Nebotičnik means skyscraper in Slovene, and is also the name given to what was the tallest building in the Balkans when it was completed in 1933. However, anyone looking for this celebrated structure without knowing more than this is likely to walk by it on Slovenska cesta without giving a second glance. At only 70m tall, Nebotičnik is perhaps the smallest skyscraper you’ll ever see, although it should be noted that the tallest building in today’s downtown Ljubljana, the Hotel InterContinental that opened in 2017, is not much bigger, with the castle still dominating the city.
View of the city from Hotel Lev in the 1960s, with Nebotičnik on the right. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
That said, the appeal of Nebotičnik is based on more than its size, as its clean lines and art deco flourishes give it a solid elegance that anchors this part of town, which has many similar, if smaller, buildings from the same era, as well as more colourful Secessionist works, as seen along the nearby Miklošičeva cesta.
The building was constructed from 1930-1933. The lead architect on the project was Vladimir Šubic, who also designed the two neighbouring buldings, as well as Delavska zbornica (Chamber of Labour) at 28 Miklošičeva cesta, which is now the home to The Slovenian Cinematheque, aka Kinoteka.
Construction work viewed from one end of Slovenska cesta... Photo: Wikimedia Commons
...and from the other. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The building was designed to have shops on the ground floor, then offices and apartments, with a cafe and terrace on the top, a plan that's still followed to this day.
1930s view from Nebotičnik, looking towards Gosposvetska cesta. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The picture below shows the Main Post Office on Slovenska cesta, as well as the tram service, which ran from 1901 to 1958.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The top of Nebotičnik still houses a café, along with a lounge bar, and the terrace is worth the elevator ride up for the views alone, with the space itself celebrated in a popular song from the 1960s, Mala Terasa (Little Terrace), by the group Bele Vrane, shown singing it below in front of another building in the spa town of Rogaška Slatina.