October 19 in Slovenian History: First Trade School Established

By , 19 Oct 2019, 16:27 PM Lifestyle

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In 1834 the first trade school in the Slovenian lands was established in Ljubljana by Jacob Franz Mahr, its owner and first principal. The language used in the school was German, and the school was intended for wealthier kids of the local bourgeoisie to learn trade skills on the one hand, and assimilate on the other, and in line with Austrian de-nationalisation efforts targeting the empire’s Slavic majority subjects.

In 1855 Mahr bought one of Ljubljana’s most renowned hotels at today’s Krekov Trg by the central vegetable marketplace, where he moved his school.  The building soon gained its current name, that is the Mahr House, and in 1865 the upper two floors were built.

In 1918 the Mahr House was taken over by the city government, which moved in several of its offices. Since 2003 the ground floor of the house hosts one branch of the Slovenian Tourist Information Centre, while the upper floors have been transformed into several apartments.

Mahr House, 2018     Photo: Ljuba Brank, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

From 1865 to the WWI the school also ran a bilingual department, following the ultraquistic doctrine of introducing the primary language of the Slovenian pupils as a tool for more effective learning in the preferred language, German. Ultraquism as denationalising bilingualism in schools still remains a relevant issue of the Slovenes living in Austrian Carinthia.

The rarely used word ultraquism originates in the Latin sub utraque specie, meaning “in both kinds”, and originally referred to a Christian dogma proposed by pre-protestant Hussites (after the Czech Jan Hus) who maintained that the Eucharist should be administered “in both kinds”, that is as bread and wine to all the congregation, including the laity, since at the time the wine was only for the priests to enjoy.

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