The monument to Peršen is situated in Bundek Park’s Alley of Poets, thus joining monuments to the Russian writers Aleksandr Pushkin and Sergei Yesenin, the Hungarian writer Mór Jókai and the father of Bulgarian literature, Ivan Minchev Vazov.
Prešern’s poem Zdravljica (A Toast) is the text of the Slovenian national anthem.
Addressing the public, Milanović said that Croatian and Slovenian anthems were created during the same period and they also have in common the fact that that they are peaceful.
“What it (the Slovenian anthem) has in common with the Croatian anthem, besides being written at nearly the same time, is that it is very peaceful”, President Milanović stated at the unveiling of the bust of France Prešeren.
Milanović added that both Gaj and Prešern were “lawyers by profession, but unsuccessful ones.”
“It was at the time when the national word and language, without which there is no nation, were formed, built, measured, and designed by lawyers. Today this is unthinkable. Such were the times, today we live in the time of a bureaucratized, but common European Union. A most beautiful day, this morning Gaj in Ljubljana, and this afternoon Prešeren – let us continue this way. Croatian-Slovenian relations are becoming a more and more beautiful story, and there is no reason for it not to remain as such,” President Milanović said in concluding his address during the bust-unveiling ceremony at Bundek.
Pahor described Prešeren as “a key figure in Slovenian history,” and that his poetry “promotes European values like good neighborly relations, coexistence and fostering differences.”
He underscored that today great divisions exist in Slovenia, Europe, and the world and that in that context Zagreb and Ljubljana are capitals that are showing “Europe as their joint home” how to celebrate their own and European identities based on values that bring peace and security.
“I want this day to be a holiday of good neighborly relations, coexistence, friendship, and trust between two nations,” said Pahor.
The idea for the monument to France Prešeren was initiated by Slovenia’s Embassy and the Slovenian House in Zagreb whereby the Slovenian community in Croatia is celebrating 30 years of Slovenia’s independence.
The City of Zagreb prepared the site for the monument and Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said today that he was happy to support the project.
“This monument is an expression of respect for and friendship with the Slovenian people,” said Tomašević during the ceremony.
France Prešeren, who was born on 3 December 1800 and died on 8 February 1849, is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest Slovenian poets.
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