The Republic of Slovenia lies in the heart of Europe – it is a meeting point of four major European natural areas: where the Alps and the Mediterranean meet the Pannonian plains and the mysterious Karst region. That’s what makes Slovenia a special country.
The climate is continental with cold winters and warm summers, while at the coast there is a pleasant sub Mediterranean climate. The average temperatures are -2° C in January and 21° C in July. The average rainfall is 1,000 mm on the coast, up to 3,500 mm in the Alps, 800 mm in the southeast and 1,400 mm in central Slovenia. During the winter season, there is plenty of snowfall. In Slovenia, the sun shines approximately 2,000 hours per year.
Slovenia is situated in Central Europe and shares borders with Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. Most towns are only a couple hours from the large European cities of Venice and Vienna. Slovenia’s eastern Alpine location and easily accessible transit routes have been crucial since the ancient days. It is very easy to get here as the country is connected to the rest of the world by a modern highway network, railway system, international airport and seaports.
The country’s topography is mostly elevated. Moving away from the coastal area, the terrain consists largely of karstic plateaus and ridges, magnificently precipitous Alpine peaks and lush basins and valleys. The highest Alpine peak in Slovenia is Mount Triglav (2,864 m) - the name meaning "three-heads". The mountain is a true national symbol. In a valley just beneath Triglav lies the idyllic Lake Bohinj and a few kilometres to the northeast, Lake Bled.
Green is the dominant colour. There are many woods and forests in Slovenia covering more then half its territory, as much as 10,124 km2. Slovenia is a homeland to more than 50,000 animal species and 3,000 plant species. The remnants of primeval forests can also be found, especially in the Kočevje area. The European brown bear still lives in these forests, and it is possible to encounter wolves, lynxes, wild boar, chamois, roe deer as well as a standard variety of small game.
Slovenia has 46.6 km of coastline - one inch per inhabitant, 26,000 kilometres of rivers and streams and some 7,500 natural water springs, including several hundred first class therapeutic mineral springs. Approximately 8% of Slovenia’s territory is a protected nature area. The caves of Škocjan were added to the world heritage List at UNESCO in 1986 and the Sečovlje Soline (Sečovlje saltpans) is included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
Lying at a junction of natural trading routes, Slovenia is sometimes also referred to as the revolving door of Europe. It has been a crossroads, a huge gateway, dating back from when the Romans occupied this region. In the last decade and a half, Slovenia has raised itself from anonymity to become one of the top countries among the EU Member States. It is proud of its rich industrial history, traditional openness to the world, rational economic policies, and enviable economic development. As a member of the European Union, Slovenia primarily has trade links with Western Europe. It is known as a small, but reliable partner, with a rational way of doing things, and a highly educated labour force. Moreover, Slovenes are very proud to be known as a very hard-working nation.
Since its independence in 1991, Slovenia’s economic development has been very successful, making it a country that has prospered after its transition. Especially during the period of 1995–2005, economic growth in Slovenia was stable, reaching an average of about 4%. The Slovenian economy is open, and levels of internationalisation, measured by the average share of exports and imports in gross domestic product (GDP), increased from 51% to 65% from 1995 to 2005. Economic growth was further enhanced by an increase in consumer spending and investments, which peaked in 1999. Higher economic growth, compared to the EU average, has enabled a gradual decrease in Slovenia’s development lag. Thus in 2005, Slovenia reached 82% of the average GDP per capita in the EU, in terms of purchasing power, which corresponds to an increase of 14 percentage points over 1995. This placed Slovenia in 16th place in the EU.
Following economic growth, there was also an increase in employment, which has exceeded the European average since 2004 (in 2005, employment in Slovenia was 66%, as opposed to 63.8% in the EU). Compared to the EU average, Slovenia also has a considerably high employment rate for women (61.3% in 2005). The employment of older workers remains low (30.5% in 2005), but the situation is improving. For several years, unemployment has been slightly lower than the EU average (in 2005, 6.5% in Slovenia, as opposed to 8.8% in the EU). Long-term unemployment is also lower than the EU average (in 2005, 3.1% in Slovenia and 3.9% in the EU). The wages policy ensures a sound increase in wages in relation to growth in labour productivity. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, the average monthly net wage in December 2006 was EUR 818.94.
|Slovenia in Eurozone - source|
On 1 January 2007, Slovenia became the first, and so far the only, of the 10 new EU Member States which joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 to adopt the euro. The European Commission and the European Central Bank made favourable assessments of Slovenia’s readiness for the introduction of the common European currency, following a recommendation for Slovenia’s inclusion in the EMU. Based on the assessment in convergence reports that Slovenia met the Maastricht criteria, the political decision for Slovenia’s entry to the Eurozone was made at a European Council meeting in June 2006, while the formal decision, including the fixed and irrevocable tolar to euro conversion rate (at 239.64 tolars for 1 euro), came at the July 2006 Council of the EU of finance ministers of the Eurozone and Slovenia.
