Cukrarna – a Major New Venue in Ljubljana

Cukrarna, Scapelab by Marko Studen
Cukrarna, Scapelab by Marko Studen

Near the core of Slovenia’s capital, complete renovations are taking place in the building of the old “Sugar Plant” or Cukrarna, as it is known by the locals. The space is destined to become the city’s biggest gallery and a large new special venue.

Traditionally called simply the Old Sugar Plant, the Cukrarna is a historical building close to downtown Ljubljana. From its early days across centuries, it has seen many roles and transformations. Built in 1828 as a sugar processing plant, a great blaze in 1858 interrupted production there. Between 1864 and 1866 it housed soldiers, then operated as a tobacco factory up until 1872 when yet another fire changed its course. During the First World War it served as an army barracks, while the old plant also offered refuge to townsfolk who lost their homes in the devastating Ljubljana earthquake of 1895.

Interestingly, it is also considered the birthplace of late 19th-century Slovenian modernist literature, since numerous impoverished young literati of the time stayed there during some period of their lives, including Murn, Kette, Cankar, Župančič, and many their contemporaries.

New beginnings: gallery and special event venue next to the city’s riverside promenade

In 2022, Ljubljana is set to receive its biggest arts gallery yet, stretching across 2500 square metres and accommodating up to 400 attendees; offering a modern setting suitable for highly demanding international exhibition projects. The new multi-purpose cultural venue will also be dedicated to MICE and education activities. At the same time, it will facilitate even stronger cooperation with foreign partners, with the goal of realizing major shared projects that have thus far not been possible due to insufficient capacities.

As a new modern gallery space, the future Cukrarna venue will broaden the visibility of Ljubljana’s artistic potential, offering networking options with a host of the city’s related institutions as well those beyond Slovenia’s borders. Ljubljana, which has in the recent decade undergone a significant transformation, will further grow with this upgrade promoting the expansion of the urban centre eastwards, adding potential to the surrounding community. The new site is joining the lively range of existing special venues, promising to offer a delightful, cultured event setting.

With its new appearance and content, the old sugar plant is bound to receive a new nickname, while sure to continue speaking fascinating life stories. Stay tuned and find out!


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