Most visitors to Slovenia first encounter Dr France Prešeren as an imposing bronze statue in the heart of Ljubljana, although more than just being at the heart of the capital, Prešeren is at the heart of Slovene identity and culture. Described as the Shakespeare of Slovene literature, Prešeren’s poetry articulates the spirit of Slovenia and the Slovenes, and a stanza from his poem ‘A Toast’ is used as the lyrics for the national anthem. Born in Vrba in 1800, his birth house has become a popular tourist destination.
The house was built in the 16th century though its current form dates from 1856 when it was rebuilt following a fire. Opened as a museum in 1939, Slovenia’s first protected cultural site continues to attract thousands of visitors annually. Whilst it’s mainly Slovenes who make the pilgrimage here the museum offers all visitors a window into the life and times of this literary master, with its collection of 19th-century artefacts including Prešeren’s crib and an informative exhibition of the great man's life.