Slovenia in brief
: Republic of Slovenia (Republika Slovenija)
Number of inhabitants
: 2,051,277 (April 2011)
: Democratic parliamentary republic (since June 25, 1991) and member of the European Union (since May 1, 2004)
: euro (EUR)
GDP per capita (nominal): $23,009 (2010)
: men 73 years, women 81 years
: Slovene or Slovenian, also Hungarian and Italian in their respective ethnically mixed areas
Other commonly spoken languages
: English, German, Croatian, Serbian
: Maribor, Kranj, Celje, Koper, Novo mesto, Velenje
: Roman Catholic (58% in 2002); together there are 43 religious communities registered in Slovenia
: 20,273 km2
Length of borders
: 1,370 km: with Austria 318 km, with Italy 280 km, with Hungary 102 km, with Croatia 670 km)
Length of coastline
: 46.6 km
: Alpine, Continental, Mediterranean
: almost 58% of the Slovenia territory
: Triglav (2,864 m)
: Sava (221 km in Slovenia, 947 km in total)
: 230 V
: 7th stanza of Zdravljica (poem by France Prešeren)
|Živé naj vsi naródi,
ki hrepené dočakat dan,
da, koder sonce hodi,
prepir iz svéta bo pregnan,
prost bo vsak,
ne vrag, le sosed bo mejak!
||God's blessing on all nations,
Who long and work for that bright day,
When o'er earth's habitations
No war, no strife shall hold its sway;
Who long to see
That all men free,
No more shall foes, but neighbours be!
Logarska dolina - The valley of Logarska in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps is one of the most beautiful and peaceful glacial valleys in Europe. Protected since 1987. Photo: Jakše-Jeršič
Slovenia is situated in Central Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. It lies between latitudes 45° and 47° N, and longitudes 13° and 17° E.
Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean. The Alps – including the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karavanke chain, as well as the Pohorje massif – dominate Northern Slovenia along its long border to Austria. Slovenia's Adriatic coastline stretches approximately 43 km from Italy to Croatia. Its part south of Sava river belongs to Balkan peninsula – Balkans.
The term "karst" originates in southwestern Slovenia's Karst Plateau (Slovene: Kras), a limestone region of underground rivers, gorges, and caves.
On the Pannonian plain to the Northeast, toward the Hungarian, the landscape is essentially flat. However, the majority of Slovenian terrain is hilly or mountainous, with around 90% of the surface 200 meters or more above sea level.
Forests cover over a half of the country. This makes Slovenia the third most forested country in Europe, right after Finland and Sweden.
In the Northeast the continental climate type with greatest difference between winter and summer temperatures prevails. In the coastal region there is sub-Mediterranean climate. The effect of the sea on the temperature rates is visible also up the Soča valley, while a severe Alpine climate is present in the high mountain regions. There is a strong interaction between these three climatic systems across most of the country. Precipitation varies across the country as well, with over 3500 mm in some Western regions and dropping down to 800 mm in Prekmurje. Snow is quite frequent in winter and the record snow cover in Ljubljana was recorded in 1952 at 146 cm. Strong winds are not very frequent in Slovenia with exception of the Littoral region where the wind burja (bora) can reach velocity up to 45 m/s in gusts.
Alongside the majority population of Slovenian ethnic origin, in the border areas there live Hungarian and Italian minority communities. Slovenia's constitution provides all rights for them. Various other ethnic groups, mainly from the Western Balkans, also have permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia.
Slovenians would describe themselves as hard-working, diligent and active people, individualists who speak foreign languages well. They are proud of their culture and language. Many Slovenians travel, but seldom change residence. Like other modern European societies, however, they face an ageing population and low birth rate.
Historically, the current territory of Slovenia was part of many different state formations, including the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1918, the Slovenes exercised self-determination for the first time by co-founding the internationally unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. During World War II, Slovenia was occupied and annexed by Germany, Italy, Hungary and Croatia only to emerge afterwards reunified with its western part as a founding member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Slovenia declared full sovereignty. Today, Slovenia is a member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the Schengen area, NATO and OECD. Per capita, it is the richest Slavic nation-state, at 85.5% of the EU27 average GDP (PPP) per capita.
Culturally and demographically, Slovenia has been a border area throughout its history. Here, four linguistic and cultural groups of the continent have been meeting: Slavic, Germanic, Romance and Uralic. The population of Slovenia has become more diverse in regard to its language and ethnic composition through recent decades but is still relatively homogeneous. Approximately 83% of inhabitants considered themselves Slovenes in the 2002 census. Another major group are immigrants from the countries of Former Yugoslavia.
Slovenia is a largely secularised country; however, major religions are politically and legally privileged. Roman Catholicism is the most prevalent religion. The development of the Slovenian identity was also markedly influenced by Protestantism in the centuries past.
For centuries, Ljubljana was the capital of the historical region of Carniola, and in the 20th century it became the cultural, educational, economic, political and administrative centre of Slovenia. Its transport connections, extent of industry, scientific and research institutions and cultural tradition are the main contributing factors to its leading position.
Ljubljana’s history goes back several thousand years. Archaeological findings from the Bronze Age are proof that as early as 2000 BC fishermen and hunters lived in pile-dwellings on the lake which once covered the Ljubljana basin.
Prior to Roman colonisation, Roman legionaries erected fortresses alongside the River Ljubljanica which subsequently grew into the walled Roman settlement of Julia Emona. The city, with its castle originating in the 12th century and its old city centre, also boasts a rich medieval heritage, as well as numerous Renaissance, Baroque and Secessionist buildings.
In the 20th century the works of the architect Jože Plečnik gave the city a new character. He designed the Three Bridges that span the river, Tivoli Park, Žale Cemetery, the market place, the sports stadium and many other buildings, the most famous being the National and University Library. There are numerous museums, galleries, theatres and other cultural establishments in Ljubljana.
- Old Town with Town Hall, Prešeren Square and Triple Bridge, Saint Nicholas Cathedral and Market Square, Dragon Bridge, Butchers’ Bridge, Čopova Street, etc.
- Ljubljana Castle on the Castle Hill
- Congress Square with Zvezda Park
- National and University Library (NUK)
- Nebotičnik (“Skyscraper”) with a panoramic café
- Tivoli Park with Rožnik Hill
- University Botanic Garden