The walls of hotel Mrak are hiding an interesting and poetic story about Slovenian writer and his muse. Its garden hides two hundred years old vine that still gives shade and delicious sparkling wine known as “Mrakova penina”. Hotel Mrak is located in the heart of Ljubljana old town.  When you enter in the hotel lobby, you can feel its cozy and warm atmosphere, unique by its history and location. It was a home of famous Slovenian writer and dramatist Ivan Mrak.

His father Valentin Mrak as a young man started to work as a servant in the kitchen of a 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 to present hotel location nearby archeological 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 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 famous Slovenian poets Preseren and Askerc. 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 has been turned into a small dining room and dedicated to the memory of Ivan Mrak. Presently, historic photos and prints adorn its walls.  In 1916 “Old Roman Guesthouse” changed the name into “Pri Mraku Guesthouse”.

The garden grew oleander and palm trees as well as the old vine, which still provides shade and gives the garden a charm. Every September a special event takes place there: traditional harvest of the old vine when grapes are ripe and sweet enough to produce wine.  The house wine is produced by the traditional method and known as sparkling wine “Mrakova penina”.

Charismatic Boehm Ivan Mrak

The first owner Valentin had five children, and the youngest was Slovenian playwright and writer Ivan Mrak (1906 – 1986). He certainly left a unique mark in Slovenian literature, mainly because of his slightly eccentric, mysterious and charismatic personality. He was known for his writing of hymnic tragedies with a complex, somewhat patronizing style. During his lifetime he was considered as the great individualist, deeply infatuated with the power of his art. He also lived and worked in Paris, Prague, Munich and Zagreb. Literal critics and historians describe him as a man of high ethical principles, who above all despised unprincipled attitudes and hypocrisy. During his lifetime he often resisted to established social norms and was recognized as “a symbol of freedom and a living example of rebel” by young people. He was married to eleven years older Slovenian painter and artist Karla Bukovec, his muse. They both lived and worked in this hotel building.