It’s not every day you stay in a prison for the night. And it’s not every day you stay behind actual bars.
For those of you that know me, you know I’m fascinated by prisons and that I love watching shows like Locked Up and crazy prison documentaries. Okay, maybe I’m weird, but something about them is so interesting!
So, when I got the opportunity to stay at Hostel Celica, an old Yugoslavian military prison in Ljubljana, Slovenia, I was beyond excited.
Not only did Hostel Celica used to be a Yugoslavian prison, but it was also run by many other countries that occupied Slovenia. Now it has since been turned into an artsy hostel located in the hip Metelkova district. Oh, and in case you’re wondering like I was, ‘celica’ means ‘cell’.
When I got off the bus from Vienna it was pouring rain in Ljubljana, but the hostel was only a 10 minute walk from the bus station. I opted to make the walk since it was so close and once I arrived I knew I was going to love the hostel.
First of all, Hostel Celica is located in the Metelkova district that can be best described as one of the coolest and funkiest places in Europe. Metelkova is a mini city inside of the city of Ljubljana that used to be miliatry barracks and part of the prison.
It has now been transormed into an artsy area where students, activists, artists, designers and punks hang out. People are free to express themselves in this district without having to worry about dealing much with law enforcement. Within it’s walls you’ll find galleries, LGBT bars, clubs and other funky spots including Hostel Celica. When the rest of Ljubljana closes down, most residents come to this area to let loose and get their party on.
I couldn’t believe the amount of graffiti covering the area. SO COOL!
When I walked in, the hostel was lively and bustling with people. I checked in and was sooo anxious to see my cell. Part of me was nervous for some reason? But when I walked up to my cell, I couldn’t believe how cool it was.
Each of the cells in the hostel were designed by different artists who each had a different take on a certain theme. Apparently the one I stayed in was the most ‘unique”. If you check out my cell and the others on the site you’ll see that it definitely stands out from the rest! I even got a circular lifted bed so that was cool. You can see all of the other cell designs here.
They haven’t changed anything about any of the cells except for the artistic decor in each one. The sizes of the cells are still the same as are the windows.
My cell may not look you’re actually in prison except for the prison gate, but the hallway sure lets you know that you’re in a former prison.
In case this hostel wasn’t cool enough, they also have a meditation room on the first floor!
And awesome mosaic art all throughout the hostel.
Here’s the main room/hang out area that had a bit of a bohemian feel to it.
They also have a restaurant where locals and tourists tend to come and eat and each night they have a different hostel activity. Most nights have something to do with food, drinking and music. Every Tuesday they have a live Slovenian band followed by a jam session.
The basement was quite possibly the spookiest part. I tried to delay having to go down there because I scare easily 🙂
Prisoners were kept down here in solitary confinement and it was small and damp down there. On the stairs coming up they’ve placed plaques that display the history of the prison through the decades. It’s worth going down the stairs and reading what the prison has gone through in each decade.
Even though the basement was scary, the overall stay at Hotel Celica was awesome! I slept great in my cell and had an incredible 3 nights in Ljubljana.
What do you think? Would you stay in a prison cell in an old Yugoslavian prison?
Thank you to the kind staff of Hostel Celica for hosting me while in Ljubljana! As always, reviews and opinions are my own.