The first major excavations of Emona
Major restoration works carried out in Ljubljana over the last two decades, along with the rescue excavations that accompanied them, have again put Emona, our capital’s Roman predecessor, in the spotlight. Once more we have seen that almost everywhere in Ljubljana we have Roman remains beneath our feet.
When did the first major archaeological excavations of Emona take place?
The first major excavations of Emona were carried out in and around Mirje between 1909 and 1912. These revealed the entire southern section of the Roman city, attracting huge public attention. Even though it was already known that Ljubljana had originally been a Roman city, this first proper excavation, carried out by Walter Schmid, was a fascinating unearthing of the past. It was the first time that the full extent of Emona was revealed more or less as we know it to be today, and people were as excited about it then as we are today.
Having been reminded that their city could boast an ancient heritage, Ljubljanans began to see the tourist, commercial and political potential of Emona. Influential citizens, led by the conservator France Stele and the famous architect Jože Plečnik, saw Emona as an important element in the restoration of Ljubljana’s fortunes: one that, at a crucial moment in the city’s history, could strengthen its claim to be the nation’s capital.
The City Museum contains just one exhibit linked to these first excavations, but it is an important one: a model of Emona as it was known at the time.
Made in around 1930, this model was first put on display at the Ljubljana Trade Fair, a major exhibition that aimed to attract foreign tourists to Slovenian cities. After being kept at the City Hall for several years, it now forms part of the permanent collection at the City Museum, the venue that records show it was originally made for.
Even though the model is now nearly 100 years old and is made of organic materials, it is still as good as new.
City Museum of Ljubljana, Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Represented by: Blaž Peršin
Curator of the exhibition and author of texts: Bernarda Županek
Text editing: Urša Karer
Conservation: Tadeja Kajzar Trajkovski, Helena Valentin Konjedic, Katarina Toman Kracina
Object handling: Janja Gojkovič
Photographs by: Andrej Peunik, Matevž Paternoster, Matija Lukić, Marijan Slabe, Srečo Habič, Gianluca Baronchelli
Scanning: Matej Satler, Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica (NUK)
Exhibition and graphic design: Bojan Lazarevič (Agora Proars)
Language editing (SLO): Katja Paladin
Translation into English: Marjana Karer
Language editing (ANG): Paula Kirby
Promotion: Urša Karer, Nejc Kovačič
Realisation of the exhibition: O.K.vir, Conservation and Technical service MGML
Mondays, 1 January, 1 November and 25 December: Closed
Adults: 6 € / Reduced: 4 €
Family ticket: 14 €
ICOM, PRESS, SMD, turist guides with licence, turist card URBANA: Free entry
Heritage of Emona connects to the heritage of the Danubian provinces of the ancient Roman Empire.
Ljubljana museums’ collective special offer for the summer: 1 ticket to 11 museums