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SLOVENIA
 

Cities in SLOVENIA

Ljubljana

Geography and Landscape

Geography

Slovenia (Slovenian: Slovenija; officially: Republika Slovenija), is a republic in the Balkans in Central Europe. Slovenia was the northernmost republic of the former Yugoslavia until independence in 1991. The total area of the country is 20,273 km2. Slovenia is therefore one of the smaller states in Europe.

Slovenia Satellite photoSlovenia Satellite photoPhoto: Public domain

Slovenia borders Austria (330 km) to the north, Hungary (102 km) to the east, Italy (232 km) to the west and Croatia (670 km) to the south and southeast. Slovenia also has a coastline that borders the Adriatic Sea (46.6 km). Southwest of Slovenia lies the Croatian peninsula of Istria, which borders Slovenia in the north and is virtually surrounded by the Adriatic Sea.

Landscape

Slovenia is generally mountainous with peaks above 2500 meters in the center and northwest of the country. More than 90% of the country is above 300 meters and the average altitude is 600 meters.

In the northwest are the Kamniške Alps and the Julian Alps with Slovenia's highest mountain, Triglav (2864 meters). Triglav means "three heads", named after the shape of this mountain. The Triglavski narodni park is located around the Triglav.

Other high mountains are:

Škrlatica 2738 meters

Mangart 2677 meters

Jalovec 2643 meters

Razor 2601 meters

Rjavina 2530 meters

Triglav, Slovenia's highest mountainTriglav, Slovenia's highest mountainPhoto: Andrejj CC3.0 Unported no changes made

To the southeast the landscape descends and we find hilly plains and wide plateaus (1000-1500 meters). Along the northern border of Slovenia and south of the Julian Alps are mountain ranges such as the Karavanken (above 2000 meters) and the Trnovski gozd (above 1500 meters). East of the Karavanken are the densely forested foothills of the Austrian Noric Alps (up to 1542 m)

The east of Slovenia is becoming flatter and turns into the Pomurje and the Pannonian Plain, which is mainly located in Hungary. In the south and southeast it is hilly in the basin of the Sava and Krka.

Caves, lakes and rivers

Caves of Postojna, SloveniaCaves of Postojna, SloveniaPhoto: Nadia Petkova CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The south and southwest of the country, between the capital Jubljana and the Gulf of Trieste, is famous for the numerous caves or “jamas” that have formed in the porous limestone rocks there. This so-called “Karst” area includes cave systems that are among the most imposing in the world, including those of Postojna Jama and Škocjanske Jama. The Postojna cave system is approximately 20 kilometers long. In total there are about 7000 caves known throughout the country and the deepest goes 1.3 kilometers into the ground.

Some other famous caves are:

Some karst phenomena are:

Lake Bled, SloveniaLake Bled, SloveniaPhoto: Anna & Michal CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The lakes Bled, Bohinj, Triglav and Krn are beautifully situated. The total length of all streams and rivers is approximately 26,000 kilometers. The longest river in the country is the Sava. It has its source in Ratece, a stone's throw from the Italian border, and runs through the north and the center of the country to Croatia. Other important rivers are the Soèa in the west, the Drava or Drau in the north, the Mura and the Kupa. There are also many freshwater sources, of which about 7,500 are known. Several hundred guarantee excellent mineral water.

Slovenia's coast is rocky and has no natural sandy beaches.

Climate and Weather

Except on the Adriatic coast, Slovenia has a Central European, weak continental climate. A narrow strip on the coast has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and relatively mild winters. It is certainly not mild in winter when the dreaded strong northeasterly wind, the “burja”, blows.

The rest of the country has a continental climate with mild to hot summers and, especially in the mountains, cold winters. The number of hours of sunshine varies from 1700 hours in Ljubljana to 2300 hours in Portorož.

Climate Ljubljana, SloveniaClimate Ljubljana, SloveniaPhoto: Hedwig in WashingtonCC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Average annual rainfall is 1200–1400 mm. Most precipitation falls in the mountainous northwest (approx. 3000 mm per year, in winter usually in the form of snow), the least in the east, in the Prekmurje (800 mm per year). Most rain falls in the months of October and November, but a lot of precipitation can also fall in May and June. January and February are the driest months.

Inland temperatures can range from -20°C in winter for the mountainous areas to 35°C in summer in the eastern plains and valleys. The average temperature for all of Slovenia is 21°C in August and -2°C in January. On the coast, the average July temperature is 24°C.

Plants and Animals

Plants

Winter lime, National tree of SloveniaWinter lime, National tree of SloveniaPhoto: Unknown CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Slovenian flora consists of approximately 2,900 tree and plant species. Seventy of these species are endemic and only occur in Slovenia, or were first reported here. These varieties are mainly found in the Julian Alps, including the Triglav rose, the Julian poppy, the Carniolic primrose, the Carniola lily, Clusi's gentian and Zois' bell flower.

Approx. 50% of Slovenia is still covered with forests (1 million ha). The lower-lying forests mainly consist of deciduous and coniferous forests with horsetails, ferns and herbs in between. Slovenian deciduous trees are birch, beech, chestnut, poplar and willow. The winter lime is Slovenia's national tree.

Carnation is the national flower of SloveniaCarnation is the national flower of SloveniaPhoto: Rick Kimpel CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

In the higher areas you will find coniferous forests with, among other things, larches. Above 2000 meters lies the tree line and just below that only a few conifers grow. Palm trees and olive trees are found on the warm Adriatic coast.

