Culture comes first
Culture is the backbone of a national identity. Slovenians are well aware of this and are entering 2019 proud of our cultural heritage and modern creativity for which we are noted in the world. We will mark a few important anniversaries that are milestones in Slovenian culture and tourism. It will be festive in the oldest Slovenian town; we will remember a great Slovenian poet and the birth anniversaries of two important Slovenian painters, and mark an important milestone for Prekmurje. It’s time for culture.
Do you know how old the oldest Slovenian town is?
The town of Ptuj has a rich history, as its beginnings date back to Roman times. In 2019, the oldest Slovenian town will celebrate the 1950th anniversary of when the town was first mentioned in writing in Tacitus' history books. The following experiences can take you back to Ptuj's Roman past:
A journey to Ptuj's Roman period
You can follow in the tracks of Poetovio as Ptuj used to be called in Roman times, with the Romans – guides in costumes, who will introduce you to the spirit of the past in a very picturesque way.
Each year, the Roman Games take place in Ptuj, and this festive year the time machine will go almost 2,000 years back between 15 and 18 August. The main part of the four-day spectacle, which will be attended by 800 Romans in costumes, will be presented by the Commander Choir in Poetoviona as described by Tacitus, and shed light on history facts and events that took place 1950 years ago in an exciting way.
Heart of Petoviona exhibition
In November, you will be able to see an exhibition at the Regional Museum Ptuj–Ormož which will be entitled the Heart of Petoviona, where you will also be able to see the latest archaeological finds in the centre of Ptuj.
“A Slovene wreath your poet has entwined”
This is the beginning of the Wreath of Sonnets, one of the greatest poetic masterpieces of the great Slovenian poet France Prešeren. His poem A Toast has been the Slovenian anthem since Slovenia gained independence in 1991. The life of the poet who lived at the beginning of the 19th century was split between his native village of Vrba na Gorenjskem, Ljubljana and Kranj. On the occasion of the 170th anniversary of his death, which Slovenians will mark next year, you can learn more about this Slovenian master of poetry by visiting these places.
Two Slovenian great painters
If you love art and particularly painting, you are bound to go to the National Gallery when you visit Ljubljana, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of establishment in 2018. One of the gallery's founders was Rihard Jakopič, an extraordinary impressionist and partially expressionist and a person who placed art in the broader social context. You can encounter him in a peculiar way during the Moustache Tour which includes his contemporary “double” as one of three guides to the cultural peculiarities of the Slovenian capital.
In 2019, we will mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. And 40 years less, that is 110 years, will have passed since the birth of another renowned Slovenian painter – Zoran Mušič. See the permanent exhibition of his works at the National Gallery where all images of his life are shown.
200 years since the first visit to the Škocjan Caves
The Škocjan Caves are one of the greatest karst landmarks. Here, the River Reka carved the largest known underground canyon in the world. The Škocjan Caves were the first Slovenian site to be included on the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage List. The year 2019 will mark the 200th anniversary of the first recorded visit to the Škocjan Caves. Why not visit them yourselves and witness the mighty power of natural forces and this incredible underground backdrop?
25 years since the opening of the Anthony Mine Shaft
While visiting UNESCO’s Idrija, you will encounter the rich tradition of the mercury mine wherever you go. Although cinnabar ore has not been excavated for a long time, you can get an excellent view of the past life and work of miners. Go to the heart of the second largest mercury mine in the world through the Anthony Mine Shaft, excavated in 1500, which is deemed the oldest preserved entrance to a mine in Europe. You are in for numerous adventures and will perhaps even meet the mischievous Perkmandlc, the pit dwarf. This year will be particularly festive for the mine, as a multitude of interesting events will mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Anthony Mine Shaft.
A walk around Prekmurje
One year after World War I ended, the territory of former Austria-Hungary was divided again. Prekmurje was given by the Paris Peace Treaty to Slovenia or the then Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The annexation of Prekmurje to its motherland is marked in Slovenia on 17 August, a national holiday, which will be particularly festive next year due to the 100th anniversary of this turning point for Prekmurje.
This region is worth visiting and exploring year round. When in Goričko, visit Grad Castle, the largest fortress in Slovenia. Stop on the Island of Love and in the nearby mill on the Mura River, which used to be very common on this river. Plečnik's masterpiece in Pomurje – a church in Bogojina – is also something special. In the spring, you can step through the Door to Pomurje by Lake Sobota and go to the Expanoexhibition pavilion, where you can learn about all the secrets of Pomurje in an interactive way.
One century of the University of Ljubljana
If you were at Kongresni trg in Ljubljana recently, you must have noticed a round timer on one of the buildings in the area. Do you know what its purpose is? The Provincial Mansion, where the timer is located, is home to the University of Ljubljana, which will mark the 100th anniversary of establishment in 2019. The time on the timer is the time left until this important jubilee. According to various global rankings, the university is among the top 500 universities in the world. It includes over 400 study programmes and is the largest university in Slovenia.
Keeping up with culture all year round
Slovenia is entering yet another year of culture. Explore it by visiting cultural institutions and attractions, indulge in lively festival events and do not miss great concerts in 2019.