Hotel Celica

  • Investor (key institution): City Municipality of Ljubljana (75.3%), Student Organization of the University of Ljubljana (24.7%)
  • Contact person: Prof. Dr. Irena Ograjenšek,
  • Year of implementation: 2003
  • Implementation venue

  • Country: Slovenia
  • Region: Osrednjeslovenska regija
  • Town: Ljubljana
  • Size of area: 12500 m2
  • Impact: regional

    Total costs: 2000000 EUR

    Source per every institution

    • regional: 1.506.000 EUR
    • other: 494.000 EUR

    Important stakeholders concerned

    • other: City Municipality of Ljubljana, Student Organization of the University of Ljubljana
    1. Improved provision of local cultural and social events.
    2. Improved condition & quality of the public space between the blocks of flats.
    3. Improved support for the development of small business operators in the area of blocks of flats.
    4. Improved attractiveness of the architecture of the socialist buildings.
    5. Improved involvement of the local community in events organized in its quarter.
    6. Identified new functions for structures from the era of socialism in 1945 - 1989).
    1. What forms of cooperation were used as new approaches in the field of rehabilitation and conversion of urban functional areas?
    2. Hostel Celica is housed in the renovated building of a former military prison of the Yugoslav National Army. The investment was a joint venture between the City Municipality of Ljubljana and Student Organization of the University of Ljubljana. The hostel is run by a non-profit organization „Zavod Šouhostel“. Between 2001 and 2003 20 former prison cells have been reconstructed into comfortable hostel rooms. More than 80 national and international artists participated in this creative cell renewal (see for the list of artists). Consequently, each cell is a completely unique and priceless work of art.

    3. Was the building or the space between buildings) identified as a valuable socialist heritage?
    4. The whole Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Center area including the hostel is now registered as immobile cultural heritage with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

    5. What criteria were applied to make this judgment?
    6. The fact that the hostel was created out of the former military prison – that a symbol of the Yugoslav National Army and repression was created into a symbol of openness and understanding.

    7. Was the building or space between buildings) important to local communities and how were they involved in decision-making process about its rehabilitation or conversion?
    8. The local community recognised the need for the capital city of a new country to have a unique youth hostel.

    9. Were attempts made to improve territorial cohesion within the city/town/district? And, if so, how was success on this front gauged?
    10. Yes; during the rebuilding process, which is deemed very successful. The formerly closed military area of Metelkova is now open to general public and the hostel’s appearance visually appealing; in addition, the hostel became a meeting point of different cultures and religions.

    11. Were there attempts to reduced disparities between districts within cities/towns achieved reduced? And, if so, how was success on this front gauged?
    12. The most important success is that the formerly closed military area of Metelkova is now open to general public and the hostel’s appearance visually appealing; in addition, the hostel became a meeting point of different cultures and religions. Also, new jobs were created with the hostel establishment.

    13. Other important facts and comments, e.g. critical review.
    14. Hostel Celica in Ljubljana is rated among the most popular hostels in the world, therefore it is usually booked out long in advance, especially in the summer season. The hostel is situated some 300m from the central bus and train station of Ljubljana. It is less than 10 minutes walk (700m) from the main city square (Prešeren square) which is in the very heart of the city centre. There are 20 different rooms – former prison cells – in the hostel of which each has its own style. These include simple cells, large dormitories for 12 people, and rooms for 4 and 5 people with their own bathroom. By default, the dorms are single gender unless you form your own group. There is an apartment for up to 7 guests and the wheel-chair friendly room is situated on the ground floor. One of the former prison cells was converted into a place for prayer, meditation and contemplation. In the six niches on the walls, the five major world religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism) have their altars and the sixth niche was left empty for all other religions and beliefs of the world. The Point of peace was officially blessed by the highest religious representatives of the before-metioned religious groups in Slovenia. All in all, the hostel represents a very successful example of how a symbol of repression can be sucessfully transformed and revitalised.


    There are more than 6 000 people living in Dědina block of flats. The whole revitalization 3 -phases -process took 4 years and the total cost of the project was 11 200 000 EUR. It is one of the first completely reconstructed block of flats as far as the public spaces in Prague are concerned.

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