Basic information
Original title:
Zgodovinski atlas slovenskih mest
Researchers involved:
, , , , ,
1 July 2018–30 June 2021
J6-9358 (A)

The publication of national historical town atlases is the most important project of the International Commission for the History of Towns (ICHT), established in 1955. The main goal of this project is to develop a base for comparative historical studies of premodern towns and their topography at an all-European level. Over the recent decades, presenting the historical analysis of the development of a given town in the form of maps has become the standard. At the same time, comparative research has become a necessity as well as a fundamental method in historical studies of towns. Little wonder, then, that the idea of town atlases has received the widest reception across the European continent. The first town atlas was published in Great Britain in 1969, in Germany in 1973, and currently the project involves altogether eighteen countries. The total number of towns to have obtained such an atlas has surpassed 500 (Germany 256, Austria 64). In 1993, the Atlas Working Group was set up under ICHT, which coordinates this work at an international level (since 2014, Slovenia has been represented by Dr. Miha Kosi, the applicant for this project). To ensure comparability in the development of individual towns across Europe, ICHT has set the basic uniform guidelines for atlases, to be followed by all national projects.
It is undoubtedly high time for Slovenia to join the international research community with its own series of atlases. Slovenian medieval urbanisation took place in parallel to Austrian and, e.g., south German lands (in the Slovenian Littoral similarly as in Italy and Croatia). In socio-historical terms, Slovenia is part of this closely interconnected area. By presenting the history of Slovenian towns in the form of atlases the Slovenian scientific (as well as lay) public would get an insight into an important segment of Slovenian history and identity, and foreign experts an excellent tool for comparative studies of Slovenian towns in relation to urban development in other European lands.
The project “Historical Atlas of Slovenian Towns” would actually be the beginning of a comprehensive endeavour to produce a series of publications on the history of main Slovenian towns. The first (pilot) volume would present the historical development of Ljubljana as one of the oldest as well as the most important Slovenian towns. Ljubljana, with its beginnings in the Roman and even pre-Roman Period, the early and uninterrupted medieval development from at least the twelfth century onwards, and the status of the (provincial, state) capital, is a splendid representative of Slovenian urban history, and an appropriate subject to be covered by the first volume in the series.
The urban development of Ljubljana has been studied fairly well on the basis of works by a number of meritorious Slovenian historians. Besides published sources for the medieval period (12 volumes) Ljubljana possesses exceptionally preserved city archive. Especially the uninterrupted series of tax registers, covering the entire 17th an 18th centuries, present a unique source for the urbanistic and topographical development of the town. With thorough additional investigations that will be conducted under the proposed project, it will be possible to present the historical development of the Slovenian capital in in compliance with contemporary European standards.
The launch of the series of town atlases will undoubtedly rejuvenate Slovenian research into urban history, which has remained largely neglected in view of the historical significance of towns. The proposed research project will fill many gaps in the historical development of Ljubljana and other towns that have remained unexplored to present day. Namely, in the fields of social, economic and other aspects of urban history, Slovenia lags considerably behind many European countries, including its nearest neighbours (e.g. Austria, Croatia).

Project manager at ZRC

Funded by

Project financed by Slovenian Research Agency


history of towns • urbanizacija • Middle Ages • modern period • Atlas