In the mountains mainly alpine flora is found. In the rest of the country, cowslip, poppy, snowball, bellflower, violet and sedge are common flower types. Slovenia's national flower is the carnation.

Animals

Dormouse, SloveniaDormouse, SloveniaPhoto: Michael Hanselmann CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Well-known animals are chamois, ibex, marmot, hare, rabbit, ptarmigan, partridge and pheasant. Not so often seen are the fox, the weasel and the badger. Dangerous guests include lynxes, wolves, wild boars and brown bears, which are increasingly common.

The dormouse or dormouse is a cross between a squirrel and a mouse in appearance. The animal hibernates for seven months and feeds on seeds, nuts, berries and insects. It is a delicacy for Slovenians. The larger variant Glis glis is mainly found in Slovenia.

Proteus Anguinus, SloveniaProteus Anguinus, SloveniaPhoto: Gzen92 CC 4.0 Internationaal no changes made

Special are the rare cave hedgehog and the blind, white to pale pink Proteus anguinus, a cave salamander that is unique to Slovenia, it is not without reason that this is the national animal of Slovenia next to the Lipizzaner horse, and only occurs in the Karst area. This cave amphibian is also known as elm or cave olm and the Slovenes call it "moèeril". This animal is not related to other amphibians and can go without food for years. A black variant was also discovered in 1990.

Lipizzan horses, SloveniaLipizzan horses, SloveniaPhoto: Husond CC 4.0 International no changes made

Common birds such as heron, golden eagle, hoopoe, roller, black grouse, and migratory birds such as wild goose and mallard duck. The stork breeds from March to September and is mainly found in the Pomurje.

Lipica horses have been bred in the world-famous Lipica Stud since 1580. The Lipizzan was initially a cross between Andalusian horses and a local breed. A few centuries later, this new breed was crossed with white arabs, creating the well-known white fungi.

Triglavski narodni

Triglavski Narodni national park, SloveniaTriglavski Narodni national park, SloveniaPhoto: Se90 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Triglavski Narodni (approx. 84,000 ha) is a national park with mountains, valleys, waterfalls, glaciers, lakes and streams and covers almost the entire Julian Alps. In addition to Slovenia's highest mountain, the Triglav, this area also contains the Danjavec, the Rjavina and the Plaski Vogel.

Endemic plant and animal species here include the Soca trout, a particular beetle species, the Julian poppy and the butterfly species Erebia styx trentae.

History

Antiquity and Early Middle Ages

Bronze Situla from the Halstatt period, SloveniaBronze Situla from the Halstatt period, SloveniaPhoto: Joanbanjo CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Human settlement already existed in the Old Stone Age, but unfortunately few remains from this period have been found. Many remains from the Neolithic era have been found, including remains of settlements of stilt houses near the capital Ljubljana. Much has also been preserved from the so-called Central European Hallstatt period (10th-4th century BC).

The oldest known inhabitants of the Slovenian territory were Celts and Illyrians who lived in the 4th century BC. moved into the eastern Alpine region. The Celts called this area Noricum, after the most important tribe of that time. In the 2nd century BC. there was a lot of trade between the Romans and the Celts, who also took over more and more of the Roman culture. Finally, in 10 BC. Noricum was incorporated into the Roman Empire without any struggle and all the conquered territories were divided into provinces, one of which was Histria (now: Istria).

The main Slovenian settlement became Emona, now Ljubljana. In the 3rd century AD. the Roman Empire was threatened by Germanic tribes and an extensive defense system was built (Claustra Alpinum Juliarum). That didn't really help because in the 5th century the Western Goths entered Italy, followed by the Huns and the Eastern Goths. These Eastern Goths also occupied Slovenian territory as well as the Lombards in the mid-6th century.

Middle Ages

In 500 AD. the great migration of the population starts and Slavic and Germanic tribes leave a devastating trail through Europe. In the 6th century, West Slavic tribes from the Eastern Alps, the ancestors of today's Slovenes, settled in this area. The Slavic principality of Karantanija was created around 620, encompassing large parts of present-day Austria and Slovenia. In the 8th century, the Slovenes were threatened by the advancing Avars and sought support from the Duchy of Bavaria.

Karantanija around 990, SloveniaKarantanija around 990, SloveniaPhoto: Bostjan 46 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

In 788 Slovenia became a Frankish province in the empire of Emperor Charlemagne. Between 869 and 874, the country, then called Carniola, regained its independence and Prince Kocelj introduced the Slavic script and the liturgy in the vernacular. In the 9th century Slovenia was Christianized by missionaries from Salzburg, Austria, and many German settlers arrived along with these clergy. In the second half of the 9th century, the Frankish Empire was threatened by the Hungarians, but the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 was lost by the Hungarians. In 963 Slovenia's predecessors, Karantanija and Carniola, became part of the Holy Roman Empire and divided into so-called “marks” or border regions. In the Middle Ages, these border regions developed under the leadership of feudal rulers into fairly independent provinces, with Carinthia as the most important province. In the 11th century Carinthia dominated all other regions, but in the first half of the 12th century this domination came to an end. During this time the Bohemian king Ottokar Premsyl II conquered large parts of the border regions, but these were subsequently reclaimed by the Habsburg emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolf I. In 1278 the Battle of Dürnkrut was won by Rudolf and Ottokar was killed in the battle. battlefield. Since 1282, almost all Slovenian areas have been part of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Sixteenth to nineteenth century

Turks and Habsburgs fight in Slovenian territory, 1689Turks and Habsburgs fight in Slovenian territory, 1689Photo: Public domain

Yet in the Slovenian territories there was always a longing for independence and freedom. In the 15th century, for example, the Counts of Celje tried to realize this goal, but after a political assassination in 1456, this attempt failed. After this Protestantism gave rise to new nationalist feelings and in 1551 a catechism and a language book in Slovenian were published, followed by a Bible translation in 1584. However, the Counter-Reformation suppressed Protestantism and practically disappeared completely.

