Vodnikova domačija: It’s like visiting a countryside village in Ljubljana, with a great twist of culture!
It was the winter of 1758. From a house of a wealthy peasant family in Ljubljana suburbs baby cries were heard for the first time. They named a little baby boy Valentin, deriving from the Latin Valentīnus, meaning healthy, strong and powerful …
Indeed, little Valentin became one of the most ardent men in Carniolian intellectual circles of the 18th century. A very important renaissance man, who encouraged the Slovenian cultural reawakening under French rule by putting together the first grammar of Slovenian language and the first significant Slovenian poetry collection.
Furthermore, he was the editor of the first newspaper Lublanske novice (Ljubljana news), and is also author of first Slovenian cook book.
But it all began in Zgornja Šiška
A good half an hour walk or a quick bus ride from Ljubljana city center you can still visit Vodnikova domačija (Vodnik homestead). The complex consists of Vodnik’s birthhouse, a great traditional inn called Štalca pri Vodniku and a courtyard.
In a house where Valentin Vodnik was born wide variety of free admission cultural events and activities including exhibitions, concerts and workshops are taking place today.
Restored permanent exhibition on the first floor of Vodnikova domačija was of our particular interest. The exhibition is putting an emphasis on Vodnik’s life and work. Due to the lack of original material from Vodnik times, the visitors can learn from the illustrations by academic painter Milanka Fabjančič.
The illustrated wooden image tiles are presenting activities of the Slovenian Enlightenment movement, which Vodnik was part of.
Enlighthers Žiga Zois, Valentin Vodnik, Anton Tomaž Linhart, Jernej Kopitar, Marko Pohlin paved the way for the full bloom of the Slovenian poetry that was yet to happen.
Still somehow in Prešeren’s shadow
During the romantic period, poet France Prešeren (1800 – 1849) developed Slovenian language to unequalled artistic heights. But half of a century before him, the first to write poetry of artistic value was the Franciscan friar Valentin Vodnik.
Although it was Vodnik who got the first public statue in Slovenia, many feel that his role in the creation of Slovenian national consciousness hasn’t been recognized enough. After the Habsburgs retook the Slovenian lands, Vodnik who was known as a Francophile and Napoleon supporter became politically and professionally excluded. After years of very difficult living conditions, the father of Slovenian poetry died on the winter evening in 1819.
Yes! to Štalca pri Vodniku Inn
At Štalca pri Vodniku inn they are still using recipes from the Vodnik’s 1799 Kuharske bukve (Chef’s Booklets). No wonder roast potatoes with smoked veal prepared by the two hundred years old recipe are still house specialty here.
This alone should be enough of a reason to visit this charming, rustic inn. Adding extraordinary good service, hearty food portions, great Krapež Sauvignon blanc wine and Slovenian craft Kranjsko pivo beer, and you couldn’t be in a better place!
They even complemented us with Prekmurska gibanica desert (without any knowledge we will be writing about our visit). What a hospitality!
Štalca pri Vodniku Inn also offers rooms for rent.
Photo credits: Samo Šmarčan