I ran into a bit of Donald Trump in Ljubljana. Proudly displayed on a shelf in the Rogaška Crystal showroom in the Old Town is an elegant line of crystal labeled “Trump Home.”
A Proud History
Rogaška is no stranger to presidents and royalty, including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. Since its founding in 1665, the Slovenia-made glassware has been presented as protocol gifts or as trophies in major sports and other competitions around the world. Just to make a point that this is not a political post, there’s also a thank-you note from President Bill Clinton as well as a copy of the crystal gift that was presented to him.
It’s all hand made in the eastern Slovenia town of Rogaška Slatina. Legend has it that the healing waters of the Rogaška Spring burst forth on the exact spot where the winged stallion Pegasus struck its hoof, explaining the flying horse emblem on the Rogaška logo. In the 1800s, European nobility gathered to sip the local spring water from the crystal goblets produced there.
The Art of the Deal
The Trump Home crystal dates back to 2010, shortly after the real estate mogul and reality TV star married model Melania Knauss, a native of Slovenia. However, the display sign reads “Exhibition Only”. I couldn’t find it on the Trump Home website, either.
But in a 2010 interview with the New York Times, Mr. Trump made no secret of his admiration for the now-First Lady’s native land: “That part of the world is just beautiful. I’ve seen factories over there, their glass and crystal works are unbelievable. And this is the top of the top. It did help that Melania is from Slovenia. She’s a big star there right now.”
Slovenian couples strolling the showroom aisles seem to be looking for more contemporary pieces. Also on display are exquisite art nouveau designs, as well as dragons — the symbol of Ljubljana.
Terry’s Travel Tips
The Rogaška showroom is on the Mestni Trg, the lively square in front of Ljubljana city hall. Entry is free. More info on the Rogaška website. The crystal has been sold in leading USA department stores since the 1930s.
To visit the tourist trail of the actual glassworks and the spa, you’ll need to visit the small town of Rogaška Slatina near the Croatian border. After seeing this video from the Slovenian Tourist Board, Rogaška Slatina is high on my list for the next trip!