Matera – Where the Stars Are the Same_Nikolaj Horvat

 

Winner Energheia Slovenia Prize 2019

I was left speechless, when I arrived to Matera in Septemeber 2019. I have never seen such beauty hidden in simple rocks and stones. Lots of people on the streets but everything was still so quiet, many stars in the sky far away but still so near to my eye, to my heart. I just stared for a moment, or for an hour, I would rather say two.

It is not of my capability to say much about the history of Matera or its people but I am sure there is a good reason, why Matera still attracts turists and souls that wander, hearts that wonder. I mean, living there would be a fairytale and it is more than just possible to do so. I would call this possibility a miracle. A miracle of experiencing the world through the eyes of the best that the world has to offer. Living in Matera, for me, would be the same as eating the apple pie. Because I love, no – I adore the sweet taste of a good apple pie.

I felt as if I was at home. It was a warm and kind place to be, it was mesmerizing to be there. To be there with incredibly great people that were friendly and nice. I was happy, I smiled, we smiled and laughed. It was the easiest thing to do. It was just beautiful.

Some people say, simple words do not tell much, however, simple is the only adjective I would use to describe Matera. To be there, that was something to sing about. Loudly.

Having won the Energheia Slovenia Prize 2019 is a feeling I will not describe. I am beyond grateful to everyone that made possible for me to come there but I do not want to talk about it. It is not something you put your words to. It is something you put your heart to. I wrote a short story and won the prize. I did not finish a marathon or climbed a mountain, instead I wrote a story and caught time and space in those words I have put down on the paper. I have built it as Matera was built with stones long ago. And there was something that helped me.

Stars helped me. Gaze at the stars and you will not feel alone, I say. You will not be cold, you will not have to run anymore, you will finally be at home. A real home is in our hearts but to remember that, we have stars in the sky that God put there for us. It was the stars that made me feel like at home. Completely different from those we have in our town but still the same.

We people tend to choose things that make us happy. Therefore, we should choose Matera. Often. Proudly. I got a piece of my peace there, I stole the enduring memories and lived a short story of my life in Matera. There is no place that would come to my mind now that touched me this much. I will tell you what was the reason for that. Friends. Living rocks. Cold buildings with their warmth. And a fact about the beautiful town of Matera – it is a place where the stars are the same.