Cultural Centres

Janez Trdina Cultural Centre, Novo mesto

Novo mesto

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Kulturni center Janeza Trdine

Novi trg 5 8000, Novo mesto

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The Novo mesto Cultural Centre is a multi-purpose municipal venue which presents a performing arts and music programme, with special activities for children such as puppetry, drama, dance and film screenings, and music lessons. The cultural centre also hosts conference activities, organising regular seminars, lectures and exhibitions.

Programme

The centre’s activities are divided into four main parts: theatre, music, musical theatre and a programme for children. All are available on a subscription basis. At the centre, one can see theatre performances by local groups as well as touring performances by Slovene theatre houses such as SNG Drama Ljubljana, Ljubljana City Theatre (MGL) or SNG Nova Gorica as well as performances from domestic and international musicians with Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, Bill Evans and Mitteleuropa Orchestra amongst others. The centre also serves as a venue for jazz concerts which are part of Jazzinty international summer jazz festival and musical workshop that has been taking place annually in the historic city centre of Novo mesto for twenty years.

Venue

The main hall has a capacity of 366 seats and is suitable for concert and dance performances, technically less demanding theatre plays, film screenings, conferences and meetings. The Janez Trdina Cultural Centre’s hall can also be rented.

Kocka Gallery

Within the venue, there is also an exhibition space with 80 seats available. It is suitable for smaller-scale performances and exhibitions as well as banquets and receptions. In 2019, it hosted an ongoing concert series called Kocka Out of the Box Sessions which presented a diverse selection of music performed in an intimate setting.

Libraries

Miran Jarc Library, Novo mesto

Novo mesto

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Knjižnica Mirana Jarca, Novo mesto

Rozmanova ulica 28 8000, Novo mesto

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Miran Jarc Library in Novo mesto functions as the regional library for South East Slovenia. The library was founded in 1946 as a regional study library and currently operates both as a traditional library and as a multimedia information and cultural centre of the region. The 1,733 square-metre library houses a 70-seat reading room and is visited by around 373,000 users a year. It comprises several branches: Šentjernej, Škocjan, Straža, Dvor, and Dolenjske Toplice libraries and a mobile library. The regional library is the seat of the Library Association of Dolenjska.

Activities and collection

The library is organised into several departments for specific users, such as the study department for educational purposes, which features expert literature, textbooks, audio-visual material and travel books. In addition to books, the adult readers department holds various cultural events, lectures, exhibitions, book club meetings, and prepares reading lists. Children and young people can take advantage of the rich collection of books, comics and magazines. The library organises a number of events for children, among them storytelling hours, workshops and other activities in connection with reading. It also participates in and organises international projects and professional meetings on library science.

The library’s special collections hold more than 100,000 items of rare and valuable materials, manuscripts, books, first and special editions, pictures, photographs, postcards, pamphlets, maps, etc. Of significance here are Jurij Dalmatin’ translation of the Bible, Janez Vajkard Valvasor’s The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, and the manuscript legacy of renowned Slovene writer Slavko Grum.

Libraries

Črnomelj Library

Črnomelj

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Knjižnica Črnomelj

Ulica Otona župančiča 7 8340, Črnomelj

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Although officially established in 1962, Črnomelj Library traces its origins back to 1868, when Narodna čitalnica, a national reading room, was opened in the city of Črnomelj. It runs a branch library in Semič.

In addition to lending library material, the library stands as the cultural centre of the region, facilitating lifelong learning, hosting activities for all age groups, cultural events, and fosters the reading culture in the Romani community. Such activities include book clubs, creative workshops, exhibitions, literary competitions, and story-telling hours. The library manages several projects with a view to developing language skills among and making literature more accessible to special needs individuals.

Museums

Kočevje Regional Museum

Kočevje

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Pokrajinski muzej Kočevje

Prešernova Ulica 11 1330 , Kočevje

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The origins of the Kočevje Regional Museum date back to the founding of the Museum Society of Kočevje in 1953. It is housed in the 1930s Šešek House in the center of the city. Its permanent exhibitions focus on the historical event from 1943 that took place here and resulted in the first elected parliament in the history of the Slovenes. Another intriguing subject is the legacy of the Gottschee Germans. The thematic shows are prepared in collaboration with other Slovene museums and contemporary art exhibitions are organised in the Likovni salon Kočevje.

