Laibach was formed in Trbovlje back in 1980 by a group of friends led by Dejan Knez and advised by his artist father Janez Knez.
Although it has always been apparent that Trbovlje has been important to the work and identity of Laibach, the four day event in Trbovlje celebrating the 30th anniversary of Laibach highlighted the connections the band had with the town to the extent that had Laibach formed elsewhere they could have been very different. Arriving in Trbovlje for the first time in September 2010 after being a fan of the band since 1988, I was finally able to picture and experience environment which created Laibach. Not exactly the same, as Laibach was formed 30 years ago in communist controlled Yugoslavia but the town still retains its strong industrialised identity which is probably the most important factor in Laibach.
Coal mining began in 1804 beginning the town's industrial heritage which would later also include power stations, factories and numerous supporting businesses.
Slovenia was the richest state in Yugoslavia before it broke away in 1991.
The town lies about 40 miles east from Ljubljana which took an hour travelling by road. It's also connected by rail but in my experience it was not much faster than the bus, the train I had travelled on was new and modern but was rather slow or at least it felt slow as I could not really see out the window due the wrap advertising covering the whole train. However the main problem with the railway link is that the train station is quite far away from the centre of Trbovlje though there is a bus service linking the station to the rest of the town.
Population : 17485
Height above sea level : 287 m
Trbovlje is not a town that would expect many tourists unlike certain other areas of Slovenia and in any case there are no hotels. The Laibach connection has since created a certain amount of interest, especially to those outside Slovenia and over the years I have heard reports from some that had visited the town just to see where Laibach came from.
Although Trbovlje is a industrial town, it is surrounded by mountains and spectacular scenery with the river Sava flowing nearby. If anyone wanted to stay in the area then there are two mountain lodges nearby (though you would need transportation to and from both), one on Lontovz close to Mount Kum and the other is on Planina (The Hill). If it's just visiting Trbovlje, then it's probably best to visited for a day by train or car.
The local football team is NK Rudar Trbovlje, currently plays in the Regionalna Ljubljanska LEGEA liga, fourth tier of the Slovenian football system. Their badge naturally reflects their industrious origins with two chimneys and a coal carriage. Their small stadium is in the centre of the town and very close to the DDT.
Workers Cultural Centre - Delavski dom Trbovlje - DDT
The Delavski dom Trbovlje is a multi-purpose culture centre and was used for the Laibach's four day 30th anniversary event on September 2010. It has a number of function rooms including a large seated hall with a stage, where Laibach have performed notably the Laibach DVD Dead in Trbovlje was filmed there. The stage can be used for opera, ballet and plays, the same hall also functions as a cinema. It's an important centre for the community of the town and plays host to artists from different fields of arts both from Slovenia and abroad. The centre was built in 1956 designed by architects Marko Župancic and Oton Gaspari. On the front of the building is a large mosaic by the award winning painter Marij Pregel and in the courtyard there are sculptures by Stojan Batic.
Ausstellung Laibach Kunst 1980 - 2010 in Trbovlje
The river Sava flows close by the town; President Tito once stated that Yugoslavia would stay together until the river Sava flowed backwards. In the 1987 Laibach video 'Life is Life' there is a scene where it flows backward.
The Trbovlje Chimney (Trboveljski dimnik) is the tallest in Europe at 1,200 feet. Built in 1976 as part of the Termoelektrarna Trbovlje Power Station (TET II) a coal fired power plant.
One place that could be of interest to visitors is the town's mining museum, which I didn't get a chance to see but heard a little about it. The museum is dedicated to the history of mining in the area. Coal mining is an important part of Trbovlje and the famous headgear worn by the Laibach singer Milan Fras were originally worn by the coal miners.
Despite spending nearly four days in Trbovlje I only managed a couple of short trips around the town itself. Most of my time was spent at the Delavski dom Trbovlje along with trips to a factory and a power plant - both of which are not normally open to the general public. I would have liked much more time and also the weather was quite bad when I did have certain amount of time. While it would have been good to have explored a bit more, it was still a good experience and I'm sure I'll visit again someday.