The year 2018 was important for the Slovenian culture marking the 100th death anniversary of the greatest Slovenian writer who ever lived – Ivan Cankar. In honour of this, various events and exhibitions offering interesting information about his life and work took place throughout the year, attracting crowds of curious visitors. 2018 was even called the year of Cankar or Cankarjevo leto. This turned out to be a successful and unique way of celebrating culture and literature and honouring the greatest and most important people in the history of Slovenia. Another person, who played an important role in improving Slovenian literature and helping it reach the level at which it is today, is a poet and the author of the first Slovenian grammar and collection of poems – Valentin Vodnik.
The impact of Valentin Vodnik
In January 2019, two centuries have passed since the death of Valentin Vodnik, and we will once again get the opportunity to explore and educate ourselves about this master of poetry. He not only wrote the first Slovenian collection of poems but was also the editor of the first Slovenian newspaper called "Lublanske novice" and the author of the first Slovenian cookbook. He lived in the 19th century and had an important influence on the minds of people in the era of Enlightenment, as the Slovenian nation and society were formed and developed.
Near the centre of Ljubljana at Vodnikova domačija, you can visit a small but rich memorial room with a simple concept: "Valentin Vodnik in time and space" or "Valentin Vodnik v času in prostoru". The house is the birthplace of the poet, now serving as the place where the bits of his life, as well as the era of Enlightenment are presented and exhibited. A special room is also decorated with creative illustrations of the poet and writer, which are the works of a Slovenian academic painter Milanka Fabjančič. Many events, lectures, workshops and other activities connected to the life and work of Valentin Vodnik also take place there, as the institution is one of the leading in organizing events in the year 2019, also known as the year of Valentin Vodnik. The events are dedicated to various different groups of people, from children and young people to families, who can all become a part of the reading groups called “Nedelce”, where a book enters the stage through narration, animation and illustrations, live music, visits by authors and an act of reading to older people. This event is organized every week on Sunday evenings.
In his time, Valentin Vodnik was very active in the areas of culture, literature, politics. He was a linguist, a poet, a teacher, a priest, a translator, a journalist, an archaeologist and most importantly an educated student of the Enlightenment, whose primary goal was to educate the illiterate population. It is only right that we celebrate his achievements and try to honour his legacy by learning and getting to know his life and work when we have the chance. I wish you a happy year of Valentin Vodnik!
Vodnikova domačija, LjubljanaVodnikova cesta 65, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
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