Museums, galleries open as country celebrates Culture Day
Ljubljana, 8 February - A number of events will take place in Slovenia and neighbouring countries on Thursday, as Slovenians observe Culture Day celebrating the beauty and sublimity of art. Many cultural organisations such as museums and galleries will also open their doors to visitors free of charge.
Prešeren's Day, as the holiday is popularly known, is also a day to reflect upon the significance of Romantic poet France Prešeren (1800-1849) and the role culture plays for the nation.
The main ceremony will be held in front of Prešeren's home in the village of Vrba, where he was born, with Slovenian PEN Centre boss Ifigenija Zagoričnik Simonović delivering the key-note speech.
The Association of Theatre Actors will put on the annual poetry reading in front of the monument to Prešeren in the Ljubljana square which is named after the most celebrated Slovenian poet.
Meanwhile, Kranj, the city where Prešeren served as a lawyer before he died, will organise the annual Prešeren Fair, and Culture Minister Tone Peršak will visit his grave.
To honour the holiday, President Borut Pahor will open the door of Presidential Palace to visitors and address them on the occasion at 11 AM.
State officials will lay a wreath at the Prešeren monument in Ljubljana, and Peršak will host a reception for this year's recipients of the prestigious Prešeren Prizes and Prešeren Fund Prizes.
The top national accolade for outstanding lifetime achievement in arts was conferred on poet Boris A. Novak and retired ballet dancer Janez Mejač.
The Prešeren Fund Prizes for achievements in the past two years went to performer Simona Semenič, actor Matej Puc, choreographer and ballet dancer Valentina Turcu, director of photography Marko Brdar, intermedia artist Maja Smrekar and photographer Boris Gaberščik.
Culture Day will also be marked by Slovenians living in Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy.
The Slovenian minority in Austria will celebrate it tonight with a ceremony in Klagenfurt dedicated to writer and playwright Ivan Cankar, who died 100 years ago.
On Saturday, a tomb to composer Benjamin Ipavec (1829-1908) will be unveiled at a cemetery in Graz.
The Slovenian minority in Hungary will hold a ceremony on Friday in Szentgotthard, which will be also attended by Minister Peršak.
The Slovenians in Italy will celebrate Culture Day at several events, giving out their own Prešeren Prizes at a ceremony on 16 February in Trieste.
One of the events marking the holiday in Croatia's Zagreb will be the launch of an exhibition on Prešeren's poetry in pop music.