Prešeren Square and Prešeren’s Figs

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Few cities in the world can boast of having a statue of a poet in their main square. The statue of France Prešeren and his muse reminds us that we Slovenes are a nation founded on books, the written word and language. It is in the poetry of Prešeren that our language may be considered to have reached its apogee, as the great poet proved once and for all that the Slovene language was a suitable vehicle for even the most demanding and complex forms of poetry, those that are out of the reach of all but the most highly developed languages.

These days Prešeren Square is the heart of the city, with routes leading off it in all directions: along busy Čopova with its shops and cafés, across the Triple Bridge and to the left, beneath the arcade of Plečnik’s market and on into the bustling food market, or to the right into the narrow streets of Ljubljana’s picturesque Old Town. Alternatively you could simply stop on the Triple Bridge and look at the river. Or make your way to nearby Congress Square in time to catch an aria sung by an opera diva or some other concert of the Ljubljana Festival.

Some people prefer to stay in the square itself – in Prešerc, as the locals call it. “Let’s meet at the statue” a shy young couple might say when arranging their first date. Do they know that the poet’s statue is gazing directly at the window of Prešeren’s own beloved, Julija Primic, who still waits for him in her house on Wolfova? Have you spotted her? Just follow the poet’s gaze. . .

Photo: Shutterstock

Dr France Prešeren (1800–1849), Slovenia’s greatest poet, was a well-known figure even in his own lifetime. Even the city children knew him and would run after him calling: “Doctor, a fig, a fig!” – since he would sometimes hand out dried figs to them. And it is true that a fig can be a very pleasant nibble as you stroll through the city. What would you say, then, to Prešeren’s Figs (Fige Prešernove), a supreme chocolate-and-fig confection created by the Dobnik chocolate workshop and inspired by this famous story about France Prešeren! Today these finest-quality dried figs drenched in cream and real chocolate and exquisitely packaged make the perfect gift for special occasions or a tasty gastronomic souvenir.

Useful Tip

Pop into one of the nearby bookshops and buy a copy of Prešeren’s Poems, then sit at the foot of the poet’s statue with a box of chocolate-covered Prešeren’s Figs. As you nibble this sweet treat and wander through Ljubljana, among the women of Ljubljana, for their beauty long famed, conjuring up in your mind’s eye the romantic Ljubljana of the nineteenth century, the cultural and culinary will come together once again in another “KulKul moment”.

You can buy a box of chocolate-covered Prešeren’s Figs at Čokoladni atelje Dobnik.