Cankarjev Dom: The Cultural and Congress Center of Ljubljana

If you find yourself in Ljubljana, among the best event places is Cankarjev Dom. Known as the Cankar Hall or Cankar Center, it is the largest Slovenian congress, convention, and cultural center. It is central to many of Ljubljana’s most significant events and houses many different activities you’d surely love.

Cankarjev Dom is known as the Cultural and Congress Center of Slovenia. It is the largest institutional center filled with numerous halls for concerts, theater performances, conferences, and film screenings. There’s always something happening in Cankarjev Dom, so it’s a new world every time.

Are you staying in Ljubljana? A visit to the Cankar Center can be a great time if there’s an event that you want to enjoy. Here’s everything you need to know about Slovenia’s premier cultural center.

The History of Cankarjev Dom

The construction of Cankarjev dom became the most prominent cultural investment of Slovenia in the 20th century. It was built from 1982 to 1983, designed by renowned architect Edvard “Edo” Ravnikar. It has numerous halls and several floors below and above ground. The history of the locale is something well-documented since its inception.

The idea of building a modern events center in Ljubljana came in the mid-1970s. The idea of the installation was to allow top cultural events. It also came from the need to organize scientific conferences, large-scale meetings, educational activities, even a variety of social meetings.

The initial idea for building the Cankarjev dom itself came in November 1975. It came during a meeting of the national committee for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Cankar.

Ivan Cankar is among the most celebrated writers and poets in Slovenia. He is well known to be the father of modernism in Slovenian literature. He is often compared to Franz Kafka and James Joyce, noted to be the greatest Slovenian writer of all time.

Extensive discussions on the idea, urban, programmatic, and financial possibilities took place from then on. From the Socialist Union, Ljubljana City and municipal assemblies, various companies to different administrative bodies, the construction proposal received widespread support.

The Mobilization Of Slovenia For The Cankar Hall Construction

By the spring of 1977, various organizations and companies decided on the construction, program, and project design and working bodies for its implementation. Several locales pushed for the initiative, fighting for its construction.

Five versions of the building design were prepared. Another nine physical locations in various parts of Ljubljana were inspected. Many proposals came through, with as many as 70,000 proposals published.

During the construction, 35 professionally strongest domestic and foreign companies prepared their proposals for individual technical solutions. By the summer of 1977, much of the construction and financial agreement for the center received its much-needed preparation.

By early next year, the Social Agreement on the Construction and Financing of the Ivan Cankar Cultural Center was signed. The entire agreement pushed through, even with the Belgrade ban on investing in social activities was in effect. Groundbreaking started immediately.

By spring of 1980, the building itself received partial construction. The first events started in the Linhart Hall, and by September 1982, all four central halls finished.

On September 23, 1982, the Gallus Hall was opened with a concert by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. The organ for the Cankarjev dom rang for the first time, and the Gallus Hall stage was first used by 1984.

Looking At Cankarjev Dom

The Cankar Hall has four main halls, connected by a large foyer on the upper floor. There’s also a smaller flower on the lower floors, mostly used for artistic performances.

All four primary halls of the Cankarjev dom are named after Slovenia’s four most beloved artists. These include Jacobus Gallus, Anton Tomaž Linhart, Srečko Kosovel, and Bojan Štih.

Jacobus Gallus is a late-Renaissance composer and among the greatest in the country’s history, born during the time of the Habsburgs. Anton Tomaž Linhart was a Carniolan playwright and historian, famous for his theatrical plays.

Srečko Kosovel is considered as one of Central Europe’s major modernist poets, known for his avant-garde constructivist forms. Bojan Štih is among the most influential figures in modern Slovene theater.

Cankar Hall is easily accessible, usually, a few minutes’ walk away from the main city square of Ljubljana. It’s among the busiest institutions in the city, including 250 events every year. Many of these include dance, film, concerts, congresses, and even more.

The Cankarjev dom was initially an eventual additional to Ravnikar’s original plans. His original work prioritized the Republic Square (Trg Republike square). With that said, he tried his best to prevent the building from becoming too tall.