It was on 25 June 1991 that Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia. On a clear summer night the Slovenian parliament adopted a new Constitution on the basis of the 88.2% plebiscite vote. Although we can not really brag about the length of our country`s history, much has happened during the years of independence, and even more in the last 15 centuries. The history of the Slovenian nation is stirring and often steeped in tremendous pride.
Slovenian history started when our Slavic ancestors came from behind the Carpathian Mountains and proclaimed the principality of Carantania in the 7th century. Historians believe it was one of the most democratic and modern states at that point in history. So it is of no surprise that even Thomas Jefferson looked to the example of Carantania when developing the democratic foundation for the United States of America.
By the end of the 8th century, Carantania had become part of the Frankish Empire; the Slovenes had converted to Christianity and gradually lost their independence. Such was the destiny of the nation until the 14th century, when most of the territory of Slovenia was taken over by the powerful Habsburg dynasty. Their Slovenian competitors were the Counts of Cilli, a large and politically important family. They died out in 1456 and their numerous large estates became the property of the Habsburgs, who retained control into the 20th century.
Important Slovenian Milestones
250,000 BCE: The first evidence of human habitation on the territory of present-day Slovenia (two implements made of stone from Jama Cave in Loza Woods near Orehek)
120,000 to 1,300 BCE: Remains from the early Stone Age - the Palaeolithic; among them the oldest musical instrument in the world, found in Slovenia; evidence of hunting and Urnfield culture.
4th and 3rd century BCE: The arrival of Celts; the Noricum Kingdom
Around 10 BCE: The Roman Empire; the appearance of the first towns
5th and 6th century CE: Invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes
After 568: Dominance of Slavic people on the territory of Slovenia
7th to 11th century: The Duchy of Carantania, the oldest known independent
Slavonic tribal union in this region
8th century: The beginnings of the conversion to Christianity
9th century: The spread of the Frankish feudal system; the Slovenian nation begins to form
10th century: The appearance of the Freising Manuscripts, the earliest known text
written in Slovenian
|Freising Manuscripts - source|
11th century: The regions of Carniola, Styria, Carinthia and Gorizia begin to develop; intensive German colonisation
11th to 14th centuries: The development of medieval towns in Slovenia
14th to 15th centuries: Most of the territory of Slovenia, including all its hereditary estates, is taken over by the Habsburgs; in 1456, the Counts of Cilli die out, the last feudal dynasty on Slovenian territory
15th century: Turkish invasions begin
15th to 17th centuries: Peasant revolts
1550: Protestantism; the first book in Slovenian
18th century: The Enlightenment and compulsory universal education
1809-1813: Napoleonic occupation – the Illyrian Provinces
1848: Unified Slovenia, the first Slovenian political programme
1918: The defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the creation of the state of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs; the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929
1941-1945: The dismemberment of Yugoslavia by the Axis Powers
1945: The formation of the Federal People`s Republic of Yugoslavia, with the People`s Republic of Slovenia as one of its 6 federal entities
1990: Plebiscite on independence
25 June 1991: Declaration of the independent Republic of Slovenia
1 May 2004: EU membership
1 January 2007: Slovenia introduces the euro
Earliest Traces Human Habitation
The oldest proof of human habitation on the territory of Slovenia are two implements made of stone from the Jama cave in the Loza wood near Orehek, which are around 250,000 years old. From the Wurm glacial age, when Neanderthals inhabited the area, the most important find is a flute found in Divje babe, above the Idrija valley. In the late Stone and Bronze Ages, the inhabitants of the area were engaged in livestock rearing and farming. During the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age, the Urnfield culture existed in this area. Typical of the Hallstatt period were fortified hilltop settlements called gradišče (Most na Soči, Vače, Rifnik, St. Vid near Stična) and beautifully-crafted iron objects and weapons. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of these settlements cannot be determined.
The Celtic Kingdom and the Roman Empire
In the 4th and 3rd centuries, the territory of the present-day Slovenia was occupied by Celtic tribes, which formed the first state called Noricum. The names of many present places (Bohinj, Tuhinj) date from this time, as well as the names of rivers (the Sava, the Savinja, the Drava). Around 10 BCE, Noricum was annexed by the Roman Empire and Roman cities started to appear, among them Emona (Ljubljana), Celeia (Celje) and Poetovia (Ptuj). Well-constructed trade and military roads ran across Slovenian territory from Italy to Pannonia. Under the Roman Empire, the population became Romanised and Christianity began to assert itself.
|Slovenia under the Roman Empire - source|
The First Independent Duchy
In the 5th and 6th centuries, the area was exposed to invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes during their incursions into Italy. After the departure of the last Germanic tribe - the Langobards - to Italy in 568, Slavs began to dominate the area, but it is not quite clear as to exactly when they first arrived here. After the resistance against the nomadic Asian Avars (from 623 to 626), this Slavonic people united with King Samo’s tribal confederation, which had its centre in the present Czech Republic. The confederation fell apart in 658 and the Slav people in the territory of the present-day Carinthia formed the independent duchy of Carantania, with its centre at Krn Castle, north of Klagenfurt. From this period onwards, until 1414, a special ceremony of the enthronement of princes, conducted in Slovenian, took place.