From the sixteenth to the early eighteenth century (1515-1713), the peasants regularly revolted and demanded more freedom and political participation, again without result. Furthermore, the Slovenes were regularly threatened by the Turks, but they did not get further than the south of the country. In the early 18th century, the Habsburg Monarchy went to war with Spain and the Hungarians. This gave the Habsburgs more access to the Adriatic Sea and Trieste and Rijeka were declared free ports. Economic good times dawned for the Slovenian areas and a Slovenian middle class with a renewed Slovenian self-awareness emerged.

The French Revolution strongly promoted the national feeling again and in 1788 the first history book about Slovenia was published and the first nationalist poets made themselves heard. From 1805, the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte managed to occupy almost the entire Slovenian territory. He created the Illyrian provinces in 1809 by connecting a number of Croatian and Slovenian regions. After the defeat at Waterloo in 1813, the Illyrian provinces were cleared by the French and taken over by the Austrians.

Map of Slovenia from 1852Map of Slovenia from 1852Photo: Public domain

In 1848 the absolute regime of Metternich was pushed aside in Austria and this was the signal for the Slovenian peasants to revolt against the feudal rulers. The revolt was a great success and in September 1848 the feudal system was finally abolished by imperial manifesto. The enlightenment and the rise of liberalism also ensured the further development of Slovenian national consciousness. Political consciousness even arose, and a political program was drawn up by liberals and nationalists for a united Slovenia. For the time being, however, this autonomy movement did not get a hold of the Austrian rulers, who were strongly influenced by the German inhabitants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1866 the Habsburgs were defeated by the Prussians and a so-called double monarchy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was created. Ideas surrounding "trialism" arose in the upper Slovenian circles. This new state vision arose due to the threat of ever-increasing Germanic region of Slovenia. The "trialists" proposed an alliance with the Croats (Illyrian movement) in order to create a third unit (also together with Bosnia-Hercegovina) in the Habsburg empire. However, the majority of the Slovenian population was not enthusiastic about this idea.

World War I, Interwar and World War II

Alexander Karadjorjevic, SloveniaAlexander Karadjorjevic, SloveniaPhoto: Public domain

In 1914 World War I broke out and the Slovenes fought with the Habsburg (German) armies. After the First World War, a lot changed in Europe. In Slovenia, the trialist idea became more popular again, and in 1917 South Slavic delegates in the Vienna parliament demanded the unification of Slovenia, Croatia, Vojvodina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dalmatia (Serbia was added later). They declared that they wanted an independent South Slavic state. After the war, the Habsburg Empire disintegrated into the republics of Hungary and Austria, creating the so much desired independent "Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes". On December 1, 1918, Alexander Karadjorjevic was proclaimed king and the Kingdom was expanded to include Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro.

That this artificial land would collapse completely was almost inevitable. From the beginning, things did not go well between the Serbs and the Croats due to fundamental differences in matters such as mentality, religion and vision of the future. For example, Croatia wanted a federative state while the Serbs were only interested in increasing their power. In 1929 the constitution was abolished and a royal dictatorship was created. King Alexander changed the name to Yugoslavia (officially: Yugoslavia = South Slavia) and the Serbs became the dominant population group. They ruled both in the civil service and in the army. Until 1941, there was only one non-Serbian prime minister, the Slovenian Anton Korošec, who, however, only lasted half a year. The 1930s were very turbulent economically and politically and King Alexander was killed in an attack in 1934.

Italian occupation of SloveniaItalian occupation of SloveniaPhoto: DancingPhilosopher CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Yugoslavia was involved in World War II on April 6, 1941. Despite the fact that Yugoslavia had joined Germany and Italy, the Germans invaded Yugoslavia and bombed Belgrade. On April 17, the Yugoslav army surrendered unconditionally. Hitler then divided Yugoslavia, with the Germans occupying northern Slovenia and Italy occupying west and southwest Slovenia. Croatia became a fascist state and other parts of Yugoslavia went to Albania, Bulgaria and Hungary, which took care of the Slovenian Prekmurje.

Croatia meanwhile indulged in unprecedented atrocities against Serb minorities, fueling hatred between the two peoples. Two major resistance movements arose under the Serbs, the Cetniks and the Partisans. The cetniks wanted the old kingdom back, dominated of course by the Serbs. The communist partisans led by the Croat Josip Broz (Tito) saw more in a federal Yugoslavia and managed to organize a large multi-ethnic resistance movement, the National Liberation Front. The Slovenes also took part in this Liberation Front, which fought not only the Italians and the Germans but also the anti-communist cetniks. The Liberation Front emerged victorious and liberated Belgrade together with the Russians in October 1944. On May 8, 1945, the Germans surrendered and Yugoslavia suffered about one million deaths.

A great human drama also took place after the war. Tens of thousands of refugees, cetniks, ustašas and other anti-communists tried to join the Allies, but they turned them over to the partisans. Tito's partisans subsequently murdered tens of thousands of anti-communists and there was also a huge massacre of the Hungarians in Vojvodina.

Period Tito

Tito, SloveniaTito, SloveniaPhoto: Stevan Kragujevic CC 3.0 Serbia no changes made

Tito was thus the mighty man in post-war Yugoslavia and he aspired to a federal Yugoslavia under the leadership of the communist party. In November 1945 the time had come and the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed, which consisted of the republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Serbia also had the autonomous regions of Vojvodina and Kosovo.

