The President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor and the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović unveiled on Monday a monument to Ljudevit Gaj in Ljubljana. In the afternoon, they will unveil a monument to France Prešeren in Zagreb.
According to Pahor’s Press Office, the erection of the monument to France Prešeren in Zagreb has a symbolic value for Slovene culture, but it is also important for strengthening friendly relations between the two countries at all levels and for Slovenes living in Croatia. The monument to France Prešeren is the first monument dedicated to a Slovene in Zagreb. The initiative for it was given in 2016 by the Slovenian embassy and was immediately supported by the city of Zagreb. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia also financially made the erection of the monument possible.
A monument to France Prešeren will be erected in the Alley of Poets in Zagreb’s Bundek City Park. The monument was made by the Slovenian sculptor Metod Frlic, head of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. In addition to the inscription “FRANCE PREŠEREN, 1800-1849”, Slovenia, the 7th stanza of the Toast – Slovenian anthem in Slovene and Croatian will be engraved on the pedestal.
The monument to Ljudevit Gaj in Ljubljana has been standing in the North City Park in Ljubljana since October last year, and due to the pandemic, there has been no opportunity for its solemn unveiling so far. Ljudevit Gaj was a Croatian linguist, politician, journalist, poet, writer, leader of the Illyrian movement, and above all the author of the Gajica script, which we also adopted in Slovenia.
Prešeren and Gaj were contemporaries connected by activities for the national revival in the 19th century.
At the ceremony, Pahor emphasized that, at a time when there are so many divisions and differences at home, in Europe, around the world, this week will be almost festive for him.
“It will be a celebration of friendship, good neighbourliness and coexistence. In this time of divisions and differences, it is a wonderful gesture of good neighbourliness and celebration that we have different traditions, different cultures and yet we can and know how to live under a common roof, in common home and cultivate all those values that are important for coexistence, tolerance and progress all of us,” said Pahor.