(post published at the Portal of the National and University Library in Zagreb, 7 Nov 2019)
On 6 November 2018, the National and University Library in Zagreb hosted the opening ceremony of Croatian Glagolitic Heritage, the Library’s exhibition highlighting the tradition and legacy of one of the most significant periods in Croatia’s cultural history. Organised under the slogan Proud to letter it in Glagolitic, the exhibition will be taking place as part of the Croatian Book Month 2018 and European Year of Cultural Heritage, and will remain on view until 15 December 2018.
The exhibition was opened by the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, after which the Croatian Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek addressed the present visitors. Brief addresses followed by the Director General of the National and University Library in Zagreb Tatijana Petrić, Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Josip Bratulić and Sandi Antonac, the author of the exhibition.
The oldest Croatian epigraphic monuments and thousands of pages of the most valuable books and documents written in Glagolitic bear evidence to a long and uninterrupted development of Croatian culture, which not only embraced the Glagolitic alphabet, but transformed it into a new, completely original writing system known as Angular, or Croatian, Glagolitic.
Throughout centuries, this brand new and markedly Croatian form of the Glagolitic alphabet has become one of the central symbols of the Croatian cultural identity. Such elevated status of Angular Glagolitic rests on the hardworking hands of stonemasons, weary eyes of scribes, zeal of Glagolitic priests, skills of Croatia’s oldest master printers, dedication of researchers, and the creativity and vision of enthusiastic individuals working in the cultural industries.
Based on the knowledge of prominent Croatian researchers and specialists in the field of written heritage and its own rich collection of works belonging to the Croatian Glagolitic tradition, the Library will use modern technologies to present Glagolitic through several thematic units, ranging from various theories of the origin of Glagolitic, its geographical distribution, through Glagolitic scribes, chants and monuments, to the most representative Glagolitic manuscripts and printed books, and the modern use of the Glagolitic alphabet in communication, economy, culture and public life.
The exhibition represents the peak of the Library’s 2018 initiative focusing on the promotion of the oldest Croatian alphabet organised as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The initiative started with a campaign for the declaration of 22 February, which is already celebrated as the National and University Library in Zagreb Day, as the Croatian Glagolitic Script Day. It continued with the presentation of the first phase of the Library’s Croatian Glagolitic Heritage project and the related Glagoljica.hr online portal, and subsequently included a number of other public events, lectures and exhibitions.
The Croatian Glagolitic Heritage exhibition was organised with the aim of bringing greater public attention to the need for keeping alive and using this old alphabet in modern contexts, strengthening institutional cooperation focusing on its preservation and tirelessly promoting this guardian of the Croatian national identity and culture and its very backbone at the same time.
The exhibition is held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Government of the Republic of Croatia, Croatian Parliament and the City of Zagreb, and organised with financial support from the Croatian Ministry of Culture, Foundation of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, National and University Library in Zagreb Foundation and the Adris Foundation, including many institutions and companies such as Old Church Slavonic Institute, University Library Rijeka, Technical Museum Nikola Tesla, the Croatian institute focusing on the development and growth of innovation among the young population (Institut za razvoj i inovativnost mladih, IRIM), Croatian Library for the Blind, Biograd na Moru Local History Museum, Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Fabula Croatica, Koncept, E-radionica.com, Signum X and others.