Visit the newly opened Kurent House in Ptuj
It’s opened all year round, what do you need to know prior to your visit?
Kurent House is an inter-active museum in the centre of Ptuj, which is known as Slovenia’s oldest town. It opened at the beginning of 2023 to celebrate and educate visitors about the iconic traditional figure KURENT. Kurent was “born” in the villages around Ptuj.
A mystical character
When in the old days Kurent would unexpectedly show up on a winter night at the door step of a peasant family, this meant a great honour for a household. He was bringing them hope and prosperity for the days to come. They would greet him with the tears in their eyes. They would also offer him food and drink, and later pray at the village church for his well-being. However, a mysterious (and kind of grotesquely masked) figure who would disappear and show up again, was at first not well received with the house of God and the city officials.
Kurent or Korant (depending on the village)
Kurent or Korent has been popularly (but incorrectly) reinterpreted as an extravagant god of unrestrained pleasure and hedonism in early Slavic customs. In today’s festival, groups of Kurents or Korants wear traditional sheepskin garments while holding wooden clubs with hedgehog skins attached called ježevke, the noise of which is believed to “chase away winter”.
Kurent is not really chasing the winter, but rather …
For purpose of our Let’s Go Slovenia travel blog we asked the head of Union of Kurent Associations (Zveza društev kurentov) Aleš Ivančič in Ptuj if “chasing the winter” interpretation of Kurent was true.
He replied: “We (Kurents) are not chasing anything or anyone, we are rather thanking the winter, because it made it possible for the soil to rest and prepare it for the spring and the new cycle of food growing.“
He also told us: “Being a Kurent was at first a privilege offered only to unmarried men, but today, married men, women and also children are invited to wear the outfit.”
Today, Kurent is world famous
In 2017 Door-to-door rounds of Kurents was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity The international aspect of the event was acquired in the following years when local and Slovene traditional costumes were joined by costumes from: Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Japan and many other countries.
Kurentovanje is Slovenia’s most popular and ethnologically significant carnival event first organised in 1960. But Kurent is NOT a carnival mask, says Aleš Ivančič. “Kurent represents the core of what’s in the hearts of people of the Ptuj region. We are “brothers (and sisters) in bells”, he told us.
OPENING HOURS AND TOURS
Kurent’s house is open every day from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (except Tuesdays). Tours take place every full hour. The house accommodates a maximum of 15 people at the same time.
ONLINE PURCHASE OF TICKETS
Before visiting Kurent’s house, check the availability of the desired appointment online here.
Then buy a ticket for the time slot that suits you best.
Tickets can only be purchased online in advance.