Tuesday was a state holiday in Slovenia – Statehood Day (Dan drzavnosti) which commemorates the act of independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.
I have often read questions, posted on various forums by visitors to Slovenia, as to what is open on holiday days in Slovenia. Well, the answer is that it depends on the holiday! On Statehood Day for example, almost everything is closed – shops, businesses etc. However, cafes, restaurants etc. and the major tourist attractions all remain open so apart from being unable to shop, visitors are not usually affected, although bus and train schedules run to Sunday services. On other holidays however, some of the larger shops are open, at least in the mornings.
Being here on a holiday can also be a bonus as there are usually plenty of celebratory or commemoratory events taking place around the country. I think its fair to say that the majority of Slovenes are very patriotic, which is not surprising considering the long and somewhat turbulent history of this little country, and on state holidays you will usually see the Slovene flag flying on public buildings as well as on many private homes too.
On Tuesday, there were 2 events to mark the day in Radovljica. First at 9am there was a guided walk of the Path of Peace, which starts in Brezje at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians and leads to the Peračica waterfalls. The path is well marked so can also be followed without a guide – http://www.radolca.si/en/brezje-peace-trail/
Additionally, in the evening, there was a concert by the Anton Tomaz Linhart Choir in the Baroque Hall in the Radovljica Mansion House, located in the old town centre.
The Radovljica Mansion House (graščina) is the venue for numerous events including concerts, dances, weddings, exhibitions and other celebrations and events. Hardly a week goes by without some kind of event taking place – some of which are also free. It’s such a beautiful building, it never fails to impress, and even after having lived here for 6 years, I still admire it each time I walk past. So if you are visiting Radovljica, be sure to go in and take a look for yourself – it’s free to enter. The building is also home to the Museum of Apiculture (that’s beekeeping to you and me!), the Town Museum and the Radovljica Music School. Additionally, it hosts the very popular Radovljica Festival of Music, which takes place annually in August and last year celebrated its 30th anniversary. This year the festival will run from the 10th to the 25th August – http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica-festival/
In addition to Easter Monday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, there are also other holidays in Slovenia. The main ones, listed below, are both state holidays and work free days whereas some others are celebrated but they don’t mean getting a day of work (boo!):
8th February – Prešeren day (Prešeren dan) – Commemorates the anniversary of the death of the Slovene poet France Preseren
27th April – Day of Uprising Against Occupation (Dan upora proti okupatorju) – Marks the establishment of the Liberation Front in 1941 to fight the German, Italian, Hungarian and Croation occupation of Slovenia.
1st & 2nd May – May Day Holidays (Praznik dela) – Work free days
15th August – Assumption Day (Marijino vnebovzetje)
31st October – Reformation Day (Dan reformacije)
1st November – All Saints Day (Dan spomina na mrtve) – Literally, a day dedicated to remembering the dead.
26th December – Independence and Unity Day (Dan samostojnisti in enotnosti) – Celebrates the proclamation of independence from Yugoslavia in 1990 following the referendum.
Until this year, 2nd January was also a holiday but that one fell victim to the economic crisis cost saving measures – though how this will save the ailing economy is anyone’s guess!
Next weekend it’s the Blacksmith’s Festival in Kropa. This annual event is an ideal opportunity to get acquainted with the long tradition of iron forging in this quaint village. There will be plenty going on so read here for more information – http://www.radolca.si/en/the-iron-forging-festival/