Story & Concept



Once a prison, today one of the most intriguing hostels in the world. A place that used to divide and categorize people according to different opinions and believes, has grown into a true social center and a melting pot of ideas.

A safe haven for travelers, artists and all high-spirited people. The prisoners were replaced by the artists for a decade, who breathed in new life and opened the place to fresh ways of expression and then back in 2003 left room for travelers who on daily basis contribute to broadening new dimensions of freedom. Hostel Celica is the perfect example how art can transform a place with such dark and complex story into a completely opposite environment, filled with innumerous opportunities and positive vibrations. That is why we pay a lot of attention to the energy we let in the place and care for what we leave behind. That is why we make every smile, every look and every word count.

Welcome to Celica.



1882: PRISON

The Austro-Hungarian Army builds military barracks in Metelkova, Ljubljana. The building, where Hostel Celica is housed today, serves as a prison for over 100 years.


The Yugoslav National Army departs from Slovenia when its independence is declared. The initiative Mreža za Matelkovo (Network for Metelkova) wishes to formally obtain the empty premises and to transform the barracks into a multicultural center.


After more than 2 years of complex bureaucratic procedures of trying to obtain the required documents and be able to move into the empty premises, the city answered with firm attempts by trying to demolish the empty military barracks. Several artists and supporters gathered together and showed their support to the initiative by occupying illegally the abandoned barracks. The city authorities tried to scare them away on several occasions by switching off electrical and water supplies. Some of them did eventually  leave, but the most persistent stayed.


After almost 10 years of creative planning, transformation and restoration of the old military prison into a youth hostel, the City of Ljubljana and the Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana finally showed approval. The transformation process saw more than 80 local and international artists involved.


The first guests are welcomed at Hostel Celica in July.