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Podnanos, the birthplace of the Slovenian National Anthem

Wine, two prominent local figures and two grand ideas

A stunning view of the distinct spire, excellent wine and two celebrated local luminaries are the hallmarks of this lovely village at the foot of Mt Nanos. Locals are also very proud of the lesser known claim to fame of the village as the birthplace of the Slovenian national anthem.

Podnanos, which was called Št. Vid until the end of WW2, is an old settlement. Archaeological finds suggest that the location might have been settled as early as the Bronze and Iron Age, and was definitely settled by the Slavic peoples. It had emerged right next to a vital traffic route that was previously used by the Romans. In centuries to come, the settlement acted as a small commerce hub. It was a place to trade with livestock and produce, wine, fruit and grain. During the Habsburg Period the village was touted throughout the Monarchy for its great wine.

Perhaps it is no coincidence then that in the early 19th century, Matija Vertovec, priest and a prolific scientific author, polyglot and traveller started his ministry here. A local, born in the neighbouring village of Šmarje, he implanted into the lowly farmers progressive agricultural and viticulture ideas. In Slovenia, Matija Vertovec enjoys the reputation as the author of the book Vinoreja za Slovence (The Art of Winegrowing for Slovenians), which is the first expert book on winegrowing written in Slovenian.

Matija Vertovec tended his own grapevines, and his personal records reflect how much love and care he put into it. In 1843 the article entitled In Praise of the Grapevine (original: Vinske terte hvala) was published in the Agricultural and Artisan News (original: Kmetijske in rokodelske novice). In it, Vertovec included a public entreat to France Prešeren, who was a distinguished poet at that point, to write a hymn to the grapevine. One could speculate that this provided a spark of inspiration for the famous poem Zdravljica (A Toast) to be written a year later by Prešeren.

In 1905, during a period in which the priest and composer Stanko Premrl, who was born in Št. Vid, was on holiday in his home village, Zdravljica was given a melody. Half a century after Vertovec made his appeal to Prešeren, Stanko Premrl wrote the music for the most famous hymn in celebration of wine in Podnanos.

Much later, in 1989 the seventh stanza of Prešeren's Zdravljica with the music of Stanko Premrl was adopted as the official national anthem of Slovenia. Podnanos made history as the birthplace of the Slovenian anthem.

The creative zeal of these two men is documented and proven. Their grand work was fed by a noble source of inspiration: local wine. Vertovec dedicated a large part of his oeuvre to wine, and composer Stanko Premrl was born among the vineyards. Who knows, perhaps even the great France Prešeren found his inspiration in a glass of fine Vipava wine.