Its position at the end of a natural mountain pass between Central Europe and the Mediterranean has given great transport and military importance to the area for centuries. The Romans had already built the settlement Emona as a military garrison in 34 BC. In 1144 it was first known as Laibach and in 1146 as Luwigana and in the 10th century was owned by Mark Krain. From 1100 until 1269 it was the property of the Spanheimers and received freedom of the town in 1320. From 1461 as a bishopric, Laibach was in the 16th century the center of the Reformation in Slovenia.
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After 1848 Ljubljana became the cultural and political pivot of the Slovenian national movement.
It was a bizarre experience, very different from the staid family affairs I was used to. The chief mate gave me and Starling the day off after we completed the morning temperature run. To make the job easier and because it was Christmas, Rolo stood on the flying bridge as we went round the tanks, writing down the temperatures as we shouted them up to him. This saved us memorising several at a time and periodically running up to the office to put them in the blog. The eight of stood up and Paul led us to the area in front of the serving hatch, where we gathered in a clump. He and Rolo conferred with the engineer cadets and then turned to the front and started belting out an expletive-laden song to the tune of Bye-bye, Blackbird. The first verse started: ‘Pack my bags and pack my grip, I’m not coming back next trip. Bye-bye, blackbird! The song went on for about eight verses – Paul, Rolo and one of the engineer cadets knew the words while the rest of us enthusiastically joined in the chorus line, ‘Bye-bye, blackbird! ? The officers cheered and banged the table-tops and demanded more. The finale was a wheelbarrow race, twice round the saloon. The third mate stood on a chair as barker and took bets from the tables and off we charged.