The Mansion Sheltered by the Four Imposing Bronze Dogs
Tivoli Mansion is the oldest building in the area of today’s Tivoli Park. It connects to the city through the Jakopič Promenade, which was widened in the 1930s by architect Jože Plečnik, who planted a new border of trees on each side. The history of the mansion itself dates back to the 13th century, when a tower stood over the current location, which was demolished in 1442 by the Counts of Celje in the battles with the Austrian Emperor Frederick III to gain power over Ljubljana. Baron George Apfaltrern had a new court built on the present location, which was purchased in 1601 by the Ljubljana Jesuits and replaced with a new mansion building. The Jesuits purchased the neighbouring plots of land and the surroundings of the mansion became a pleasant promenade, whereas the natural amphitheatre behind the building was used to stage plays by the Jesuit students. When the Jesuit Order was dissolved in 1775, the mansion became the summer residence of the Ljubljana Bishop. Later it was passed on into the hands of the Provincial Estates and served as a hospital, warehouse and army barracks, which severely damaged the building. Emperor Franz Joseph I had the mansion restored and in 1852 gave it to Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky and his wife for lifelong use. Radetzky renovated the surroundings and opened the park to the public, for which the grateful people granted him honorary citizenship in 1882 and erected a statue in front of the mansion. The fountain with the statue of a boy that is so famous in Slovenia today was erected in the park in April 1870, and this was probably also the time when the striking four large bronze dogs by Anton Dominik von Fernkorn were also installed on the steps in front of the mansion. At this point investments into the mansion ceased. Initially, city officials were housed in the mansion, and then tenants after the Second World War, who lived there until 1986, when renovation work began on the building for the opening of the International Centre of Graphic Arts. The Tivoli Mansion building is listed as a protected monument.