At that time, Yugoslavia was a state with central authority in Belgrade and republics that only had something to say on paper. Attempts by the Soviet leader Stalin to bring Yugoslavia fully under the Soviet sphere of influence met with much resistance from Tito and his followers, and in 1948 there was a split between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Tito was also the one who founded the Movement of the Non-Aligned with, among others, Nehru of India and Nasser of Egypt.

In the 1960s, however, a federal state structure slowly developed with more freedom for business. Despite this, unemployment rose sharply and many Yugoslavs moved to Western Europe as guest workers. In the second half of the sixties, the party decided on far-reaching political decentralization, whereby the power was largely transferred to the communist party branches of the republics. This was an attempt by Tito to rein in ethnic divisions and the associated nationalism. Yet more and more frictions arose between the different republics and population groups. For example, the call for secession and independence in Croatia grew stronger in the early 1970s. Tito reacted harshly to this with purges among the intellectuals.

In 1980 Tito died, leaving behind a country with screeching inflation, a large national debt, mass unemployment and a large part of the population living in poverty. And furthermore, the unstable society consisting of more than 15 ethnic groups was still a fuse of which only the fuse had to be lit.

In 1981 student riots broke out in Priština, the capital of Kosovo. Security forces restored order at the cost of an unknown number of deaths, but this was the beginning of much of the misery to follow. The Serbs took advantage of this event and in 1986 a memorandum was published by a number of Serbian artists and scholars. This memorandum included warning of all "enemies" who threatened Serbia and that it was high time for a Greater Serbia to avert that disaster.

Period Miloševic

Slobodan Miloševic, SloveniaSlobodan Miloševic, SloveniaPhoto: Stevan Kragujevic CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

In May 1986, Montenegrin Slobodan Miloševic became Chairman of the Serbian National Committee, which of course fully supported the ideas of the Memorandum. In 1987 President Stambolic was put aside by Miloševic, who thus took all power. In October 1988, the autonomy of Vojvodina and Kosovo was ended by Miloševic. The uprising that followed in Kosovo was brutally suppressed by the Serbs, depriving the Albanian population of all rights.

After this, Miloševic broke down and tried to expand Serbian influence in all republics. However, this attitude would only hasten the total disintegration of Yugoslavia. In Slovenia, meanwhile, the communist party led by Milan Kucan had become increasingly liberal and intellectuals had been advocating for some time for full democracy, market economy and independence.

Slovenia independent

In December 1989, free elections were held for the first time in Slovenian history and were won by the Democratic Union of Slovenia (DEMOS), a coalition of six bourgeois parties. During the 14th Extraordinary Party Congress in January 1990, the overarching Yugoslav Communist Party broke down. The Slovenian communist party made all kinds of far-reaching demands (including a multi-party system, freedom of the press) that were obviously not honored. In February 1990, the Slovenian communists split from the Yugoslav League of Communists and continued as the "Party of Democratic Renewal".

Milan Kucan, SloveniaMilan Kucan, SloveniaPhoto: MORS CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

On April 22, 1990, the leader of the Slovenian Communist Party, Milan Kucan, was elected president. He declared the republic sovereign in July 1990. On December 23, 1990, a referendum was held in which more than 88% of the population voted in favor of independence. Six months later, on June 25, 1991, the declaration of independence was declared. Federal Yugoslav troops and tanks advanced in an effort to stop the process. There was even some fighting and Ljubljana was bombed on July 2, 1991. However, the Yugoslav forces were so unmotivated that they withdrew, liberating Slovenia with no more than a few dozen dead. On December 23 of the same year, Slovenia was recognized by Germany as an independent state and the new Slovenian constitution was passed by parliament. On January 15, 1992, the other countries of the European Union followed suit. In the same year Slovenia became a member of the United Nations and in 1993 of the Council of Europe.

In February 1992, the DEMOS fell apart and some of the coalition parties withdrew its support for the government of Christian Democratic Prime Minister Lozje Peterle. After parliament passed a vote of no confidence, Peterle stepped down in April 1992 and was succeeded by the liberal Janez Drnovsek who formed a center-left government. In that period there were conflicts with neighboring Croatia about, among other things, the course of the border and the limited reception of Yugoslavian refugees by Slovenia. In December 1992, President Kucan was re-elected as president for a second term. The main goal of the new government was for most of the economy to be privatized by mid-1994.

Janez Drnovšek, SloveniaJanez Drnovšek, SloveniaPhoto: World Economic Forum CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The government's top priority in 1993 was to implement the so-called Property Transformation Act. Its aim was to privatize most of the economy by mid-1994. In early 1994, a power struggle broke out between Defense Minister Janša and President Kucan, which led to Janša's resignation. As a result, his party, the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, withdrew from the coalition government. To avoid a government crisis, Prime Minister Drnovšek, also leader of the largest coalition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, merged with three smaller parties, resulting in Slovenia's Liberal Democracy (LSD) in March 1994. However, the new party was dependent on cooperation with the Christian Democratic Party.

Relations with Italy deteriorated as a result of the Osim Treaty, concluded in 1975, which established the borders of what was then Yugoslavia and Italy. However, almost twenty years later, Italy demanded compensation for the confiscation of Italian property after World War II. In 1995, Italy vetoed Slovenia's rapprochement with the EU. At the end of November Slovenia announced that it would establish diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with which no formal contacts had been maintained since the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

In January 1996, the coalition government broke down when four Social Democratic ministers resigned, prompting President Kucan to announce early elections. The center-left Liberal Democrats (LDS) became the largest party in those November elections. Its leader, Prime Minister Drnovšek, was ordered to re-establish a government.

