Written by Andrej Vovko, 1989
It is not so long since our great compatriot Johann Weichard Valvasor was viewed with suspicion and a lack of understanding. This was due partly to his foreign origin and partly to his noble descent. The abundant literature about him demonstrates, that this suspicion, which was no doubt detrimental to the general understanding of his role in our history, was neither universal nor conclusive.
The initial difficulties which occurred around the proposal for the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the first printing of his most significant work, The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, testify that traces of a somewhat dismissive standpoint can be still found today. It was due to the unwavering tenacity of a few individuals that a central committee of the State Conference of SZDL of Slovenia became active in the matter of the 300th Anniversary. The Committee organized a diverse program of festivities, with the participation by the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Scientific Research Centre at Ljubljana University, Slovenska Matica and town councils of places linked with Valvasor’s life and work (Cerknica, Litija, Zagorje and Krško). I shall mention only the most significant research work and exhibitions.
On 13th October 1989 the Committee opened an exceptionally rich exhibition, Valvasor to Slovenes and to Europe, with the catalogue of the same name, in cooperation with the National Gallery of Ljubljana and with sensitivity by the owners of Valvasor’s legacy in Zagreb. The Ethnographic Museum prepared an exhibition of Slovenian peasant costumes according to the sketches in Valvasor’s Glory. The Institute for the Research of Kras and the Scientific Research Centre SAZU prepared the exhibition Valvasor and Kras, the Committee of Cerknica a Symposium on skiing in Bloke, the Slovenian Ethnological Society the debate Ethnology and Study of Homeland. A successful beginning was made for the production of the scientifically and financially complex publication, an “undertaking of the century” – the complete Slovenian translation and publication of Valvasor’s Die Ehre des Herzogtums Crain / The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola.