Thursday, 5. 5. 2011

9 May Ljubljana public holiday

The Slovenian capital Ljubljana celebrates this weekend.

Events to mark the 9 May Ljubljana public holiday will run from 5 to 9 May 2011.

Sirens from Ljubljana Castle announced to the people of Ljubljana on 9 May 1945 their long-awaited and hard-fought freedom. Ljubljana – City of Heroes and the Partisan Army had overthrown the occupiers, and the barbed wire that had intimidatingly surrounded Ljubljana and restricted the lives of its residents all the way from the first half of 1942 to the end of the Second World War was torn down. Now 9 May is the Holiday of the City of Ljubljana.

To mark the 40th anniversary of liberation, on 9 May 1985, the Ljubljana city authorities created and opened a 32.5km-long footpath around Ljubljana which runs along the location of the barbed wire and bunkers of the occupiers. In Yugoslav times, taking part in the annual walk around the 'Path along the Wire' was compulsory for all Ljubljana schoolchildren, students and workers who made a real human chain around the city as they went hand-in-hand. After the creation of the independent Republic of Slovenia participation was made optional, although despite this the traditional 'Walk along the Wire' around the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship is becoming more and more popular every year. Last year, just short of 22,000 people took part. Concurrent with the 'Walk along the Wire' there is also a race called the 'Trio', a 28 or 12km run along the Path. Events run for three days – every year on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before 9 May – Holiday of the City of Ljubljana.

This year's celebration of the City Holiday

This year's celebration of the City Holiday begins on Thursday 5 May 2011 with the start of the 55th 'Walk along the Wire' 2011. The first on the Path are to be youngsters from Ljubljana kindergartens, followed the next day by primary and middle schoolchildren. The event reaches a peak on Saturday 7 May with the recreational 'Walk along the Wire' and the 'Trio' race.

The main event of the recreational hike is to take place in Mestni trg on Saturday morning, where among other things the 'Trio' race starts and finishes and the prizes are awarded to the best teams.

Further information about events surrounding the 55th 'Walk along the Wire' 2011 can be found at the following link.

Celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Slovenian National Liberation Front, organised by the Union of Associations of Combatants for the Values of the Slovenian National Liberation Front, get underway in Prešeren Square at 1pm on Saturday 7 May, after the walk has finished. The keynote speaker is to be President of the aforementioned Union Janez Stanovnik, alongside whom on behalf of the host – the City of Ljubljana – Mayor Zoran Janković is also to address the crowd.

'Europe to Ljubljana – Ljubljana to Europe', the main celebration of Europe Day and the City Holiday, organised for the fifth year in succession by the Representation of the European Commission in Slovenia and the City of Ljubljana, takes place in Prešeren Square at 8.30pm on Sunday 8 May.

A free open-air concert by the RTV Slovenia symphony orchestra with conductor and soloist Benjamin Ziervogel features Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The programme of music is supplemented by selected works by four Slovene composers, Kajetan Kovič, Tone Pavček, Janez Menart and Ciril Zlobec, which will be interpreted by dramatic actor Boris Ostan. The keynote speaker is to be President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr Danilo Türk, while those assembled are also to be addressed by European Commissioner for the Environment Dr Janez Potočnik and Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković.

Celebrations of the Ljubljana City Holiday conclude on Monday 9 May 2011 with the traditional gala meeting of the City of Ljubljana City Council which takes place at Ljubljana Castle and at which the Mayor of Ljubljana is to present the highest awards of the City of Ljubljana.

The title of Honorary Citizen of Ljubljana, Capital of Slovenia, is to be bestowed upon poet, children's author, actress, illustrator and singer Svetlana Makarovič and popular music composer and conductor Momir Sepe.

The 2011 Ljubljana Capital City Award is to be given to sculptor Mirsad Begić, Doctor of Obstetrics Matko Vasilij Cerar, theatre and film actor Aleksander Valič and Ljubljana Fire Brigade Assciation.

The 2011 Ljubljana Capital City Plaque is to be awarded to Elena Pečarič, Anton Kastelic, Ljubljana Šentjakob Theatre and the Ljubljana Deaf and Hard of Hearing Society.