This article is about a clock, with links to Slovenian folklore, on top of the puppet theatre. Bear with me now. The characters that you see standing behind two windows (since 1986) are fascinating figures. They present themselves once every hour on the dot, while an old-school tune plays in the background.
The history of this masculine-looking lad and the tiny horse is well-known by the locals. Simultaneously, it’s their tale that makes this rooftop attraction so interesting. Based on Slovenian folklore, Fran Levstik wrote a story about a man with extraordinary strength and a tiny horse. Martin Krpan (pronounced as ‘grrpan’), and his mare, lived in the Habsburg empire.
He was said to be an honest, simple, and level-headed man. From what I’ve gathered, Martin was a diamond in the rough—long before diamonds were a girl’s best friend. In a nutshell, a simple man who made a living as a smuggler of English salt (aka gunpowder).
Nevertheless, with his ingenuity and strength, he saved the empire by defeating a brutal warrior named Brdavs in Vienna. Due to his victory, the emperor wanted to reward Martin royally. The Slovenian declined the hand of the emperor’s daughter and went home with some gold coins and a license to transport gunpowder legally.
If you want to catch a glimpse of this dancing duo, I advise you to take a comfortable seat on the terrace of Daktari or Čokl and sip on a fresh beer, a homemade lemonade, or a good coffee.