They turned that former prison that once confined people into a welcoming place – a true meeting point of international travelers. The ultimate travel experience in Slovenia, Europe.

The most interesting hotel ideas always come from buildings that saw complete changes in their purpose. This is the case with this spectacular hostel in Slovenia, Europe, whose path from a military prison to a meeting point of travelers is an inspiration and a great reminder that creativity has no limits.

But, let’s start from the very beginning – with the word Celica. If you translate it from Slovenian, you’ll get a clue what this amazing hostel is about. Celica means cell.

The story of this building takes us more than 130 years into the past. It was built in 1883 to be a military prison, in the age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and later on, as Yugoslavia was formed, the prison came into the hands of the Yugoslav Federal Army, where it remained until 1991 when Slovenia claimed its independence.

It gets even more interesting. That same year, the initiative of the Metelkova network aimed to convert the place into a multicultural center and even applied to formally gain the space, but the procedure was extremely slow and it took over two years…

In 1993, the network was fed up with waiting and demanded to move in that same year, but the answer of the city authorities came in the form of a potential demolition. To prevent that, a group of approximately 200 supporters occupied the buildings and protected them with their own bodies.

What was the reaction of the authorities? They turned off the water and electricity to make them leave, but the people stayed and luckily, their persistency paid off.

They turned that former prison that once confined people into a welcoming place – a true meeting point of international travelers. The creative plan, renovation and transformation took 10 years and more than 80 artists from all over the world participated in the project and finally, the first traveler spent the night in the Hostel Celica in 2003.

Today, this place offers 20 artistically renovated former prison cells (today hostel cells), with their own stories, concepts and authors. Even though they are different, they all have one thing in common – the original cell bars on the doors and windows.

On the first floor you’ll find their Point of peace, the room for meditation and contemplation, and every Tuesday night there’s a concert followed by a jam session performed by international musicians. The hostel’s art gallery regularly hosts art exhibitions while the cultural program includes workshops and poetry readings and all kinds of presentations from literature and philosophy to aesthetics and history…

Before checking the night life of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, you can stop by one of three bars in the hostel – the Oriental one or maybe the cyber or traditional Slovenian bar named ”Gostilna”.

In 2005, Celica was named number 1 among the world’s hippie hostels by the Lonely Planet. In 2007, the Rough Guides’ 25th anniversary issue placed it among 25 ultimate experiences and places to stay, while in 2010 – this was awarded top hostel in the country according to the guests’ choice.