History

The Society was initially housed in the former Skubiz villa on the Rinža, which today houses the offices of Kočevje Municipality. In 1963 the museum moved to the Sokol House, originally constructed in 1937–1938 (designed by Gustav Trenz) as a multi purpose building with a large central auditorium, which in October 1943 hosted the Assembly of the Delegates of the Slovene Nation, the first elected parliament in the history of the Slovenes. In 1947 Sokol House was renamed Šešek House [Šeškov dom] in honour of national hero Jože Šešek who was executed by Italian occupation forces in 1942.

Permanent exhibitions

The Kočevje Regional Museum presents several collections, including Drawings by Painter Božidar Jakac (1899-1989) in the auditorium – among them are 34 drawings made during the session of the Assembly in 1943.

The Former German Language Island in the Kočevje Region – exhibition presents the legacy of the Gottschee Germans. They have inhabited the region for over 600 years but the majority of population abandoned their homes in the winter of 1941–1942 (this part of Slovenia was not incorporated in the German occupation zone, but occupied by Italians) and opted to move to the Reich. The resettlement, the ravages of the war, the post-war collapse, and the systematic destruction had far-reaching consequences for the once-developed cultural landscape.

The third exhibition is The Nation Will Write Its Own Judgement, Slovenia from Idea To The State. The first sentence is the only slogan that remained after the German occupation army badly damaged the Šešek House in October 1943 after the Assembly. The exhibition focuses on this part of the nation’s history, but also shows the history from the first Slavic tribes who settled in these parts up to the independence of Slovenia in 1991.

Temporary exhibitions

The Kočevje Regional Museum also organises temporary exhibitions in collaboration with four other museums in the neighbouring regions, the Bela krajina Museum, Metlika, the Dolenjska Museum Novo mesto, the Božidar Jakac Art Museum, Kostanjevica na Krki, the Museum of the Posavje Region, Brežice that are exchanged among the institutions.

Dislocated units

The museum has two dislocated units with their own permanent exhibitions. At Pregrad Kulturni dom is the exhibition Predgrad and Predgrajci, revealing the ethnology, folklore, and history of inhabitants of the Poljanska Valley by the Kolpa River based on the research and book by Marija Makarovič.

The second permanent exhibition is Churches and Chapels of Kočevska Reka Parish in the renovated Church of St John the Baptist in Kočevska Reka. The Vicariate of Gotenica was mentioned as early as 1363. The exhibition presents ecclesiastical history, the history of the Kočevje Germans, and the devastation during and after World War II, when most of the churches and villages were left to ruin or were intentionally destroyed. For nearly 50 years, Kočevska Reka was a closed military zone.

Museums

Črnomelj Municipal Museum

Črnomelj

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Mestna muzejska zbirka Črnomelj

Ulica Mirana Jarca 3, 8340, Črnomelj

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Opened in 1997 in Črnomelj Castle, Črnomelj Municipal Museum presents the historical development of the town and its significant natural and cultural heritage. The permanent exhibition was modernised in 2003.

History of Črnomelj

Sources first mention the settlement in 1228 under the name of Schirnomel, it became a town in 1497, in the period of the Turkish invasions. The economic development of Črnomelj accelerated after the construction of the Novo mesto–Črnomelj–Karlovac railway, completed in 1914. In the interwar period, the town obtained its first steam-powered saw-mill and foundry, and a brown coal mine opened in Kanižarica. During World War II Črnomelj was occupied by the Italians. On 19–20 February 1944, the first assembly of SNOS, the Slovene Parliament, was held in Črnomelj’s cultural hall. After the war, industry started to develop and bridges and buildings which had been destroyed were soon renovated or rebuilt.

Črnomelj Castle

The castle, situated in the historical centre of Črnomelj, has passed several phases of construction from its establishment in the 13th century. It incorporates a few Gothic portals. Today it is a two-storey four-winged building with an atrium and an accent at the west wing. There are three plaques built in the outer structure, commemorating the District Committee of the National Liberation, the Founding Assembly of the Slovene Association of Journalists, and Matija Malešič (b. 1933), a native lawyer and ambassador.

Besides Črnomelj Municipal Museum, the castle also houses the seat of the Črnomelj Municipality and Tourist Information Centre.

Display

On the ground floor are presented Roman tombstones found on Ločki Okljuk. In two small rooms on the first floor, the history of the town of Črnomelj is shown from prehistoric times to the middle of the 20th century, with an emphasis on the town’s social activities, economic development and industrialisation. Several items linked with the history of the town are displayed, including an installation of a worker’s kitchen from the middle of the 20th century.

A permanent exhibition of works by Božidar Jakac (1899–1989) featuring Bela krajina motifs was opened in the gallery of the Črnomelj Municipal Museum in 1999.

Cultural Centres

LokalPatriot Institute

Novo mesto

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LokalPatriot

Dilančeva ulica 1 8000, Novo mesto

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LokalPatriot is one of the liveliest cultural centres in Novo mesto. The original and inventive programmes presented here are conceived by a team of young and engaged local professionals.

Activities and venues

The Lokalpatriot Club operates as a bar, a cybercafé, and a reading room during the daytime, in the evening it turns into a venue for concerts, performances, literary events, cinematheque screenings, lectures, etc.

It also ran the Simulaker Gallery, an exhibition space which showcases all forms of contemporary visual arts. LokalPatriot organised the renowned Jazzinty International Music Workshop and Festival and Fotopub Festival of Documentary Photography, with their respective workshops for musicians and photographers, both representing an excellent opportunity for basic comprehension of the art forms.

Museums

Bela krajina Museum, Metlika

Metlika

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Belokranjski muzej Metlika

Trg svobode 4 8330, Metlika

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Founded in 1951, the Bela krajina Museum is based in the Metlika castle, situated in the old part of this picturesque town near the Kolpa River, the natural border between Slovenia and Croatia. The museum houses and presents the movable cultural heritage of Bela krajina. The museum manages three satellites – Kambič Gallery in Metlika, Oton Župančič Memorial House in Vinica and the Semič Local Museum Collection.

History

Although there was a wish to have a museum in Bela krajina from 1910 onward, the foundations were laid only in 1949, when the Metlika Museum Society was founded. Two years later the museum was officially established with premises in the Metlika castle and town hall. In the next 30 years, it developed into a significant cultural institution with an extensive permanent exhibition, rich archives, full depositories and library, under the leadership of Jože Dular.

In 1981, when Zvonko Rus became the head of the museum, the Gangl Exhibition Gallery was opened in the castle for temporary exhibitions. After the great restoration work on Metlika castle in 1999–2000 the Bela krajina Museum opened with a newly arranged permanent exhibition, expanded its dislocated venues (of them, the Črnomelj Municipal Museum later became independent), and increased the number of visitors.

Metlika castle

The Metlika castle, first mentioned in 1456 but probably far older, played a key role in defending Carniola from the Turkish raids mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 16th century, it was owned first by the Alapi counts, then the Frankopans (a Croatian noble family), and subsequently by the Zagreb Cathedral Chapter. After the fires in 1705 and 1790, the restoration work was carried out and the castle building acquired the look of a comfortable town residence.

Today the castle is a several-storey complex with a pentagonal ground plan, entered through a three-story entrance tower that opens into a spacious arcaded inner courtyard. It houses the Bela krajina Museum with a permanent exhibition and the Alojz Gangl Exhibition Gallery, a wedding hall and wine cellar, and the nearby collection of the Slovene Fire Fighters Museum of Branko Božič. In summer, it hosts many cultural events, among them, the Castle Evenings programme and the “Wine Spring” (Vinska vigred) festivities held in the Gangl Gallery. The castle underwent major restoration works in 1999–2000, including a replacement of the roof construction and roofing, ceilings, windows and doors.

Collections on display

The cultural history collection at Metlika presents the history of Bela krajina from 1200 onward, from the time the Kolpa became the border river between Carniola and Croatia. One interesting, though dark, period is that of the Turkish incursions in the 15th and 16th centuries. The lapidary collection, established in 1998, contains 19 fascinating objects relating to Roman, medieval and modern history. The ethnological collection illustrates the way of life in the 19th and early 20th centuries when Črnomelj and Metlika were major centres of crafts and trade. There is also a special viticulture collection in the castle cellar from 1991 on. A thematic permanent exhibition is dedicated to the radio receivers owned by Anton Stipanič, one of the founders of an amateur radio organisation who won the Valvasor Honorary Recognition in 2007 for its donation to the museum.

The museum also houses a rich collection of visual art, emphasising work by artists from the Bela krajina region. The Bela krajina Museum’s exhibitions conclude with the collection of recent history that introduces the visitor to the major events in Bela krajina in the first half of the 20th century. The museum also holds a regular temporary exhibition.