In February 1997 he formed a government of LDS, SLS and DPG. At the end of December 1997, President Milan Kucan was re-elected with 55% of the vote.

The foreign policy of the Drnovšek government focused on joining NATO and the European Union. On June 10, 1996 Slovenia signed a Europe Agreement with the EU and applied for EU membership. At the European Council in Luxembourg in December 1997, Slovenia was invited to the accession negotiations that started in March 1998.

However, Slovenia was not among the first group of countries from the former communist world to be admitted to NATO, which was Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in March 1999. In 1999 Slovenia was the only one of the former Yugoslav republics to openly support NATO airstrikes in the Kosovo war. The government opened Slovenian airspace to the flights of NATO planes.

21st century

On April 8, 2000, the Drnovšek government fell after a vote of no confidence. An interim cabinet led by Andrej Bajuk bridged the period to the parliamentary elections of October 15, 2000. Ex-Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek's liberal party won (34 seats). Bajuk's party, New Slovenia, founded in August 2000, only won 8 seats. Drnovšek was re-elected as Prime Minister on November 16. At the end of November, he was able to present his fourth government, a social democratic coalition composed of LDS, USLD, SLS and SKD Slovenian People's Party and the pensioners' party DeSus. The coalition won a large majority in the Assembly: 58 seats out of 90.

In early December 2002, Prime Minister Drnovšek became the new president of Slovenia. The leader of the left government defeated right-wing Attorney General Brezigar in the presidential election. Drnovšek obtained 56% of the vote and followed a strongly pro-Western course.

Janez Janša, SloveniaJanez Janša, SloveniaPhoto: European people's party CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Slovenia joined the European Union on May 1, 2004. Parliamentary elections were held in Slovenia in October 2004. For the first time since independence, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS, center-left) of former Prime Minister Anton Rop did not become the largest party, but had to give up this place with a difference of 6 seats to the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of Janez Janša, who almost twice as many seats as in 2000, namely 29.

Zmago Jelincic's nationalist-tinted Slovenian National Party (SNS), which saw its seat number increase by 50% from 4 to 6 seats, was the second winner. Janša's SDS, along with the New Slovenia Christian People's Party (NSi) and the Slovenian People's Party (SLS) (member of the previous government until April 2004), had 45 seats, one seat short for a center-right majority cabinet. In order to achieve a "comfortable majority", a coalition has been formed between these parties and the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS), until then a member of the previous government. The Janša cabinet can therefore count on 49 of the 90 seats in the National Assembly. The opposition consists of the LDS (23 seats) of former Prime Minister Rop, the United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD, 10 seats) of former parliament speaker Pahor and the SNS (6 seats). On December 3, 2004, the National Assembly approved the coalition.

The Janša government is broadly continuing the EU and NATO policy, on which there was also broad consensus in the National Assembly during the previous governments. Prime Minister Janša has also confirmed the priority for the introduction of the Euro in 2007.

On January 1, 2007, the euro was introduced without any problems. One euro is worth 239.64 tolar, the currency introduced after the country seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991. In November 2007, Danilo Türk, an independent candidate but supported by the Social Democrats, is elected president.

Borut Pahor, SloveniaBorut Pahor, SloveniaPhoto: Tamino Petelinšek/STA CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the parliamentary elections in September 2008, the Social Democrats narrowly won and in November 2008 Borut Pahor became prime minister of a center left coalition cabinet. Croatia officially becomes a member of NATO in April 2009, following resistance from Slovenia. In June 2009, the EU suspended negotiations with Croatia due to the lack of progress in the row with Slovenia over the exact location of the (sea) border. In November 2009, the parliaments of Slovenia and Croatia reach an agreement to allow international arbitration. Slovenia lifts the blockade it had raised against Croatia's accession to the EU. In June 2010, all this will be confirmed by a referendum in Slovenia. In September 2011, Pahor's coalition was voted out. In December 2011, the new Positive Slovenia party wins many seats, but its leader does not become prime minister. In February 2012, a center-right cabinet is formed under the leadership of Janez Jansa.

In the December 2012 presidential election, center-left ex-prime minister Borut Pahor wins. In March 2013, the coalition stumbled over austerity measures. Liberal opposition leader Alenka Bratusek becomes prime minister. In April and May, the EU indicates that Slovenia must take measures against its banking sector. Slovenia will introduce a package of measures at the end of May 2013. In November 2013, the coalition survived a vote on the 2014 budget and a plan to bail out the banks. Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek resigns in May 2014, paving the way for elections. Miro Cerar's new center-left Party (SMC) won the parliamentary elections in Slovenia in July 2014 and he will become the new prime minister. In December 2015, same-sex marriage will be agreed by means of a referendum. In March 2016, Slovenia said it will not allow most migrants to travel to Northern Europe via the Balkan route. The international court of arbitration agrees with Slovenia in the maritime dispute with Croatia. There will be direct access to international waters via a corridor through Croatian water. In September 2018, Marjan Sarec will become the leader of a center-left coalition. In 2020, power will change and Jansa will return with a center-right cabinet.

