The exhibition introduces an insight into various ways of everyday life of Kamnik bourgeoisie in the 19th century. The book accompanying the exhibition is Beži Ljubljana, Gradec se skrij, Dunaj tud' Kamniku gliha nič ni. The title of the book, which can be translated as “Ljubljana run, Graz hide, and Vienna you don’t have anything on Kamnik” is borrowed from a noted satirical song, that talks about how people from the surrounding villages near Kamnik mocked the arrogant Kamnik bourgeoisie.
In the second half of the 19th century, the city was the centre of Kamnik’s political district, which united Kamnik’s and Brdo’s juristiction. In Kamnik there were headquarters of the district board, the district court and other district offices. In the 1869 the city had a population of 2452.
The most eminent and prominent part of the city, from the sanitation to the high standard apartments, was the oldest part of Kamink – The Town. Even though some mediaeval construction material was preserved, the buildings were single-storey and modern. Suburban part Šutna was known for its craftsmen and merchants. Šutna’s lower part was known for the leather workshops and butchers, and the part Na produ for its mills. Buildings in The Town and on the Šutna were the typical single-storey buildings, which we can still see today. The ground floors were usually turned into different craft workshops, shops, basements, often times also barns. On the first floor there were better and nicer rooms, and kitchens for owner’s family. A great progress in the housing culture was plumbing instalment in the 1888 and electrical wiring in 1912. Another important suburb towards the North of Kamnik was Graben, which was at first known for its iron works and nail making craft, and then after 1854 for the gunpowder-making factory.
In the second half of the 19th century the most successful and profitable businesses were shops and inns. The number of inns and pubs in Kamnik was pretty high. In the 1874 they registered 36 pubs. Besides the smaller craft workshops, Kamnik also got some bigger workshops, even factories, like Schnabl’s factory of fine ceramics, Julij Stare’s factory where they made vinegar and liquor, and Prašnikar’s health spa and resort, which was very well known.
Social life was very diverse. In the 1892 there were 19 different societies, and there were even more new ones after the 1900. To name some examples, gymnastic society Sokol was founded in 1904, gymnastic society Orel in 1907, Society for children and youth was founded in 1911, etc. Societies that have the longest tradition are the reading society or club (Narodna čitalnica) founded in 1868, first singing society Lira and fire department from 1882 and a branch of Slovenian mountaineering society from the 1893.
One of the most important and significant rituals for strengthening ties between family members, friends and even business partners were christenings, weddings, and also funerals. They chose godfathers who were able to protect the child and also help the whole family. The appropriate marriage was also of vital importance. The unwritten rule was to choose a partner who was equally wealthy. Some also choose partners with whom they were able to gain or fortify their wealth. The widowed bourgeoisie often times remarried, mostly because they wanted to preserve the household, because they were concern about raising the kids or because of the inheritance. They took care of their assets with marriage contracts.
The belonging to bourgeoisie status was shown in the acknowledgment of certain behaviour and mindset. Among those there were organized family life, appropriate house interior, nice clothing and better food. That’s how they were showing their belonging to the bourgeoisie also on the outside.
Author Zora Torkar, MA, design Polona Matek.
You can find more about the exhibition in publications: Zora Torkar, Beži Ljubljana…..