Under the Franks and Christianity
During the middle of the 8th century, Carantania became a vassal duchy under the rule of the Bavarians, who began to spread Christianity. In 788, Carantanians together with Bavarians came under Frankish rule. At the beginning of the 9th century, the Franks removed the Carantanian princes because of rebellions, replacing them with their own border dukes. The Frankish feudal system started spreading to Slovenian territory. At the end of the 9th century, Magyars invaded the Pannonian Plain. They intruded into Slovenian territory and cut it off from the other western Slavs.
Thus the isolated Slavs of Carantania and of Carniola to the south started developing into an independent nation of Slovenes. After the victory of Emperor Otto I over the Magyars in 955, Slovenian territory became divided into a number of border regions of the Holy Roman Empire, the most important of which, Carantania, was in 976 elevated into the duchy of Great Carantania. The Freising Manuscripts date from this period - a few prayers written in the Slovene language of the time. In the late Middle Ages, the historic states of Štajerska (Styria), Koroška (Carinthia), Kranjska (Carniola), Gorizia, Trieste and Istria were formed from the border regions and included in the medieval German state.
00 Years Under the Habsburgs
In the 14th century, most of the territory of Slovenia was taken over by the Habsburgs. Their powerful competitors were the counts of Celje, a feudal family from this area, who in 1436 acquired the title of state counts. This large dynasty, important on a European political level and who had its land on Slovenian territory, died off in 1456. Their numerous large estates became the property of the Habsburgs, who retained control of the area right up until the beginning of the 20th century. Intensive German colonisation between the 11th and the 15th centuries narrowed Slovenian lands to an area only a little bigger than the present-day Slovenian ethnic territory.
At the end of the Middle Ages, in the 15th and the 16th centuries, life in this area was marked by Turkish incursions. Dissatisfaction with the ineffective feudal defences against the Turks and the introduction of new taxes (particularly a tribute tax) as well as bonded labour, brought about peasant revolts. The biggest revolt in 1515 took place across nearly the whole Slovenian territory. Also from 1572 to 1573, Slovenian and Croatian peasants organised another united revolt. These uprisings, which met with bloody defeats, continued right up until the first half of the 18th century.
A Time of Revival
In the late middle of the 16th century, the Reformation, mainly Lutheranism, spread to Slovenia, helping to create the foundations of the Slovenian literary language. In 1550, Primož Trubar published the first two books in Slovene, Katekizem and Abecednik (The Catechism and Abecedary). The Protestants published over 50 books in Slovene, including the first Slovenian grammar and, in 1584, Dalmatin’s translation of the Bible.
At the beginning of the 17th century, princely absolutism and the Catholic Church suppressed Protestantism, thereby hindering for a long period the development of literature in Slovenian. The Enlightenment in Central Europe, particularly under the Habsburg Empire, was a positive period for the Slovenian people. It accelerated economic development and brought about the appearance of a Slovenian middle class.
The reign of Emperor Joseph II (1765-1790) which saw, among other things, the introduction of compulsory education and primary education conducted in Slovene (1774), together with the first cultural-linguistic activities by Slovenian intellectuals, was a time of Slovenian national revival and the birth of the Slovenian nation in the modern sense of the word.
During the period before the March revolution of 1848, modernisation of villages and the first industrialisation began. The most important Slovenian poet, France Prešeren, made his contribution to overcoming language regionalism: he asserted on the right to a unified written language for all Slovenes and defended it against attempts to merge it with an artificial Illyrian Yugoslav language. The first Slovenian political programme, called `Unified Slovenia’ emerged during the European `Spring of Nations` in March and April of 1848; it demanded that all the areas inhabited by Slovenes should be united into one province called Slovenia. The idea of a unified Slovenia remained the central theme of the national-political efforts of the Slovenian nation within the Habsburg Empire for the next 60 years.
The State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
During the First World War, which brought heavy casualties to Slovenia, particularly on the bloody Soča front, and with the imperialistic policies of the superpowers, which threatened to split Slovenian territory among a number of states (the London Pact of 1915), Slovenes tried to arrange a unified common state of Slovenes, Croats and those Serbs living within the Habsburg monarchy.
This demand, known as the May Declaration, was made by the Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian representatives in the Vienna parliament in the spring of 1917. After the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, the danger from Italy, which had occupied Primorska, Istria and some parts of Dalmatia, and the pressures from the Serbs for unification into a common state, compelled the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs on 1 December 1918, to unite with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was in 1929 renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Following a plebiscite in 1920, most of the Slovenian part of Carinthia was annexed to Austria. Thus, a unified Slovenia never became a reality, since the majority of the Slovenian nation lived in Yugoslavia.
