.

In December 2004 the artist Matej Andraž Vogrinčič
Matej Andraz Vogrincic
Matej Andraz Vogrinčič is a Slovenian artist. He has been creating site-specific work in urban and natural environments since the early 1990s. He has built an international reputation by creating installations specific to local places, traditions, and histories – filling the most ordinary or...

set up an "Enchanted Forest" in the square consisting of 1,000 potted fir trees. The trees were later donated to the Slovene Forestry Institute, which used them to reforest areas in the north-west of the country
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