Metelkova City – The Slovenian cultural centre in Ljubljana

Metelkova Mesto in Ljubljana

Metelkova City is an autonomous cultural centre in the centre of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The full name in Slovenian is: Avtonomni kulturni Centre Metelkova mesto, which means “Autonomous Cultural Centre Metelkova City”.

The social centre is located on the site of the former barracks (the Slovenian headquarters of the Yugoslav National Army) and was occupied in September 1993. The property consists of seven buildings and has an area of 12,500 m². The squatting is named after the nearby Metelko Street (Slovenian: Metelkova ulica), which is named after the Slovenian Roman Catholic priest, philologist and unsuccessful language reformer Fran Metelko.

A number of activities have already been carried out in Metelkova. This includes an art gallery, bars, artists’ studios, a space for designers, offices of cultural organisations and concerts with live music of various kinds from free jazz, rockabilly, psychobilly, punk rock, heavy metal and noise to dub and techno. Since it has hosted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and antifa activities, Metelkova has been targeted by racist skinheads since 1994.

On 2 August 2006, the Inspectorate for Environment and Spatial Planning finally demolished a building, the Small School (Slovenian: Mala Šola) after several attempts. The rebuilding of the school is planned.

In the beginning, the inhabitants of Metelkova City illegally diverted water from Ljubljana. Today Metelkova is officially connected to the city’s water and electricity grid. The money needed for public utilities is raised by Metelkovas for many bars, concerts and art galleries.