The Federal Yugoslavia
During the Second World War, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia disintegrated, and Slovenian territory was divided between Germany, Italy and Hungary. In 1941, the Liberation Front of the Slovenian Nation was founded in Ljubljana and began an armed resistance against the occupying forces. The Communist Party soon took the leading role within the Liberation Front, gradually redirecting the liberation fight into a socialist revolution. After the Second World War, the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) was declared, of which Slovenia was a constituent.
In 1963, the FLRY was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and Slovenia was now called the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. Slovenia’s economy developed rapidly, especially in the 1950s, when it was strongly industrialised. After the economic reform and further economic decentralisation of Yugoslavia in 1965 and 1966, of the six republics, Slovenia was the one most rapidly approaching a market economy. In spite of restrictive economic and social legislation determined mainly by the largest - Serbian - nation, which based its centralist strategy on the less-developed republics, Slovenia managed to preserve a higher level of economic development, had a higher than average skilled workforce and better working discipline and organisation.
The Independent State
After its rapid economic development in 1950s due to industrialisation, Slovenia was fast heading towards a market economy and managed to maintain a high level of economic development. Slovenia’s domestic product was 2.5 times the state average.
The second half of the 1980s proved crucial on the path to independence, particularly the critical writing of intellectuals in the circle of Nova revija magazine. Its 57th issue focused on Slovenia’s independence. In 1988 and 1989 the first political opposition parties emerged, which in the 1989 May Declaration demanded a sovereign state for the Slovenian nation. In April 1990, the first democratic elections in Slovenia took place and were won by DEMOS, the united opposition movement, led by Dr Jože Pučnik.
In the same year more than 88% of the electorate voted for a sovereign and independent Slovenia. The declaration of independence followed on 25 June 1991. The next day, the Yugoslav Army attacked the newly-founded state. After a ten day war, a truce was called, and in October 1991 the last soldiers of the Yugoslav Army left Slovenia.
In December 1991 the independent Republic of Slovenia adopted its constitution, which is based on the rights of free citizens. In its general provisions, the constitution defines Slovenia as a democratic republic governed by the rule of law, and a social state.
The adoption of the constitution formally ended the former communist system. The European Union recognised Slovenia in the middle of January 1992, and the UN accorded it membership in May 1992. To some members of DEMOS and outsiders, this and international recognition provided the basis for the argument that DEMOS had done its job and could be dissolved.
In December 1992, after new elections under a new, more democratic law, the strongest force in the single chamber parliament became the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) led by Dr Janez Drnovšek, with 23 per cent of the vote, which balanced the Slovenian political arena by forming a coalition with one left-wing (reformed communists) and one right-wing party (Christian Democrats). With a similar coalition, the LDS was able to govern for twelve years, with only one interruption in the second half of 2000. It managed to establish a liberal political culture by passing numerous fundamental laws, for example with regard to education, and to carry out a social and economic transition into a social market economy with private initiative. In 2004 Slovenia joined the EU, with considerable popular support, and NATO (common objectives of both the ruling coalition and the opposition).
At the parliamentary elections in the autumn of 2004, the Slovenian Democratic Party won and formed a centre-right government, headed by the leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party, Janez Janša, with the Christian Democrats, the Slovenian People’s Party, and the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia as coalition partners. The government is continuing a successful economic policy, with 5 per cent economic growth and reforms of the tax and salary systems. It succeeded in meeting the Maastricht criteria, and Slovenia joined the Eurozone (the first transition country to do so) on 1 January 2007.
The Republic of Slovenia is a parliamentary democratic republic that became an independent state after the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991. The present Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia was adopted on 23 December 1991, following the results of a plebiscite on the sovereignty and independence of Slovenia on 23 December 1990, when Slovenians es overwhelmingly voted for independence.
President of the Republic: Danilo Türk (since december 2007))
Prime Minister: Borut Pahor (SD)
Government: Prime Minister, 15 ministers, 2 ministers without portfolio
National Assembly: 90 deputies (88 elected representatives of parliamentary parties, and one representative each from the Italian and Hungarian national communities).
National Council: 40 elected representatives of employers, employees, farmers, tradesmen and the self-employed, as well as from the non-economic sector and local interest groups.
Governing parties: SD, ZARES, LDS, DeSUS
Last national elections 2008
Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: • http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/slovenia_en.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Slovenia)
Slovenia has three national symbols – the coat of arms, the flag and the anthem. The coat of arms, the flag and the anthem are determined by the Constitution. Their use is determined by the law, which among other things prescribes the flying of the flag on state holidays.
Slovenia joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. The use of the European Union’s flag and anthem in Slovenia is determined by the Decree on the use of the European Union’s flag and anthem in the Republic of Slovenia (Uredba o uporabi zastave in himne Evropske unije v Republiki Sloveniji, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia).
Slovenia strives for the preservation of its national identity and a simultaneous openness to the world. In international relations it advocates peaceful conflict resolution, stronger co-operation and trust and respect for human rights. Slovenia lies at the heart of one of Europe’s ethnic crossroads. The Republic of Slovenia bases its foreign policy on the fundamental principles of the constitutional system of the state and generally applicable principles of international law. It is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations and many other international organisations.
For more information about Slovenia’s membership of international organisations and political cooperation between Slovenia and other countries please check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To become an independent state was a daunting task in many respects. After the birthing painsangs of establishing a new state, there was a big challenge ahead was still to be accomplished: Slovenia needed to gain acquire international recognition and establish itself as a player on the world stage. One of the first important goals of Slovenian foreign policy was to join certain crucial international organisations and alliances, such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union, NATO, and many other international arrangements. Slovenia not only quickly became a member of such international groupings, but has already presided over several of them.
An important aspect of a successful state is its relationship with its neighbouring countries. Slovenia maintains open and friendly relations with Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. Slovenia co-operates with its neighbours via quadripartite projects and initiatives; it also works alongside other Central European states within the Central European Initiative (CEI) and Regional Partnership and contributes to the stabilisation of South Eastern Europe within the Stability Pact.
Slovenia pays special attention to the position of the Hungarian and Italian minorities in Slovenia as well as to the Slovenian minorities living in the neighbouring countries. The Slovenian Constitution, adopted in 1992, guarantees special rights to members of the Italian and Hungarian minorities living in Slovenia.
Today Slovenian minorities live in most of the neighbouring countries: Italy, Austria and Hungary. The rights of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Austria are set forth in the Federal Contract on the Restructuring of an Independent and Democratic Austria. The rights of the Slovenian minority in Italy and of Italians in Slovenia are set forth in a Special Status, included in the London Memorandum of Agreement (accepted in 1954), as well as in the Osimo Agreements (signed in 1974). /More information in the background information can be found here: 25th Anniversary of the Osimo Agreements, November 2000.
The question issue of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Hungary and of Hungarians in Slovenia is dealt addressed with in the 1992 accredited agreement on ensuring the special rights of the Slovenian ethnic minority and of the Hungarian ethnic population in Slovenia.
Slovenia’s Mmembership inof Iinternational Oorganisations and Rregional Iinitiatives:
United Nations (UN), 1992
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), 1992
Central European Initiative (CEI), 1992
World Health Organisation (WHO), 1992
International Labour Organisation (ILO), 1992
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 1992
Council of Europe (CE), 1993
International Monetary Fund (IMF), 1993
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), 1993
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 1993
World Trade Organisation (WTO), 1995
Central European Free Trade Association (CEFTA), 1996
Quadrilateral Initiative, 1996
Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), 1997
Human Security Network, 1998
Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, 1999
Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (AII), 2000
Regional Partnership, 2001
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), 2004
European Union (EU), 2004
Primož Trubar (1508-1586)
Primož Trubar was the leader of the Protestant movement in Slovenia and the founder of Slovenian theology.
|Primož Truban - source|
Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693)
Janez Vajkard Valvasor, nobleman and polymath, harbinger of the Slovenian Enlightenment.
Jurij Vega (1754-1802)
Jurij Vega is the foremost Slovenian mathematician and author of several textbooks on higher mathematics.
Rihard Jakopič (1869-1943)
Rihard Jakopič, Slovenia’s leading Impressionist painter and theoretician.
Jože Plečnik (1872-1957)
Jože Plečnik, Slovenia’s greatest architect, also achieved a prominent place in world architecture.
|Jože Plečnik - source|
France Prešeren (1800-1848)
France Prešeren is Slovenia’s greatest poet.
Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926)
Ivana Kobilca is Slovenia’s most important woman painter and represents the generation of Slovenian realists.
|Ivana Kobilca - source|
Ivan Cankar (1876-1918)
Ivan Cankar is the greatest Slovenian short story writer and dramatist, a universal representative of Slovenian Modernism.
The system of education system in the Republic of Slovenia is based on the principles of democracy, autonomy and equal opportunities. The constitution regulates only the fundamental rights in the sphere of education by determining that eEducation is free. The compulsory basic education is the responsibility of the state, which finances the system from the state budget. Slovenia is a highly educated society with a literacy rate of more than 99%. State universities and state professional colleges are autonomous.
Children of foreign residents are also appropriately provided for in Slovenia. They can receive an education at all levels: they can enter elementary school at any time, because all children living in the Republic of Slovenia have a right to compulsory basic education under the same conditions as its citizens. At other educational levels, they have to obtain official recognition for certificates documenting their prior education - for secondary schools at the Ministry of Education and Sport, and for further and higher education directly at one of the universities - before they enrolenrol.
|Date||English Name||Slovenian Name||Remarks|
|1 and 2 January||New Year||novo leto|
|8 February||Prešeren Day, the Slovenian Cultural Holiday||Prešernov dan, slovenski kulturni praznik||Anniversary of the death of Slovenian poet France Prešeren, established as the national cultural day in 1944 (work-free day from 1991)|
|-||Easter Sunday and Monday||velika noč in velikonočni ponedeljek||work-free day, date varies|
|27 April||Day of Uprising Against Occupation||dan upora proti okupatorju||Formerly Liberation Front Day (dan Osvobodilne fronte), marks the establishment, in 1941, of the Liberation Front to fight the German, Italian and Hungarian occupation of Slovenia|
|1 and 2 May||Labour Day||praznik dela|
|-||Pentecostal Sunday||binkoštna nedelja||work-free day, date varies|
|25 June||Statehood Day||dan državnosti||Commemorates the proclamation of independence in 1991|
|15 August||Assumption Day||Marijino vnebovzetje (veliki šmaren)||work-free day|
|17 August||Union of the Slovenians in Prekmurje with the Fatherland Day||dan združitve prekmurskih Slovencev z matičnim narodom po prvi svetovni vojni||not a work-free day|
|15 September||Restoration of Primorska to the Fatherland Day||dan vrnitve Primorske k matični domovini||not a work-free day|
|31 October||Reformation Day||dan reformacije||work-free day|
|1 November||All Saints||dan spomina na mrtve||work-free day, Formerly called The Day of the Dead (dan mrtvih)|
|23 November||Rudolf Maister Day||dan Rudolfa Maistra||not a work-free day|
|25 December||Christmas||božič||work-free day|
|26 December||Independence and Unity Day||dan neodvisnosti in enotnosti||Commemorates the proclamation of the independence plebiscite results in 1990|
Slovenia’s national cuisine shows an Austro-German influence with sauerkraut, grilled sausage and apple strudel often appearing on menus.
• The best-known Slovene foods are the breads made for special occasions, which appear in the form of braided loaves or wreathes: the struklji is stuffed with sweet fillings, meat or vegetables.
|Struklji - source|
• Another Slovene specialty is potica, a dessert prepared with a wide variety of fillings.
|Potica - source|
• Seafood is a specialty in Primorska region.
• Goulash is popular in the Hungarian influenced eastern Prekmurje region.
Carniolan pork sausage- Carniolan pork sausage is the Sslovenian national food. It has to be made of a 68% of pork, 12 % of beef and 20% of lard. There can also be 5 % of water and some salt, garlic and pepper. Other ingredients aren’t alloweud.
• The southwest, eastern and northeastern parts of Slovenia are known for their outstanding white wines (Laski, Renski Rizling and many others).
• The southeast is the homeland of the light, russet-colored cvicek wine.
• The Adriatic Coast and the Karst region have mainly red dry teran wine.
• Slovenian beer is excellent: the most popular brewers are Union in Ljubljana and Lasko in the eponymous town.
Legal drinking age: 18.
STEREOTYPES ABOUT SLOVENIA
1. Slovenia is a country with a picturesque countryside.
2. The Slovenians Slovenes are honest, hardworking, disciplined and industrious.
3. There is a lot of envy and jealousy.
4. Slovenians are an introverted and a bit over-serious nation.
5. Slovenians regard skiing as a national sport and each Slovene knows how to ski.
6. Slovenians like good food and drink.
Nightlife in Slovenia
There is a wide selection of theatres, cinemas, casinos and nightclubs in the larger towns. Ljubljana also has a good opera house and the symphony orchestra plays regularly in the Big Hall of the Cultural and Congress Centre.
Although they were considered the workaholics of Yugoslavia, Slovenian do know how to enjoy themselves. One in 10 of the capital’s inhabitants is a student, hence the proliferation of trendy cafés and small art galleries. Each year the International Summer Festival breathes new life into the Ljubljana cultural scene, sparking off a lively program of concerts and experimental theatre. For information about forthcoming cultural events, check Events in Ljubljana, a monthly pamphlet published by the Ljubljana Promotion Centre, and the English-language magazine Ljubljana Life, both available in major hotels and tourist offices.
Nightlife in Slovenia is one of the huge attractions for the tourists and visitors. Nightlife in Slovenia is a well known celebration point and hub for many revellersa lot of people. Most of the bars and pubs are open throughout the night. One can get food everywhere regardless of the time factor, as most of the shops are open till late.
The brand characteristics of Slovenians tell a story of Slovenes people who work passionately for what they care about. While Slovenian are similar to the citizens of other nations in many respects, however, they are also different in many ways. One of the differences is their language, which is spoken by just over two million people. However, most Slovenian, however, can speak several foreign languages.
One of distinct features of the Slovenian national character is their decided individualism; however, at the same time Slovenian have a deep sense of belonging to their society, country and, naturally, the family; this also extends to feelings attached to the local environment. At the same time, they are open to good things from elsewhere, good ideas, good people and, consequently, diversity, which is one of conditions for a secure future.