Population

Slovenia had 1,972,126 inhabitants in 2017 and the population density was approximately 97 inhabitants per km2. Approx. 83% of the population consists of Slovenes. In the west, especially in the coastal towns, there is an Italian minority (approx. 3000 persons), while in the extreme north-east, near the border with Hungary, in Prekmurje, a Hungarian minority lives (approx. 9000 persons). These minorities are the only recognized and legally protected minorities and have a representative in the National Assembly. Other population groups are Croats (1.8%), Serbs (2%), Bosniaks (1.1%) and Macedonians. These groups have sometimes been working in Slovenia for decades as labor immigrants or are recent refugees from other parts of the former Yugoslavia. After independence in 1991, these labor immigrants were given the choice of whether or not to become a Slovenian citizen. Descendants of German immigrants mainly live in Kocevje in the south of Slovenia.

Slovenian Basketball FansSlovenian Basketball FansPhoto: Gremi35 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Slovenian minorities live in Italy (approx. 50,000), Hungary (approx. 5,000) and Austria (approx. 15,000) and around 400,000 descendants of Slovenian immigrants live in the rest of the world. A large majority of these immigrants live in the United States and Canada. Cleveland in the United States is the largest “Slovenian” city outside of Slovenia.

Approx. 55% of the total population lives in cities.

The largest cities in Slovenia are: Ljubljana with 286,900 inhabitants and Maribor with 110,000 inhabitants

Since the mid-1990s, the population has been declining due to the declining birth rate. The situation has stabilized since 1998, but in 2017 there was again a natural population decline of -0.31%. Furthermore, the population will continue to age; the number of people over 65 is likely to increase from 15% in 1999 to 26% in 2025. Currently (2018) the counter stands at almost 20%

Some figures:

Slovenia's population pyramid is more like that of Western European countries than that of other southern Balkan states. This means that the aging population is increasing, as can be seen from the comparison below.

Population by age in 2017:

Language

The official language in Slovenia is Slovenian or “Slovenšèina”. Slovenian is a South Slavic language related to Serbian and Croatian. Despite the fact that Slovenian is a unitary language, there are also about fifty dialects and sub-dialects. The purest form of Slovenian is spoken in northwestern Dolenjska.

Freising Manuscript, oldest known document in SlovenianFreising Manuscript, oldest known document in SlovenianPhoto: Public domain

Slovenian is written in the Roman alphabet and has 25 letters. The q, w, x and y are unknown, but diacritics such as è, š, and ž are used. The grammar of Slovenian is not easy with, among other things, six cases for nouns and adjectives, four verb tenses and three plural forms, the singular, double and plural.

Many Slovenians in the east speak German and on the coast people often still speak Italian. Young people can increasingly make do with English taught at school.

The languages of the Hungarian and Italian minority groups are equated with Slovenian.

Some Slovenian words and expressions:

Religion

The Slovenes are for the most part Roman Catholic and about 70% of the population adheres to the teachings of Rome. The archbishop is based in the capital Ljubljana and there are also the dioceses of Maribor and Koper.

Other Christian populations are Severe Orthodox, Old Catholics, and Lutherans. The Lutheran Church is headquartered in Murska Sobota in Prekmurje. Protestantism, which contributed greatly to national awareness in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, almost completely disappeared during the Counter-Reformation.

There are also a few small groups of Jews and Muslims.

St Vitus church in Preserje, SloveniaSt Vitus church in Preserje, SloveniaPhoto: Doremo CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

As of 2001, the distribution by religion was as follows (in% of the total population):

Society

State structure

Parliament building SloveniaParliament building SloveniaPhoto: Philippe Hässig CC 2.0 no changes made

Slovenia was the northernmost state of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia from 1943 to June 1991. After Tito's death in 1980, the Serbs tried to take power in Yugoslavia. This was for Slovenia in 1989 to demand the right of secession. In June 1991 the independent Republic of Slovenia was unilaterally proclaimed. The Yugoslavs tried by force to keep Slovenia within the Yugoslav Republic, but after only ten days of struggle, the Yugoslavs withdrew from Slovenia and independence was a fact.

The amended 1991 Constitution, which entered into force in December 1992, enshrines Slovenia's independence and sovereignty, as well as the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. Legislative power in Slovenia lies with the National Assembly (Državni Zbor; 90 seats) and the State Council (Državni Svet; 40 representatives of interest groups: 22 local interest representatives, 12 members on behalf of employees and employers and six members with non-economic interests) . The State Council has a more limited function than parliament and can only request a reconsideration of legislation. The Slovenian parliament also has two representatives of the Italian and Hungarian minorities. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, presidential elections every five years. The president can be elected for up to two five-year terms.

The president is the head of state, but parliament has control over the military. The president is the commander in chief of the army, but otherwise has a mainly ceremonial function.

The government is headed by a prime minister, who is nominated by the president, but requires the approval of the National Assembly. For the current political situation see chapter history.

Administrative division

Administrative division of SloveniaAdministrative division of SloveniaPhoto: TUBS CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Slovenia is divided into 148 municipalities with limited self-government. Much is decided by the central government and financially one is almost completely dependent on the central government.

Slovenia is further divided into 12 regions:

Education

University of Ljubljana, SloveniaUniversity of Ljubljana, SloveniaPhoto: Jay Galvin CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Slovenian population is generally highly educated and less than 1% is illiterate. Primary education (osnovna šola) is compulsory and free up to the age of 15. Secondary education (srednja šola) lasts an average of four years. Some schools train for a profession, for example a nurse; other schools such as the “gimnazije” train students for university. Those who follow a three-year vocational training attend a technical school (poklicna šola). Ethnic Italians and Hungarians can choose whether to be taught in their own language

Slovenia has two universities, the University of Ljubljana and the smaller university in Maribor. In total, approximately 50,000 students study here. An entrance exam is often required to be admitted. Most students attend Ljubljana Economics Faculty and Maribor Engineering Faculty. The university courses last at least four years and can be followed by a doctoral year that is concluded with the writing of a dissertation. Medical courses last approximately seven years.

Healthcare

University Hospital in Ljubljana, SloveniaUniversity Hospital in Ljubljana, SloveniaPhoto: Pritlicjelevo CC 4.0 International no changes made

Slovenia has a well-developed healthcare system. In 1999 Slovenia had 26 hospitals, almost all of them operating in the public sector. Fifteen of these were general hospitals. There were a total of nearly 11,000 hospital beds.

In addition, there are approximately 600 outpatient clinics and consultation offices that provide general ambulatory services. There are also approximately 700 specialized outpatient clinics.

In 1999 Slovenia had almost 4500 doctors, of which about 1100 work in general hospitals and about 1250 in health centers. At the time, about 500 doctors worked in private clinics or counseling centers and the rest worked in public health facilities, spas and other specialist facilities.

Dentistry is also at a high level. Even many Austrians make use of dental care in Slovenia. The number of dentists in 1999 was 1,200.

Economy

General

Export SloveniaExport SloveniaPhoto: Alexander Simoes, Cesar Hidalgo, et. al CC 3.0 no changes made

Slovenia has a relatively modern developed industry, a well-functioning agricultural sector and rich natural resources. The civil war in Yugoslavia (1991–1992), coupled with a temporary boycott by foreign countries, caused much damage to the country, but compared to the other republics Slovenia was able to start building it up earlier. Slovenia has qualified for EU membership and was among the first group of Central and Eastern European countries with which the EU has started accession acts. The country meets all the criteria set in the Maastricht Treaty. In 2004 Slovenia joined the EU and in 2007 Slovenia adopted the Euro.

In 2017, the economy grew by 5% at an inflation rate of 1.4%. Unemployment fell to around 6.6%. GDP per capita was $ 34,500 in 2017, much more than in the other former republics of Yugoslavia or in countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic. The balance of payments is slightly positive in 2013.

The Slovenian economy is increasingly taking on the character of a service economy, and this sector already accounts for more than 65.9% (2017) of the gross domestic product and this percentage is set to increase. Important parts of this sector are mainly the tourist industry and further transport, telecommunications and financial services.

Agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing

Agriculture is becoming less and less important to the Slovenian economy. In 2017, this sector only contributed 1.8% to the gross national product and only about 5.5% of the labor force was still employed in this sector. Slovenia has thus become a net importer of foodstuffs. The farms are generally family businesses with an average size of less than 5 hectares, which are often affiliated with some cooperative.

Due to the climate and soil conditions, the agricultural land mainly consists of grassland. About 250,000 ha is suitable for arable farming and horticulture and the main products are fruit, wheat, corn and potatoes. About 21,000 ha is used for viticulture.

Vineyard SloveniaVineyard SloveniaPhoto: IgorMar in the public domain

The main agricultural activity is animal husbandry (55% of agricultural activities), and this involves the production of meat, milk and eggs. This mainly happens on small-scale farms with an average of only five animals. The highly industrialized production of chicken meat has declined sharply in recent years.

Although approximately 45% of the land is covered with forests, hardly any exploitation takes place. Wood production has fallen sharply in recent years and is now only about 2 million m3 per year. Wood production consists of 60% coniferous wood.

The woodworking and furniture industries are still important to Slovenia. This industry comprises approximately 70 companies with a total of 20,000 employees, half of which work in the furniture industry.

The fishing industry is slowly dying. There are only a few ships suitable for sea fishing.

Mining and energy supply

Mining only plays a marginal role. There are limited supplies of iron, lead, zinc and copper ore, lignite, mercury, lignite and petroleum. Lignite has long been the main product, but the difficult production conditions and relatively poor quality have steadily reduced production. Almost all lignite mines are currently closed because they were heavily loss-making. The production of stone, sand and gravel seems to be the most likely from an economic point of view.

Energy sources used by SloveniaEnergy sources used by SloveniaPhoto: Matclime CC 4.0 International no changes made

The main energy supplier is the Krško nuclear power plant, which, despite the intention to do so, has not yet been shut down. The remaining energy is supplied by coal, natural gas and oil cogeneration plants. Yet Slovenia is highly dependent on imported energy, mainly oil and gas.

Industry general

Ljubljana power plant, SloveniaLjubljana power plant, SloveniaPhoto: Simon Cerne at Slovenian Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 no changes made

Slovenia is the most technologically advanced of all Central European countries. Industry contributes 32.2% to GDP and 31.2% of the labor force is employed in this sector (2017). Most of the industry is located in large cities such as Jubljana, Maribor, Koper, Celje and Kranj. Of the more than 50,000 registered companies, nearly 60% have fewer than 50 employees; only 2% have more than 250 employees.

Mechanical engineering is carried out on a limited scale, as well as metal production and processing. There are also textile factories and factories for electronic and household appliances. There is also the chemical industry and wood processing. High-quality and technically advanced products include precision instruments, electrical products and household appliances.

The highest returns are currently being achieved in the production of chemicals, food and drink, machinery and rubber and plastic. Industries in microelectronics, optical electronics and biotechnology are emerging.

In the city of Novo Mesto there is a large car factory, the Revoz factory, where Renault models are made for the European market.

Construction industry, chemicals and plastics

Building construction SloveniaBuilding construction SloveniaPhoto: Tiia Monto CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Slovenian construction sector employs more than 50,000 people and contributes about 6% to GDP. Since the beginning of this century, the construction industry has benefited greatly from the road construction program initiated by the government. Foreign investment in the Slovenian construction industry is increasing every year.

