Ljubica – the love of Stanko Vraz
The most romantic Samobor’s event has been fostering a poetic word for almost 30 years while keeping alive the memory of the love between the Illyrian poet Stanko Vraz and a local woman Julijana Cantilly, whom he immortalized as a character in his poems, known as Ljubica. This poets’ gathering was first organized in 1990 at the initiative of the President of the Croatian Writers Society at the time, Nedjeljko Fabrio, who promised to local the artists Josip Prudeus, Miroslav Milonjić and Ivica Sudnik he would bring poets to Samobor if they renovated the neglected grave of Vraz’s Ljubica (Julijana Cantilly) near the parish church. Delivered as promised.
For almost three decades now poets meet around Ljubica’s grave, reveal a new plaque with engraved verses in the Passage of Croatian Poets and then devote themselves to reading their own romantic verses. In that way, at the beginning of June, the town of Samobor turns into the Croatian centre of the most beautiful declarations of love, based on the Stanko Vraz’s work “Đulabija”, dedicated to Julijana.
Over 150 renowned poets participated at the “Night of Love Poetry”, and some of them were the greatest names of Croatian literature and poetry: Ludwig Bauer, Tito Bilopavlović, Mladen Bjažić, Diana Burazer, Ljerka Car Matutinović, Jozefina Dautbegović, Arsen Dedić, Stanislav Femenić, Zvonimir Golob, Pajo Kanižaj, Enes Kišević, Mladen Kušec, Sonja Manojlović, Saša Meršinjak, Slavko Mihalić, Stijepo Mijović Kočan, Nikola Miličević, Anđelko Novaković, Luko Paljetak, Vesna Parun, Sanja Pilić, Sunčana Škrinjarić, Dragutin Tadijanović, just to name a few.
Currently, the “Night of Love Poetry” has turned into days’ long “Festival of Vraz’s Ljubica” organized by the Samobor Open University and supported by the Croatian Writers Society, the Samobor Museum, Town’s Library, Samobor’s Matica, the Town, the County and the Ministry of Culture. Besides the gathering of poets, there is an event called “The Harvest of Books”, the programme of “Guests at Vraz’s”, as well as recitations of less known poets and workshops for children – maybe future participants of the event in the years to come.