On the ground floor of Metlika castle, museum visitors can visit the Grajska Klet winery, where they can taste the excellent wines of Bela krajina.

Monuments and Sites

Baza 20 Memorial Site, Kočevski Rog

Novo mesto

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Kočevski Rog - Baza 20

Muzejska ulica 7 8000, Novo mesto

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Baza 20 was one of the numerous camps in the woods of Kočevski Rog which were once the commanding structures of the National Liberation Movement of Slovenia in the Second World War. Numerous secretively built partisan structures and settlements scattered in the Kočevski Rog forest had the code name Baza plus number: 15, 15a, 21, 80, etc. Only Baza 20 and the field hospitals Jelendol and Zgornji Hrastnik have been preserved as monuments of national and cultural heritage and have also undergone extensive restoration work.

This former base camp (baza), which was granted the status of a cultural and historical monument of national importance in 1952, has been managed by the Dolenjska Museum in Novo mesto since 1994.

In 1995 a permanent exhibition in Barrack 16 was set up, while a second exhibition has been on display in Barrack 22 since 1998 presenting the activities of the partisans including their workshops, hospital, and the operations of the Slovene National Liberation Council in Kočevski Rog. By appointment visitors can also watch a short introductory documentary on Baza 20 in Lukov Dom near the site.

History

Already in August 1941, the first resistance against Italian and German occupational forces was organised in this region. Kočevski Rog was the first part of Slovenia to be liberated under partisan command as early as May 1942. At that time, it became the logistic centre of the armed resistance. Partisan hospitals, workshops, schools, printing works, and warehouses were soon operating in these deep woods during the war.

From April 1943 the most important headquarters were in Baza 20: the seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovenia and the Executive Committee of the Liberation. At the end of 1943, 26 barracks housed some 140 fighters and politicians, among them also Edvard Kocbek and Boris Kidrič.

Theatres

Anton Podbevšek teathre

Novo mesto

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Anton Podbevšek Teater

Prešernov trg 3 8000, Novo mesto

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Established in May 2005, Anton Podbevšek Theatre (APT) is the youngest Slovenian professional theatre house and the first professional theatre in the history of Novo mesto, a town in the south-eastern region of Slovenia. The theatre is named after Anton Podbevšek, the first Slovenian avant-garde poet and the “frontman” of the artistic movement that gave rise to the first Slovenian artistic avant-garde called the Novo mesto spring, suggesting APT’s orientation toward research, risk-taking, reflection and new modes of presentation.

A theatre of thought

APT aims to develop its activities as a visual institute that articulates contemporary performing arts, theoretical discourse and theatre pedagogy while striving to make engaged and challenging contemporary theatre that surpasses the distinction between popular and elite culture.
Building on the concept of theatre as a form of thought, APT focuses on producing primarily post-dramatic but also dramatic, dance, musical and children’s performances. Its productions, often synthesising literature, dance, music, architecture, painting and film, seek to take risks by exploring different genres codes and contemporary performing arts methods, while relying heavily on the category of “emancipated spectatorship” and the theatrical-philosophical ideas, concepts, principles and methods of Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud and Alain Badiou.
APT produces four premieres annually. It regularly premieres new works by Matjaž Berger, collaborates with a number of theatre directors and choreographers of younger generations such as Nejc Gazvoda, Bara Kolenc, Jana Menger, Matjaž Pograjc, Gregor Luštek, etc. and occasionally enters co-productions with other cultural producers such as Dance Theatre Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom Culture and Congress Centre, etc.

Awards and additional programme

The theatre’s productions appear at acclaimed domestic theatre festivals, such as the Maribor Theatre Festival, the Week of Slovenian Drama, the Golden Stick Festival, etc. APT’s co-production with the Bologna-based Teatri di Vita, Italy, Portrait of a Lady (Portret neke gospe), directed by Matjaž Berger, won two awards at the 2009 Borštnik Theatre Festival, while the performance The Serfs: An Annotated Edition received two awards at the Week of Slovenian Drama. APT was also awarded the Little Golden Stick Awards at the biennial Golden Stick Festival for the production of Livingston’s Last Kiss, a synthesis of theatre and electronic art, directed by Nana Milčinski and featuring the rock band Siddharta.
In addition to its performing arts and educational activities, APT also organises an art cinema programme, partly carried out in cooperation with Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe), which also hosts round tables with filmmakers and different thinkers.