On Ugljan Island, Every Place Has Its Bench

Total Croatia News

If you’ve been following TCN for some time now (actually, a couple of weeks would probably suffice) you already know we have a fondness for a fascinating Dalmatian institution: The Bench.

Wherever the road takes you, The Bench will be the centre of social life, a place where wise old men gather to catch up on local gossip – excuse me, to discuss very important topics. You can read more about The Bench here.

Everyone takes benches seriously in Dalmatia. More evidence supporting that claim comes from Ugljan island, where local artist Božica Kliman has been making unique mosaic-decorated benches for the last four years. As part of the ongoing project ‘Every place has its bench’ launched by the Tourist Board Ugljan, the latest bench was recently installed and embellished in Mali Lukoran village.

Kliman doesn’t work on her own, but instead invites all interested locals, tourists and random onlookers to join the creative feat. Everyone has the chance to help create the Ugljan benches and depart knowing they literally left their mark in a piece of island’s heritage.

The bench in Mali Lukoran is dedicated to poet Petar Preradović, one of the best known Croatian writers of the 19th century and an esteemed member of the Illyrian movement. One of his most famous poems, titled ‘Zora puca, bit će dana’ (Dawn is Breaking, Day is Coming), talks about the national identity and better times that are soon to come for the Croatian people. To honour Preradović, it was decided for the bench in Mali Lukoran to feature the title of the poem as the central part of the mosaic piece. Even if you don’t know the literary context behind the inscription, its literal meaning fits the place: the bench is installed on the waterfront, at a peaceful spot that would be perfect for watching the sunrise.

Judging by the photos you can see here, Kliman had a lot of enthusiastic little helpers. The project doubles as a mosaics workshop that proved to be pretty popular, according to the artist. “We honestly didn’t expect so many children to gather here, as well as adults, tourists, residents of other towns. People stood in line, everyone wanted to lay their own little piece of the mosaic, leave their mark on Peter’s bench. I’m very satisfied and happy!” said Kliman.

Legend has it that Preradović wrote the cult poem in Mali Lukoran, as his first wife Pavica de Ponte had a family summer estate in the village. The bench is thus getting an official opening ceremony on August 18, to mark the 145th anniversary of the poet’s death.

The only thing that remains to be seen is who’s going to gather at the poet’s bench and which important topics will be discussed. If benches had ears…


Source: Naši Školji


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