If you visit the charming city of Ljubljana, in Central Europe, make sure you see ‘the flute’.
With a long history, the capital of Slovenia on the Ljubljanica River, is rich in cultural attractions, including the country’s National Museum.
And one of the most interesting exhibits in the museum is thought to be possibly the world’s oldest musical instrument.
The ‘Divje Babe Flute’ is a piece of bone from a cave bear with neatly spaced holes pierced down one side.
Discovered in 1995 at the Divje Babe archeological park in northwestern Slovenia, the bone is thought to be as much as 43,100 years old.
There are apparently three schools of thought about the origin of the ‘flute’.
Some say it was made made by Neanderthals as a musical instrument.
Others argue that it was probably fashioned by Cro-Magnons – and yet others speculate that the aligned holes may have been caused by the teeth of an animal.
When we visited Ljubljana, the ‘flute’ was advertised as possibly the country’s leading cultural attraction and seemed to be regarded as a source of national pride.
The National Museum of Slovenia (above) is housed in a neo-Renaissance palace built between 1883 and 1885.
As well as the Neanderthal flute, the museum’s exhibitions include the ‘Vače Situla’, a famous early Iron Age ritual vessel found in the village of Vače, along with many archaeological finds from Ancient Roman occupation, when Ljubljana was known as Emona.
The museum received our top marks for being ‘age-friendly’. It provides access for wheelchair and baby strollers – and has a lift to move between the floors.
Oozing with charm, Ljubljana is also fast gaining a reputation as a city of romance, spurred by its beautiful views, inspiring stories, old world architecture and abundant greenery.