Škofja Loka: preserving the legacy of the Passion Play

Published: 29.3.2024 More info

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Škofja Loka: preserving the legacy of the Passion Play

Škofja Loka, nestled in Slovenia's Upper Carniola region, boasts a well-preserved medieval old town and is renowned for its association with the historic Passion Play, staged every six years since 1721. This cultural gem, recognized on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list, reflects centuries of Slovenian heritage and literature, with its next performance scheduled for 2026.

Škofja Loka: preserving the legacy of the Passion Play

Škofja Loka is located in the northwest part of Slovenia, in the Upper Carniola region. The old town stands as one of Europe's finest preserved medieval gems. Renowned for its historic significance and cultural heritage, Škofja Loka is famously associated with the Passion Play, the first Slovenian drama and a grand outdoor theatrical spectacle.

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The Škofja Loka Passion Play, based on a text by Father Romuald Marušič from 1721, is staged every six years during Easter time in Škofja Loka. Regarded as one of the town's greatest treasures and an integral part of Slovenian and global cultural heritage, it holds a place on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2016. In 2021, the event marked the 300th anniversary. The next performance will take place in 2026. 

This historical play stands as the oldest surviving dramatic text in Slovene, adorned with Latin and German additions along with director's notes, representing a pinnacle of Slovenian literature in the Baroque era. It also holds the distinction of being Europe's sole fully preserved staged Passion play from the early 18th century.

Comprising 869 verses and 13 scenes, the play reflects the tradition of Slovenian spectral processions. Each scene, from Paradise to The Tomb of God, unfolds through the streets and squares of Škofja Loka's Old Town during Lent and Easter, continuing a tradition that has endured over centuries.

To get an insight into this marvellous piece of intangible heritage, delve into the Škofja Loka Passion Play Exhibition at the Loka Museum, where a blend of photographic and film material, carefully selected objects, modern technology and innovative design techniques, takes you on an experiential journey of discovering the rich history and cultural significance of this text. For further information, visit the museum's website.

Additionally, you can witness the spirit of the Škofja Loka Passion Play come alive during Škofja Loka Passion Days 2024, held between 17 February and 20 April at various locations in and around Škofja Loka.

This article is part of an exciting partnership with with the Association of Historical Towns of Slovenia, of which Škofja Loka is also a member. The partnership aims to bring you captivating stories from the historical towns nestled across Slovenia. As a regular feature of News from Slovenia, delivered to our valued subscribers, readers can expect to discover exciting stories from these timeless cities in the coming months. The contents and photos for this article were provided by the Association of Historical Towns of Slovenia and The Škofja Loka Tourism Board.

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