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Ljubljana, Slovenia

Stara Elektrarna (The Old Power Station)

A relic from the Industrial Revolution got a second life as a contemporary performing arts space. 

Stara Elektrarna, the old power station in Ljubljana, has gone through plenty of modifications, upgrades, and enlargements since it was built in 1898. It was the capital city’s first power plant and continued producing electricity until the 1940s when its obsolete technology was replaced by a heating plant on the edge of town.

Parts of the plant were brought back into service in the 1960s, and today it continues to produce a third of the city’s electricity. But it also serves a more creative, modern function: as an authentic industrial background for the performing arts in Slovenia.

Artists began displaying work in the unused parts of the power station building in the 1980s, and in 1998 the Ministry of Culture began renovations to make those areas even more conducive to the arts. Bunker, a nonprofit performing arts organization, was awarded management of those parts of the building in 2004 by the city, which was looking to remedy the lack of rehearsal spaces in the area.

The 2004, Mladi Levi (Young Lions) festival of contemporary performing arts marked the official opening of the program. Bunker’s program for Stara Elektrarna divides the power station into three sections: rehearsals and residencies, educational workshops and seminars, and performances. It hosts theatre and dance productions, concerts, and other events backdropped the industrial space. The plant’s chimney, over 300-feet tall, features a gallery, alongside equipment for monitoring coal exhaust.

Know Before You Go

Opening hours: Depends on events.

Tickets: Available one hour before the show in ticket office on the location.