Elephant Street

It used to be Slonova ulica, translated as Elephant Street, but was changed in 1892 to Prešern Street. What is today the main pedestrian zone, part of Ljubljana’s promenade to the river, is now called Čop (pronounced: chop) Street or Čopova ulica in Slovene.

Did I just say Elephant street? An elephant in Ljubljana? The story goes back quite far, actually. In times long before our Zoo’s, in the year 1552, a live elephant was stabled at what is now the upper part of the street. Maximillian II was the Archduke of Austria and about to become the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, just  25 years old and recently married to Mary of Spain. On his return from Spain, he brought along one of his wedding presents: an elephant named Suleiman.

In memory of such an exceptional event, hosting an elephant, the first elephant present in the city since Roman times, his slon (elephant, remember?), got a street named after it and later Hotel Slon – which is still here, on this street.

The former Elephant street recently got a new look. It was thoroughly renovated this past summer, so next time you walk along Čop Street check out the new pavement made of a special Tonalite called Pohorski tonalit (Tonalite from Pohorje), which is the most common Slovenian igneous rock. Don’t forget, nearly all of our country sits on sedimentary rock, so such igneous rock is scarce.

And to literally top off the renovation of Čop Street, next to Hotel Slon, the Slovene national anthem (written by Prešern) is engraved in the pavement.

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