Žale Cemetery is one of the most famous European cemeteries. Plečnik's Žale is a cultural monument of national significance and is currently in the process of being inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The funeral complex of Plečnik's Žale has also been awarded the European Heritage Label based on an intergovernmental initiative. Visiting the cemetery thus makes for a very special experience.
Important European cemeteries, such as the Žale Cemetery, are no longer merely fenced areas for the burial and remembrance of the deceased. Quite the opposite, in fact, they are also part of cultural heritage, they are parks, tourist attractions and places that bring together the present and the past, art and nature. They are an important part of our culture, history and art. They are open-air museums and are full of works created by famous sculptors, architects and other artists. The Žale Cemetery boasts many gravestones designed by the best Slovenian artists and architects, such as Lojze Dolinar, brothers France and Tone Kralj, Ivan Vurnik, Tine Kos, brothers Boris and Zdenko Kalin, Edvard Ravnikar, Janez Boljka and many others. Apart from the intimate stories of ordinary people, cemeteries tell the story of cities' attitude to culture, history and all things beautiful. The Žale Cemetery also tells the story of Slovenia and its people, as a number of public figures – prominent individuals from Slovenia's past, poets, writers, actors, actresses, athletes and politicians – have been laid to rest here.
For many years now, the company ŽALE, d.o.o. has been facing an important challenge of how to preserve heritage and tradition, while also implementing new technologies and promoting tourism. We have been actively involved in the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe (ASCE) since its inception in 2001. The City of Ljubljana is one of its founding members.
THE HISTORY OF ŽALE CEMETERY
The cemetery's great artistic value is, of course, largely due to the work of the famed Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, who designed the funeral parlour complex next to the cemetery in the 1930s. The cemetery buildings were built just before World War II, after the end of the war, however, they stood desolate and were left in a run-down state for a long time. In the early 1990s, they were restored to its former glory following a professional renovation in charge of which was Plečnik's student, Vlasto Kopač. The advancements in the funeral and cemetery field resulted in the need for new premises, so Kerševan's Žale Cemetery was built some time later. Due to the growing city of Ljubljana and the consequent increasing need for a sufficient number of graves, the municipality in cooperation with the architect Marko Mušič also built a monumental ‘city of the dead’ on the other side of Tomačevska Road.
In cooperation with the Ljubljana Tourist Information Centre (TIC), free guided tours of the Žale Cemetery are available from March to October.
VIRTUAL CEMETERY TOURS
You can tour all our cemeteries virtually from the comfort of your home. All the virtual tours are of excellent quality and will thus be of interest to students, professionals and other curious minds alike.