I’d rather be… somewhere in the 19th century – Petar Preradovic Zagreb tour

Exactly 200 years ago, a poet was born in a small village Grabrovnica, near Pitomača, two hours driving distance from Zagreb, Croatia’s capital. I had my own 19th century experience this weekend and thought “I’d rather be somewhere else, some-time else”.

(SHORT IN CROATIAN / UKRATKO NA HRVATSKOM: Kao što sam najavio u prethodnom članku, održana je kratka turistička šetnja u Zagrebu vezana za 200. obljetnicu rođenja Petra Preradovića. Članak o čitavom ovom događaju možete pročitati na stranici Interpretacijskog centra Petar Preradović ovdje. Na stranici Centra možete pronaći i više informacija o obljetnici, centru i samom pjesniku!)

I announced last week on my blog a short city tour in Zagreb about Petar Preradović, one of the most important poets of Croatian national movement of the 19th century, born on March 19th 1818. If you missed it, article about a poet, with English translation of one of his poems, can be found here!

So… how was the tour with my colleague Vicko Krampus? (He was actually my teacher during my tour guide education, so it was a bit strange experience working with your teacher who became your colleague somewhere along the run.) For starters, we were wearing 19th century hats, coats, white gloves, accompanied by (not) 19th century umbrellas.

petar preradovic vicko dejan

The tour was sweet but short, since we were only a part of the program. And it was raining all day so that didn’t help us to have an enormous audience. Our listeners were very interested in the life and work of Petar Preradovic. The tour started in front of his monument, at Petar Preradovic Square, so we had the opportunity to tell our listeners something about the development and architecture of the square itself, since the streets have interesting stories of their known. Don’t worry, I didn’t miss the story about Pluto the dog who helped to build the bank of the Petar Preradovic Square – original article about Pluto the dog here!

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When the tour was finished, the poet Petar Preradovic appeared himself in a library of Preradoviceva Street. That was actually Mladen Medak, the author and performer of a short mono-drama about the poet’s life. Some of Petar Preradovic’s lyrics were turned into musical acts. Check “Miruj, miruj srce moje” on YouTube!

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The whole event was organised by the Municipality of Pitomača and the Society of Marija Juric Zagorka from Zagreb (writer Marija Juric Zagorka will also be featured on my blog any time now). It was all part of the bigger picture – to present Interpretation center of Petar Preradovic in Grabrovnica, poet’s birthplace. His house is currently being renewed. If you’re visiting the Croatian continental regions and you wish to know more about our literature, Petar Preradovic and Interpretation center in Grabrovnica are a great place to start. You can check their webpage here and their Facebook page here! They also have some very interesting souvenirs – my favorites are Preradovic Linden Tea (lipov čaj) and a T-shirt! Who says poetry and sports don’t go together? I’m sure every girl will turn around to check me out while I’m jogging and reciting 19th century poetry (well, maybe not…)

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Anyway, this ends my post. For me, this was a very interesting experience. For a short period of time, I felt like a “gentleman from the 19th century”. Amazing what a hat can do for a man! And yes, I’d rather be a poet, I’d rather live in the 19th century, but maybe our own century isn’t so bad after all. At least, we can always make a break to enter some past worlds, like I did this weekend. And poetry does just that – taking us somewhere else…

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This post was my submission to this week’s Daily Post challenge I’d rather be…

A big thank you to the photographers of Interpretation center Petar Preradovic for the first three photos used in this post. And a big thank you for the organizers of this event and our guests!

Stories about Croatia continue every week in March. Every Friday a different story, with random posts somewhere in between.

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