Jože Udovič Public Library, Cerknica



Knjižnica Jožeta Udoviča, Cerknica

Partizanska cesta 22 SI-1380, Cerknica

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Though the roots of librarianship in this region reach as far back as 1869, Jože Udovič Public Library in Cerknica was officially established in 1973. Taking its name after poet, translator and essayist Jože Udovič (1912–1986), the library functions as a central cultural institution in the region. Its operations cover two branches in Nova vas and Stari trg.

Housed in the main premises are a study and a newspaper reading room, which offer members Internet access, and a wide selection of newspaper and magazine titles respectively. Their media department comprises DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks, while the local collection department also maintains a number of rare prints, including E. Brown’s A Brief Account of Some Travels in Divers Parts of Europe from 1685. Jože Udovič memorial room, encompassing over 3000 books, slides and journals he accumulated over the course of his life, may also be found in the library. Library-goers are welcome to take part in a number of events: storytelling hours, puppet shows, musical performances, literary evenings, lectures, exhibitions, and creative workshops.


Cerknica Culture House



Kulturni dom Cerknica

Cesta 4. maja 63 SI-1380 , Cerknica

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The Cerknica Culture House [Kulturni dom Cerknica] is the central cultural institution in the town of Cerknica and its surrounding region. The Cultural house was established in 2006 and is now run by the Public Institute of Notranjska Regional Park. It is stationed in the former centre of the gymnastics society Sokol [Falcon], which was renovated and turned into a modern cultural venue.


In order to foster a quality cultural scene it runs a varied and ambitious programme that includes music concerts, theatre and puppetry performances, stand-up shows, film and animation screeenings, and various programmes for children. It plays an important role in facilitating local amateur theatre groups and is also collaborating with other cultural initiatives in the region.

The culture house organises an annual theatre performances subscription series for adults and children, respectively, hosting selected theatre production from theatre houses round Slovenia (eg Slovene National Theatre Drama Ljubljana, Prešeren Theatre Kranj, Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica, Slovene Permanent Theatre in Trieste, Slovene People’s Theatre (SLG) Celje, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre), and some local theatre groups performances. They have hosted also a line of contemporary dance and theatre performances by non-governmenatal performing arts producers, for instance by Muzeum Institute, EPI Centre, Federacija Institute, etc.


The culture house has a medium-sized hall for about 200 people and is well equipped with sound and lightning equipment. The hall and other facilities may be rented by outside parties as well. The centre’s patio enables outdoor activities such as concerts and other public gatherings.

Cultural heritage

Mardi Gras at Cerknica

11. 02. - 17. 02. 2021



Pust v Cerknici

Tabor 1 SI-1380, Cerknica

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Mardi Gras at Cerknica is one of the most popular and well-known Mardi Gras (Pust) carnivals in Slovenia. It consists of a week-long programme of events that commemorate the upcoming spring and feature various festivities and re-enactments of traditional rituals such as the burning of the Pust figure. The carnival’s main attraction is a procession featuring numerous masked participants and giant papier-mâché sculptures of witches and monsters.

The timing of the carnival moves from year to year. Starting on Thursday, it ends a week later on Ash Wednesday – the day that marks the start of the 40-days of fasting preceding Easter.


The Mardi Gras celebrations have a long history in Slovenia (as they do in most of Europe), with the particular manifestations diverging from region to region. Many of them – such as Kurentovanje in Ptuj and the Cerkljanska Laufarija in Cerkno – have very unique and ancient traditions of costumes and customs.

The Cerknica carnival, as we know it today, only started to develop in the years after WWII, when the local rites of driving away winter were gradually joined by masquerades for children and a tradition of satirically-tinged costumes alludal to political and current events. The official birth of this particular festival is considered to be 1975, the year when the Cerknica Mardi Gras Society (Pustno društvo Cerknica) was established. This society cares for the organisation and is of prime importance especially due to the fact that they create, develop and store the giant figures used in the procession.

The carnival

The festivities start on Thursday, when the traditional rite of “sowing the hag” takes place. This is also the day when the town is supposedly given over to Butalci, comical and outrageously stupid figures taken from a series of famous satirical novels by Fran Milčinski (1867–1932) about the made-up town Butale. Its residents play a strong part in the upcoming days of the festival.

With the main events being the Saturday and Sunday processions (attracting thousand of visitors from around Slovenia), the whole thing finishes on Wednesday, when Pust (an anthropomorphic representation of winter) is ritually burned and thrown into the river.

Carnival procession

The procession features numerous groups of masked people and giant papier-mâché sculptures (of which many were created by the painter and sculptor Milan Rot). These include the witch Uršula (the mascot of the festival who according to folklore resides in a cave on Slivnica, a hill overlooking Cerknica), the devil and his herd of dormice, a dragon, the Water-man, and so on. Many of them allude to well-known figures from the Slovene literary tradition.