6. Hostel Celica, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Image: Anne Gilmour/Flickr
Taken from “11 cool Hotel Bars Around the World“,
It can only be assumed the original occupants of this Slovenian prison weren’t exactly treated with the warmest hospitality. Initially the barracks housed prisoners of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later on the Yugoslavian Federal Army. After Slovenia claimed its independence in 1991, the future of the building was uncertain: the city wanted to tear it down but artists, who recognized the prison’s cultural history, squatted in the building and ultimately saved it from destruction. After 10 years and huge amounts of work, Hostel Celica opened its doors to travelers in 2003 with the downright heartwarming vision of welcoming strangers into a building that used to confine prisoners, but is now full of art and culture.
While Hostel Celica was being renovated, more then 80 local and international artists were invited to decorate the prison-cells-turned-hostel-rooms, and graffiti artists, muralists, and sculptors have covered most of the exterior with urban art. Even though many of the surfaces have been covered, a few remnants of the original architecture remain, including cell bars on the doors to the all the hostel rooms and two former solitary confinement cells.
Slovenia is still more or less on the backpacker’s trail, so check out Hostel Celica’s Bar and Restaurant if you’re feeling lonesome and want to meet some fellow travelers. It’s located in an atrium in the center of the hostel, is open from 7 am to midnight weekly, and serves local and imported beer, wine, absinthe, and an array of mixed cocktail and shooters. The bar also has a weekly schedule of cute-as-a-button cultural events that happen at night including dancing workshops, jam sessions, and folk music performances.