Generally, Slovenian describe themselves as industrious, honest, a bit jealous, good singers who enjoy a good glass of wine, perhaps a bit on the melancholic side and with a slight propensity for extremism.
However, Slovenian are marked with another characteristic, that of self-destructiveness. Experts see the latter as a result of a combination of aggressiveness and introversion. This can be seen in the large number of suicides, alcoholism and traffic accidents. Sadly, we rank among the most dangerous drivers in Europe, we are the ninth in the world for suicide incidences, and we count are among the thirstier Europeans. Despite these dark statistics, we can see from talking with the increasing numbers of foreign visitors to Slovenia that Slovenian are still very open to foreigners, kind and hospitable as e. Their experience is mostly positive.
In Slovenian employment policy quantity of employment is currently more emphasized than issues of quality of work. The need to increase employment flexibility is strongly stressed by employers and the Government. Proposals for changes in employment legislation concerning more numerical flexibility are being strongly negotiated by social partners. Flexicurity
concept is often referred to by all social partners, but it remains unclear how it would be implemented. Reconciliation of work and family/private life is supported by legislative regulations concerning paid parental leaves and provision of publicly subsidised child-care services, but organisations have very rarely developed any additional practices or initiatives that would exceed the legislative standards. Evidence shows an increase in intensification of work and insecurity of employment.
Slovenians are always on time for meetings and find it unprofessional when people arrive in late. They find it very irritating and consider that you are not taking the meeting seriously. So if you are going to be late, it is advisable to call before and apologise for your tardiness.
Slovenians are said to have business etiquette similar to Germans and Austrians. They are hard workers and ready to work long hours. The working hours per week according to the EU, total 40 hours, at 8 hours a day. Every company advertises an 8 hours working day, but in reality most people work 10 hours a day. All state institutions keep to the letter of the law and do not allow their employees to work more than 8 hour days.
The general level of education in Slovenia is quite high, with a literacy level of 99.7%. A high proportion of the population is represented by university graduates and 12% of all people aged between 25 and 64 have a higher education. Slovenia already exceeds the ratio of 30 students per 1,000 inhabitants, placing it among the more developed European countries with more than 11,000 students graduate annually from university.
|University of Ljubljana - source|
Most business managers are well-educated; they have under-graduate and post-graduate degrees. The younger managers are now have the ability to travel to Western Europe, or to America for their Masters degree and for further professional practical experience.
Slovenians speak more than one language. For example, people living in the mountain region with Italy and Austria on the other side, also speak Italian and German. Most of the managers speak English as a second language asEnglish is the business language in Slovenia. In most cases, university educated people speak a second language compared to the rest of the population.
During the first meeting, you should have your business card ready for introduction, the card should show your academic titles and position at work. To exchange business cards is customary in Slovenia and it is recommended that you have a sufficient quantity of business cards with you. Slovenians prefer a well laid out business card.
In general, the first meeting is informal and polite. They will listen to what is being offered and talk about what they have to bring to the table. If they think that cooperation is feasible, then another more formal meeting is scheduled for a later date.
It normally takes several meetings before an agreement is reached, since most Slovenian companies are very hierarchical and all the major decisions are made by the management. If the managing director is not attending the business meeting, then it automatically becomes just a forum to exchange ideas, and the proposal is then presented to the management, which will make a decision later. Decision-making lies with senior management and they rarely delegate the responsibility to someone else. The fastest growing type of enterprise in Slovenia is the family-owned company.
What is Slovenia famous for abroad?
1. Karst – Caves
The most famous cave area in the world is found in Slovenia, a country of over 7,500 karst caves. The term Karst is derived from the Slovenian region of Kras (Karst is the German for Kras), and is used internationally to describe distinctive landforms that develop on rock types readily dissolved in water. With over two-thirds of the country consisting of limestone, the Karst region covers 44% of Slovenia and provides karst phenomena such as disappearing lakes, swallow holes, karst springs and dry sinkholes.
2. Karst Settlements
Stanjel – "the jewel of the Karst region", is a picturesque settlement in the northern part of the Karst region, with narrow streets ending in small squares and stone houses situated on terraces upon a hill. Early Romans turned the top of the hill into a fort, and in the Middle Ages the village expanded over the hill and was fortified with walls to keep out the Turks; however, the most dominant features of the village are the Castle and the Church of Saint Daniel.
3. Capital City of Ljubljana
Slovenia has many medieval towns, including the capital, Ljubljana, which offers the friendliness of a small town with the advantages found in a larger metropolis of 275,000. The remains of five millennia of history wait to be explored, such as the Roman town of Emona, the Old Town with its medieval castle and the vast Tivoli Park stretching into the center of the city.
4. Land of Lakes
Close to the Alps and blessed by nature, Lake Bled and the surrounding countryside are located on the sunny side of the Alps lending it an ideal, sub-Alpine climate protected from northern winds. Lake Bled comes complete with a cliff-perched castle. The railway leads from Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj and through the tunnel to Soca River, Europe’s premier whitewater run. Hemingway set A Farewell to Arms in nearby Kobarid.
