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Cankar's Statue

Cankar is sitting and pondering in the city center of Vrhnika for more then eight decades now ... How did this happen?

Cankar's Statue in the city center of Vrhnika

You can here many anecdotes about Ivan Cankar. This one is about his statue situated in the city center of Vrhnika … Cankar, in the company of his friends and acquaintances, said: ‘’When they build me a statue, I want them to build it in a way so it portraits me sitting down; I do not like to stand. ‘’ And really, by choosing the work of Ivo Jurkovič people of Vrhnika fulfilled the wish of the greatest Slovenian writer and playwright.

Shortly after Cankar’s death, in January 1919, a Committee was established in order to organize and monitor the built of a memorial to the famous compatriot. In the decade of preparations for the realization of this task the committee turned for help to Slovene emigrants in America. They responded and in Detroit they set up a committee to collect contributions for the statue. As the numerous American Slovenes wanted to attend the unveiling of the statue, the Committee decided that the opening ceremony will take place in the summer of 1930th.

It was decided that the statue should be situated at the site by ‘The new road’ (today the road is called ‘Tržaška’) next to the Agricultural Loan Bank (today the municipal building). In Cankar’s youth this was a place where the family ‘Jelovšek’ stored wooden logs (‘Mesarjeve klade’) and the young Ivan Cankar played with his childhood friends.

10 Slovenian sculptors attended the competition to design the statue. At the end the Committee decided to use the work by sculptor Ivo Jurkovič entitled ‘The Thinker’. They explained that this draft was the most pleasing to the people of Vrhnika as it resembled the actual Cankar’s image the most.

A number of ceremonies accompanied the unveiling of the statue and the memorial plaque on the house (Cankar Memorial House). A crowd of people from near and far attended the unveiling and these ceremonies. A great number of American Slovene traveled from America to Vrhnika just to witness all of this. Cultural events took place on the 9 August, but the most festive and ceremonial was the Sunday, 10 August 1930.

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