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Passion play's UNESCO listing "an honour and responsibility"

Škofja Loka, 8 December - Slovenia's oldest play, the Passion of Škofja Loka, making it to UNESCO's representative list of intangible cultural heritage last week is a great honour, but also a great responsibility, the promoters of the listing said at a press conference in Škofja Loka on Thursday.

Ljubljana
The oldest Slovenian play, the Skofja Loka Passion, dating from the Baroque period, in a book with comments by several distinguished Slovenian experts.
Photo: STA
File photo

Škofja Loka.
A staging of the Škofja Loka Passion in the streets of the Mediaeval town of Škofja Loka.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

Škofja Loka.
A staging of the Škofja Loka Passion in the streets of the Mediaeval town of Škofja Loka.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

The Passion of Škofja Loka is considered one of the oldest continually staged procession plays in Europe, boasting a tradition of nearly 300 years.

The original text was written between 1715 and 1727 by Capuchin monk Lovrenc Marusic (1676-1748). It holds the record for the oldest completely preserved theatre play in the Slovenian language with some passages in Latin and German.

It is preserved at the Capuchin Monastery in the north-western town of Škofja Loka. Since 1999, the play has been staged with the original setting in a procession every few years in the medieval town.

The play was first nominated for World Heritage listing in 2012, but was unsuccessful, said Culture Ministry State Secretary Damjana Pečnik.

The modified nomination was put forward last year, but complications arose once again, due to a technical misunderstanding.

After that was resolved, however, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee included the play on the list by acclamation.

"On the one hand this is a flattering honour, on the other, it is a big responsibility," said Škofja Loka Mayor Miha Ješe.

He believes this is a new step in staging the play, bringing new responsibilities, but also new possibilities to make the next staging in 2021 more impressive.

The Culture Ministry would like to get other Slovenian elements of intangible cultural heritage - the Slovenian register has 56 items - onto the UNESCO list.

in November 2017, UNESCO will be deciding on another Slovenian nomination - traditional Carnival processions of the Kurenti figures.

Before that, Slovenia also plans to nominate lace making and traditional stone wall construction. Together with Austria, it intends to nominate traditional Lipizzan horse breeding.

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© STA, 2016