Park in Kranj celebrates Slovenian anthem
A park dedicated to the Slovenian anthem was inaugurated in Kranj on 1 June to celebrate both the national anthem and its precursor as well the authors of the lyrics France Prešeren and Simon Jenko.
Celebrating friendship among nations, Zdravljica (A Toast) was adopted as Slovenia's national anthem in 1989, less than two years before the country gained independence.
The lyrics of the anthem come from the 7th stanza of the poem by the same name that was written by Romantic poet Prešeren (1800-1849). He drew his inspiration from the slogans of the French Revolution: liberty, equality, fraternity.
The earlier Slovenian anthem, Naprej, zastava slave (Forward, Flag of Glory), has been adopted as the anthem of the Slovenian Armed Forces. Written by Jenko (1835-1869), it is a patriotic song.
Prešeren and Jenko shared love for their homeland and dreams of freedom, pride, courage, of the Slovenian language, culture and country, President Nataša Pirc Musar said in her address to the ceremony opening Slovenian Anthem Park.
Their respective poems call for peace, equality and peaceful coexistence within the Slovenian nation and among all the world's nations.
"In this way they enshrined for eternity the essence of the Slovenian nation - the desire to live peacefully on this beautiful land and live together in peace with other nations," the president said.
Combining culture, art, national identity, tradition, nature and quality of life in one, she said the new park "symbolically unites the values that we are committed to as a nation".
It will thus serve as a meeting point for various generations and as a reference point to preserve memory of important moments in history when the Slovenian identity and patriotism was born.
Kranj Mayor Matjaž Rakovec expects the park will become a venue where the two anthems will be read on many occasions to spread their message, and where the Slovenian Armed Forces will honour their own and the national anthem at least once a year.
The park is located in a spot that stood abandoned for many years. In the 1990s, it was meant to become an extension of the park where Prešeren and Jenko are buried. They both died in Kranj.
The new park was blessed by Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore.
The archaeological excavations carried out as part of the construction of the park yielded important finds from the Iron Age when the area was settled by Celtic tribes, which gave Kranj its name.
The mayor said the finds of urn graves indicated that at the time Kranj might have been three times its size during the Middle Ages.