The Slovenian chemical industry is a growth sector (especially pesticides and agro-chemicals). Imports and exports both grew by approximately 20%. The industry focuses mainly on fine chemicals and pharmaceutical products. This sector provides 5.5% of total employment and 9.5% of GDP.

Trade, banking and insurance

Slovenia's trade policy emphasizes the development of trade with the countries of the European Union, thereby compensating for the disappearance of the important markets in the former Yugoslavia. Once the political and economic problems in these countries are resolved, it is expected that trade with those countries will pick up again. The most important trading partner has now become Germany.

The main export categories of the Slovenian industry are: cars, electrical appliances, furniture, paper, medicines, metal products and clothing.

The main imports are oil and oil products, electrical machinery, tools, equipment, industrial machinery, iron, steel and metal products.

Almost 50% of Slovenian imports are supplied by the EU countries Germany, Italy, Austria and France. The total value of the imports was $ 30 billion in 2017. The main export partners are Germany, Italy, Austria, Croatia, France and Russia. The total value of exports was $ 32 billion in 2017. Slovenia thus has a stable trade balance.

Bank of SloveniaBank of SloveniaPhoto: Alois Staudacher CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

All banks are supervised by the Bank of Slovenia, which also fulfills the function of Central Bank. Around 2001, there were 25 banks in Slovenia with a balance sheet total of approximately EUR 14 billion. The market share of the three largest banks has been around 50% for several years now. About 17 companies are active in the Slovenian insurance sector. Foreign companies are not yet very active in the Slovenian insurance market.

Traffic

Highway SloveniaHighway SloveniaPhoto: Kliek CC 4.0 International no changes made

Slovenia has always been well accessible as a transit country. There are even more motorways under construction, particularly to Austria. The Slovenian road network has a length of approximately 18,000 kilometers, of which more than 80% is paved.

After road transport, the railways are the most important form of freight transport in Slovenia. The rail network also mainly has a transit function to Zagreb and Belgrade, although it also connects the main cities domestically. Slovenia has a fairly dense railway network with a length of 1200 kilometers (approx. 500 km electrified). It is an important link in rail traffic between the more southerly part of Europe and Western Europe and between Central and Eastern European countries and Italy. In 2000, the missing part of the direct rail link between Slovenia and Hungary was completed.

Ljubljana, Maribor and Portoroz have an international airport. The largest airport in Slovenia is Aerodrom Ljubljana. Maribor airport is specialized in freight traffic and charter flights with tourists. Portoroz airport is mainly used for passenger transport, sports, tourism and business flights.

The port of Koper is located on Slovenia's short coastline and is an important point of entry for Hungary, Austria and the hinterland. Koper's main competitors are Trieste in Italy and Rijeka in Croatia. Koper has eleven specialized, well-equipped terminals for handling different types of goods.

Holidays and Sightseeing

Slovenian AlpsSlovenian AlpsPhoto: Jernej Furman CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Tourism, aimed at the high mountains with its winter sports and mountaineering, is becoming increasingly important. More and more Europeans are also opting for a holiday in Slovenia for culture, nature and medicinal baths. The foreign tourists came mainly from Italy, and further from Germany, Croatia, England, the Netherlands and Russia. Popular are holiday resorts in the mountains, holidays by the sea and spas and the capital Ljubljana.

Ljubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, SloveniaPhoto: Janez Kotar in the public domain

Ljubljana is Slovenia's vibrant capital. The Franciscan monastery and the accompanying church from 1660 together form an impressive attraction. The structure is located on Prešeren Square, Ljubljana's main square. You can't miss it because of the beautiful red color of the building. A large statue of the Virgin Mary has been incorporated in the facade. The Triple Bridge (Slovenian: Tromostovje) over the Ljubljjanica is the connection between Prešeren Square and the old part of Ljubljana. In 1842 there was one stone bridge on the site, but Plecnik decided in 1931 to build two more bridges on both sides. The central market is also held at this bridge. Read more on the Ljubljana page of Landenweb.

Lake Bled, SloveniaLake Bled, SloveniaPhoto: Adiel lo CC 3.0 Unported no chnges made

Slovenia's mountains are among the lower foothills of the European Alps, making them more home to an abundance of alpine plants and animals. With a bit of luck you will see chamois, marmots or ibex. Two important resorts are Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj in the Triglav National Park. These lakes are a great base for exploring alpine Slovenia.

Caves of Postojna Caves of PostojnaPhoto: Bamml 82 CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Postonja cave system is undoubtedly the most important tourist attraction in Slovenia. The caves are extremely long (more than 20 kilometers) and are hidden in the Karst Mountains near the town of Postonja. You can take a tour through the caves that lasts approximately 1.5 hours. You first descend into the cave with a train that takes you past beautifully lit stalagmites and stalactites. Then you walk under the guidance of a guide through the most beautiful part of the caves. There is a considerable height difference in the walk, but you will be richly rewarded especially the red, white and spaghetti room are dazzling. At the end of the tour you will see a unique bit of the Elm or the cave salamander. Pushy ticket sellers are standing in front of the entrance who want to sell combination tickets. The advice is to walk undisturbed to the official cash desk to make your own choice. You can also book in advance on the internet.

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Sources

Buma, H. / Reishandboek Slovenië
Elmar

Derksen, G. / Slovenië, Istrië (Kroatië)
Gottmer

Wilson, N. / Slovenia
Lonely Planet

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated December 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb