Ljubljana is one of the rare cities with a main square marked by the monument of a poet instead of a local hero. The statue, which was built right next to the church of the Assumption, stumbled upon disapproval due to the topless muse figure. France Prešeren (1800-1849), was born in Vrba in Upper Carniola. He was the eldest son in the family. In Vienna, he studied law, in addition to the Slovene language he was also fluent in German. He is one of the greatest poets of European Romanticism. Most of his life he lived and worked in Ljubljana, where he found inspiration with a help o a friend Matija Čop and created all of his most important works (the majority of it written in Slovenian language), among which the sonnets are the famous ones.
His life was bohemian and volatile. He moved from one rented apartment to another. All the money earned he spent promptly, most of it in the pubs that were gathering places for intellectual midrange. In those days, Ljubljana had 154 restaurants, 7 cafes and 6 breweries. Statistically speaking, Ljubljana, with 12,000 inhabitants, had a restaurant on every 77 people. Children loved him because he shared figs, for which he was known by the name of dr. Fig. He loved girls as much as he could not live without wine. He was hitting on every restaurants owners’ daughter and additionally he devoted them verses. He unhappily felt in love with Julija Primic, who he first noticed in the Trnovo church on 6th April 1833. He was involved in a love affair with Ana Jelovšek.
Special tour around Prešern’s Ljubljana, that took place on the Slovenian Cultural Holiday, was accompanied by costumed actors and a tour guide. The participants we strolled through the points, which marked the poet’s life in Ljubljana. The role of Prešern and three of his most important women in his life were played by the members of the Society for preservation of cultural heritage Skrinjca.
Slovenia is probably the only country in the world which has a national holiday devoted to culture.
God’s blessing on all nations,
Who long and work for that bright day,
When o’er earth’s habitations
No war, no strife shall hold its sway;
Who long to see
That all men free
No more shall foes, but neighbours be.
(A Toast, The Slovenian national anthem)
More photos here.