Anže Godec Photographer

METELKOVA – Army complex from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It lies by Metelkova street in the center of Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was abandoned in the early 1990s when Yugoslavia collapsed. Since then many clubs and galleries were formed. In the south part of the old barracs we can find Museum of Contemporary Art, National museum and Ethnographic Museum. Northern part was occupied by artists who set up studios in buildings which were renovated in strong artistic notes. This part of Metelkova is the most known among locals and tourists.

Whole complex is today protected as unique cultural heritage and simply called “Metelkova”.

Photo essay was produced in 2016/17 and was published in National Geographic Slovenia in October 2017.

Different artists in their studios. From painters, carpenters, sculptors, welders, etc.

Part of military barracks was also a prison – now turned into one of the most interesting hostels in the world, where you can sleep in what used to be prison cells.

Yanet is a part of the housekeeping staff working in Hostel Celica. She moved to Slovenia from Cuba after she met her husband who is Slovene.

Terrah smoking a cigarette in his studio in “pešaki” building. Terrah was the first self-proclaimed mayor of Metelkova.

The southern part is full of large even surfaces and is a shelter to one of many subcultures of Metelkova – Skaters.

Club Tiffany is a gay club and a safe space for the LGBT community; One of the major yearly events is a Pride parade for which they organised a drag show fundraiser.

Slovenian Ethnographic Museum offers unique insight into once bursting handcrafts. Eva Peterson Lenassi is leading the museums pottery studio where visitors can try out and take a pottery lesson.

A small part of Slovenian National Museum is also located on Metelkova where they keep large archives of paintings in an underground depot. Dr. Mateja Kos is the museum’s curator for paintings, ceramics and sculptures.

Every weekend and sometimes also during week Metelkova turns into what it is best known for – a party venue. Lots of different clubs attract different subcultures from punks, metalheads, electronic enthusiasts, etc.

MSUM hosts different contemporary art exhibitions as well as diverse poetry and art talks. Esad Babačić and Peter Mlakar, both Slovenian public figures, in a deep conversation on an evening of Punk poetry; a debate about the influence of the 80s punk lyrics and how they sound in today’s political and social context.