Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, is known for being one of the greenest cities in Europe. One of the perks of Slovenia’s small size is the fact that, if you are in the capital and wish for a short hike or a day spent in nature, you don’t really have to travel very far. One of Ljubljana’s popular hiking destinations - Mount Saint Mary is located on the outskirts of the city and attracts locals as well as tourists to have a nice walk or an exercise in nature. Even though the most attractive starting point leading to the top of Mount Saint Mary (Tacen) is located just 20-minute drive by car, or a 30-minute drive by public transport, there is another, slightly lower hill, located even closer to the city centre. I am talking about Rožnik Hill, with two famous peaks.
Rožnik Hill itself is a part of the Tivoli City Park in Ljubljana, where a large number of the capital’s residents go to exercise or relax during hot summer days. The first peak on Rožnik Hill is called Šiška Hill and was named after the most populous district of Ljubljana (Šiška), in which the hill is also located. The other, Cankar Peak, was named after the greatest Slovenian writer, Ivan Cankar, who used to live in an inn located on the hill. A Cankar monument is standing on top of the hill and a small memorial room dedicated to the writer is also located in the building opposite the inn. Cankar Peak is also known for a pilgrimage church with a red facade, called the Visitation of Mary Church or cerkev Marijinega obiskanja. The first version of the church was supposedly built in the 16th century, but it was later demolished and replaced by a new Baroque building, built in the 18th century.
Rožnik Hill is a very popular gathering spot, especially at the time of the celebration of Labour Day in Slovenia. On the evening before the 1st of May, a bonfire party called “kresovanje” is organised at the destination, specifically on Cankar Hill, and a large bonfire is lit on the grounds in front of the Visitation of Mary Church. Other events and ceremonies are also organized there during the year, for example, the blessing of horses in front of the church on St. Stephen’s Day, the 26th of December. If you get hungry, you can have a warm local meal or a drink at the restaurant called Gostilna Rožnik on top of Cankar Hill. This is also the same building in which Ivan Cankar lived from 1910 until 1917.
The path to either of Rožnik Hill’s peaks is simple and not demanding, lasting around 15-20 minutes. There are a lot of official and unofficial paths and starting points you can choose from, most of them leading through green forests and small meadows. This hiking destination, located in the centre of Ljubljana is an attractive spot for local hikers and runners and the perfect chance for you to get to know a different and greener side of our capital.
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