The idea was to improve the vista of the square itself. He wanted as open a vista as possible for Republic Square, so he designed Cankar Hall with such an idea in mind.

Cankarjev Dom has 22 multi-purpose halls and functional spaces. It has a seating capacity of up to 2,000 delegates and handles as many as 5,000 visitors. Its auditorium-style seating makes it a great center for formal cultural events.

Most of the halls went underground. The above-ground part had three wings, a taller area in the middle, and two lower areas on the sides. The facade uses white stone and ornamental decor folds on the sides.

With the monument in the front of the building, the design idea came in the form of a multi-layer metal cube. It depicts the face of Ivan Cankar, physically sculpted by Slavko Tihec.

All The Halls of Cankar Center

The largest hall of Cankarjev dom is the Gallus Hall. It has a varied auditorium on the ground floor. WIth the two balconies, it has the capacity to accommodate up to 1545 visitors.

The second-largest hall of Cankarjev dom is the Gallus Hall with 562 seats, usually the center for theater events. With its amphitheater design, the Stich hall is a special venue with a central stage. It allows for creative audience contact, giving a 360-degree view of audiences and a full circular stage.

Kosovel Hall is a traditional auditorium used for concerts, dance and theater performances, literary meetings, lectures, congresses, presentations, and corporate events. It’s also mostly used for film lovers as a cinema hall, especially for indie film events. 

Dvorana Duše Počkaj is the smallest stage venue in the Cankarjev dom, but also the most intimate. Known as the “black box theater,” it is an art laboratory and an intimate space of countless poetics, which reflect the feelings and thoughts of our time about art, man, and society.

There are many more halls that various events can utilize at the Cankar Hall. From the Klub CD to the Glass Hall Lili Novy to the CD Gallery, there is a location for every size event.

Why Does Ljubljana Love Cankarjev dom?

Why does Ljubljana love Cankarjev dom? To an outsider, the Cankar Hall is another events center. While many countries have gigantic arenas and multiple event centers, Cankar Hall holds the spirit of culture within Slovenes.

Cankar Center is the cultural, artistic, and scientific center of Slovenia. Every event it hosts are something that the people in the center presents, produces, co-produces, and organizes. Every event is there not only to sell tickets but also to enrich the culture within Ljubljana itself.

The Cankarjev dom dedicates more than two-thirds of the available dates in the halls to culture and art every year. Their halls are not only there for pop culture concerts but also to keep the classical spirit of cultural art alive.

Cankarjev dom tries to maintain their role in the cultural activities of Slovenia. Rather than function as a modern function hall, they ensure that the greatest artists and ensembles from all over the world get equal exposure.

The Cankar Hall tries to be active in international artistic co-productions of performing arts.

Cankarjev dom Visitor Tips

What should you remember before you go to Cankar Hall? There are a few details that can help the entire visit easier.

For starters, it’s best to visit the hall’s official website first. The website contains the schedule for the entire year, which gives you a chance to plan what you want to see. Most of the schedule separates into theaters, movies, music, and literature.

The Season Program for Cankar Hall changes every year. So far, the pandemic changed most of the details in the Season Program, but Cankarjev dom will add new information soon.

You would also want to read the visitor information guide on the website, especially if you’re going to a local event. The visitor information is rich with do’s and don’ts when you visit an event. It includes details for latecomers, forgotten items, and even medical assistance during the event.

Cankar Hall also has temporary exhibitions in several of its galleries. Their exhibits are open from Monday to Saturday, from 12 noon to 7 PM. They also have crucial guidelines for visiting the CD gallery, especially for pandemic protection.

If you’re going to visit Cankar Hall multiple times, the CD has the Ivanka card. The Ivanka card works as a ticket payment and privilege card. It offers year-round discounts for different events, which is great for those who can visit more than once a year.


Cankarjev dom is a bastion of Slovenian culture in Ljubljana. With its many cultural events, the Cankar Hall does its best to keep the Slovenian cultural spirit alive. They do their best to enrich the cultural spectrum of modern Slovene.

Are you looking for things to do in Ljubljana? Cankar Hall events are right for you. If you want to do something else, there are more events you can enjoy here. Check out what activities you can do in Ljubljana now.

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