Ancient capital rekindles Croatian couple's zest for life

By Wang Xiaoyu in Xi'an | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-24 08:59
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Ivica Simic teaches exchange students from the Saint-Petersburg State University of Engineering and Economics in Russia at Xi'an Eurasia University in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, in November 2018. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Artist and actress wife inspired by Xi'an's history, culture and teaching roles

When Croatian artist Ivica Simic first arrived in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, in 2015, he was instantly enamored by the thousands of years of history on display in the city — embodied by its old city walls and world-famous imperial tombs — and embraced by its residents.

"The very roots of Chinese culture are here, and you can feel it from the earth and feel it so heavily here," he said of a city that was once the capital of 13 ancient Chinese dynasties.

Simic trusted his instincts and decided to move to Xi'an with his wife, Vitomira Loncar, an actress and film producer. But her early impressions of the city were not favorable.

"One day, he was working and told me to walk around a park near our hotel. I came to the edge of the road and there was no traffic light. I stood there and started crying," she said. "It took me nearly an hour to wait to cross the road, and I thought, how do I tell him I cannot survive in this city."

Eight years later, the couple are now both professors at Xi'an Eurasia University. They have long put aside their different opinions about the city and developed strong bonds with Xi'an through teaching students, visiting historical sites or simply strolling around on foot or exploring by bus.

"This is our home now. This is where we live, and we feel we belong here," Simic said.

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