65 years ago - on March 20, 1954 - the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre was founded. It was created on the initiative of the Slovenian economy and the Chamber of Commerce as a professional establishment for organizing fairs and exhibitions.
365 days of happening
In 65 years, the GR has developed into a modern event centre in the heart of the capital. On a total of 21,162 square metres of exhibition space (12,318 m2 indoor and 8,844 m2 outdoor), in addition to the fair, the convention activities have increasingly been developed. The 23 multipurpose halls, which are adjustable, most of them on the ground floor and with daylight, can accommodate from a few dozen to 2,200 participants. Every year, 250 different events take place at GR, dedicated to different generations, attended by over half a million people. The company with 33 employees has been run by Mr. Iztok Bricl, M.Sc.econ. since November 2010.
The oldest post-war and the largest event centre in Slovenia
Already in June 1955, the International Exhibition of Wood Processing and Use was organized at the new venue next to the then Titova Street, today named Dunajska Street. In the same year, the 1st Yugoslav Wine Exhibition in Ljubljana was held, and it is considered to be the antecedent of the world's oldest wine evaluation contest, The Vino Ljubljana.
The milestone in conference activity is certainly The VII Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in April 1958. It was followed by international congresses and symposia in the fields of science, technology, medicine, electronics, culture and others. Until the construction of the Tivoli Hall (1963-65), many world sports championships took place here. In 1956, the National TV had its first studio at the GR, where also the famous Frane Milčinski Ježek performed. In 1959, the legendary jazz king Louis Armstrong held his concert here. In 1964, the Slovenska Popevka Contest was organized here, when Marjana Deržaj won the first audience award for the unforgettable Summer Night song (Poletna Noč). Here, there were popular New Year's Eve celebrations, wine fairs and the world's oldest wine evaluation, as well as numerous fairs from fashion, electronics, exhibitions of flowers, greenery and mushrooms, to The Slovenian Car Show and, of course, trade fairs recorded on the GR's calendar of events in recent years.
Modern functionalist architecture
The conception of the GR took into account modern architecture, that is characterized by the gradual construction of individual pavilions, each of which is supposed to be a technological and architectural achievement on its own. All the halls, except the Kocka Hall, bear the stamp of modern functionalist architecture and are also protected as the architectural heritage. The venue was designed by prominent names in the post-war urban image of Ljubljana: Ilija Arnautović, Branko Simčič, Marko Šlajmer and Milan Mihelič. The Urška and Povodni Mož fountain with the first rotating statue in Slovenia was placed on the outdoor platform of the GR in 1957 and is the work of the eminent sculptor Stojan Batič.