Hotel Mrak’s history

Hotel Mrak is located in the center of the old town of Ljubljana. When you enter the hotel lobby, you can feel its cozy and warm atmosphere, unique by its history and location.

The walls of the Hotel Mrak are hiding an interesting and poetic story about a Slovenian writer and his muse. Its garden hides a 200-year-old vine that still gives shade to sit in. This was the home of the famous Slovenian writer and dramatist Ivan Mrak.

As a young man, his father, Valentin Mrak, started to work as a servant in the kitchen of a renowned local pub. As he carried out his work diligently, he was promoted to an assistant of the pub manager and soon he took over the business. When he bought a house and moved his business and family to the present hotel location, close to the archaeological excavations of the Roman wall, he was so excited about it that he decided to name his pub “Old Roman Guesthouse”.

Soon it was known for its excellent Slovenian traditional cuisine and became a very popular meeting place among various artists, writers, painters, architects, professors, and actors of that time. It was nicely decorated and had hospitality rooms, which were named after the renowned Slovenian poets Prešeren and Aškerc. Dance parties, gatherings and various literary meetings were hosted in a room with vaulted ceilings, which led to the magnificent garden known as “saloon”. Even the first meeting of the Slovenian National Government in 1918 was held there. Later, this room was turned into a small dining room and dedicated to the memory of Ivan Mrak. In 1916 “Old Roman Guesthouse” has its name changed to “Pri Mraku Guesthouse”. Presently, historic photos and prints adorn the walls on the ground floor.

Charismatic bohemian Ivan Mrak

The first owner, Valentin, had five children. The youngest was the Slovenian playwright and writer Ivan Mrak (1906–1986), who certainly left a unique mark on Slovenian literature, mainly because of his slightly eccentric, mysterious and charismatic personality. He was known for his writing of hymnal tragedies with a complex, somewhat patronizing style.

During his lifetime, he was considered as a great individualist, deeply infatuated with the power of his art. He also lived and worked in Paris, Prague, Munich and Zagreb. Literary critics and historians describe him as a man of high ethical principles, who above all despised unprincipled attitudes and hypocrisy.

As a person, he often resisted established social norms and was recognized as “a symbol of freedom and a living example of a rebel” by young people. He was married to the eleven years older Slovenian painter and artist Karla Bukovec, his muse. They both lived and worked in this hotel building.


The garden of the guesthouse was decorated with oleanders, palms and an old vine, which still to this day gives shade and a special lure to the garden. In warm and sunny weather, we use the garden to serve breakfast and drinks. By prior arrangement, we can also serve you lunch and dinner here, or organize private gatherings. Each September, we organize a special event: traditional harvesting.

Since 2016, the hotel has been owned by the Kuharič family. They are trying to give it a breath of modernity and, at the same time, respect the culture and keep its rich tradition.