At the beginning of June, the Ogulin region abounds with visitors. At this time of the year, along with its natural beauty and rich historical and cultural heritage, Ogulin attracts a large number of visitors to its Festival of Fairy tales, a unique event that celebrates fairy tales and fairy tale writing. This year, for the fourteenth time, the festival was staged from June 7th to 9th. Over these three days Ogulin was transformed into a giant spring stage where renowned artists and performers from Croatia and the world over, plied their trade.
Ogulin's Festival of Fairytales is intended for children, young people and adults alike, each year the diverse program offers professional and amateur productions along with creative workshops in fairytale narration and participation in accompanying sporting events, such as the Cycle-fairytale cycling event. The establishing of the festival was inspired by the creativity of renowned fairytale writer Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, who was born in Ogulin and who found inspiration for her famous fairytales in the city and its surroundings. One of the main goals of the festival is to provide a unique experience in the narration, watching and listening to stories.
The director of the visitor's center of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić's House of Fairytales is Ankica Puškarić: “Thanks to the people who are experts in this profession, who are people of ideas, creativity and a serious knowledge in terms of interpreting cultural heritage, this exceptional, in my mind, strategy for the development of cultural tourism, which is based on two pillars, was conceived. One of the pillars is precisely the Ivana Brlić Mažuranić house, where Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić hosts fairy tales and fairy tale writers from around the world, the second is the Ogulin Fairytale Festival. These are the two main pillars in developing this particular form of tourism, but I would say they also serve to develop the city of Ogulin's cultural policies. It took thirteen years from inception to realization. What has made us especially happy recently, is that work is underway for the establishing of a European cultural route of her literature from the beginning of the twentieth century, because we have a fairytale heritage and natural environment that is itself not unlike a fairytale. What was missing was that magic touch … that we live the part, that we become aware of our values and the values we have here, and then once again, in a worthy, innovative, creative and established way interpret our heritage for our visitors.”
One of the feature roles in the festival of fairytales is none other than Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić herself, who is often referred to as the "Croatian Hans Christian Andersen." Portraying the famed Croatian writer is Sanja Kolić: “My name is Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić. Ogulin is my birth place, April 18th, 1874, is the day I was born. It is from Ogulin that I remember my first strong impressions. I fondly recall the particular excitement that the odd uniqueness this region and its traditional dress awoke in me. The strange and imposing shape of Klek Mountain and the romanticism of the Dobra River, they fed my imagination so much that in my thoughts I created the most amazing pictures and fantastic possibilities long into the night.”
It was this inspiration that led Ivana Brlić Mažuranić to write one of her most well-known works at the age of forty-two, "Croatian Tales of Long Ago." Visitors to the Ivana Brlić Mažuranić house can meet many of the main characters and settings from this collection of short stories, such as the enchanted forest, in which the trees talk. One of the main characters is Malik Tintilinić, played by Maja Juričić Francetić: “There was plenty more that happened here, but Stribor was taken in and the enchanted forests disappeared, the locals disappeared, that girl turned into a snake and returned to the woods. And our Homes will now disappear, just like in the fairytale "Stribor's Forest". This over here is the "Fairytale Jukebox" where you can listen to seventy-nine fairy tales.”
In Ivana's house of fairy tales her works are presented in an intelligent and creative way making use of modern technologies. The goal is to inspire creativity, imagination and original thought among the visitors. The house itself is located in the old Frankopan Castle, and contains a permanent multimedia exhibition, a library, a multifunctional workshop and souvenir shop. Local tour guide Miroslav Turković: “We are extremely proud of Ivan's House of Fairytales, because it is one of the most modern interactive museums in the world, and in a chain reaction it has pulled the entire city along with it. Where it is now normal for you to come across fifty people in the city dressed in a variety of costumes, that the three days of the Festival of Fairytales attract so many parents and their children that you cannot believe your eyes. In time you come to realize just how much this means to all of the other people living in your surroundings.”
All lovers of educational and original entertainment for the whole family are invited to visit Ogulin in June of 2020 for the 15th Festival of Fairytales. Until then, those who plan to visit Ogulin can enjoy the permanent exhibit at Ivan's House of Fairytales in the city center.
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