The Julian Alps are the most southerly extension of the great Alpine range, and these jagged limestone peaks hold some of Europe’s best scenery and trails for hiking. At the center of the range is Mount Triglav (which means three heads and is also the name of an old Slavic god), the highest in Slovenia, and nestled amongst these great mountains are the glacial lakes of Bohinj and Bled. Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted to know that Slovenia possesses 7,000 km (4,200 miles) of marked hiking trails and 165 mountain cabins.
Slovenia is a land with over 300 permanent waterfalls. Bostjan Burger, a Slovenian tourism expert, recommends Pohorje, in the Central Alps.
|Waterfall - source|
7. Paradise for Castle Lovers
Slovenia is a land of numerous small castles, which the aristocracy often used as holiday residences or hunting lodges. There are a good many solidly preserved churches and old town cores where, in line with the Central European environment, Gothic and Baroque architecture predominate.
|Castle - source|
8. Vino in the Vipava Valley
In the western part of Slovenia, the Vipava Valley is the most famous wine region in Slovenia and this fertile and vine-rich valley has always attracted settlers. Historians believe the valley was inhabited as early as before Christ and enjoyed its heyday during the period of the Roman Empire, evidenced by numerous archaeological sites from that era.
|Vipava Valley - source|
9. Skiing – the National Sport
Sport has been part of the Slovenian heritage for a long time. It was first mentioned in a 1689 document describing fishing, hunting, shooting, skiing, mountain climbing and cave exploration. It’s no surprise then that half of all Slovenians are actively involved in sports.
10. Who Doesn’t Love a Festival?
There are as many as ten international festivals held just in the capital, including the Ljubljana Summer Festival, the Ljubljana Graphics Biennial, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, the LIFFE Film Festival and the Druga Godba Festival of Alternative Music and medieval themed festivals are held throughout the country.
11. Wellness Centres
More than 15 natural thermal and climatic health resorts guarantee first-class relaxation for the body and soul, as well as treatment for various health problems. Because Slovenia lies at the crossroads of the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain, and the Dinaric Mountain Range, through the centuries, the individual Slovenian regions have developed various forms of economic activity, ways of life and cultural creativity. Among the greatest treasures of these regions are the diversity of dialects of the Slovenian language, different lifestyles, gastronomic traditions, popular entertainment and other aspects of the everyday life of the local people.
This diversity is best presented through the traditional regions of the country: Gorenjska (Upper Carniola), Dolenjska (Lower Carniola), Notranjska (Inner Carniola), Primorska (Littoral Region), Štajerska (Styria), Koroška (Carinthia) and Prekmurje (Over-Mura Region). Even though these areas do not match the current administrative and geographical layout of the country, and the establishment of new regions is still under way, the names of these regions, based on national history, are universally accepted.
The north-western part of Slovenia is Alpine and is known as Gorenjska. For centuries, it has been the most developed Slovenian region, with the longest tradition in tourism. It boasts several towns with beautiful historic centres, such as Škofja Loka, Radovljica, Kranj, Kamnik and Tržič.
Kropa and Kamna gorica are centres of iron forging, nail-making and blacksmithing, while the ironworks at Jesenice, the region’s largest, date from more recent times.The town of Jesenice is also the cradle of Slovenian ice-hockey. Gorenjska is also synonymous with winter sports. Numerous ski resorts and the world-famous ski-jumping hills at Planica are all essential elements of the region’s winter image. Bled, Bohinj and Kranjska Gora have for many years been among the most popular Slovenian tourist destinations.
The town of Kranj, the industrial and business hub of Gorenjska, is the seat of many successful companies.
The capital, Ljubljana, is the largest city, as well as the political, administrative, economic, educational and cultural centre of Slovenia. Ljubljana’s history goes back several thousand years. Archaeological findings from the Bronze Age are proof that as early as 2,000 BCE 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 which 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.
Natural Parks of Slovenia
Somewhere deep within us there are stories about pure nature, clear streams, endless green forests and birds singing lively songs. Some of us remember these stories from our childhood, while others are preserved in the memories of our grandmothers, and we very rarely have the opportunity to experience them in real life. Natural parks are areas where we can still experience the bounty of primal nature with all of our senses. These parks are the pride of Slovenia.
Protected parks all over the world have been created to protect the diversity of flora and fauna and natural habitats. The first nature reserves in Europe were established in Sweden in 1910, and Slovenia followed as early as 1924 when it established a protected area around the Triglav Lakes, becoming the fifth country in Europe to have a nature reserve.
The Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park has national significance for Slovenes and at the same time it forms part of our country’s identity within the context of the international community. Natural parks form a special category in environment preservation and as such, they must meet the strict European and international preservation criteria in order to be placed on the international map.
Two years ago the Triglav National Park celebrated its 80th anniversary and received the European Diploma of Protected Areas issued by the Council of Europe. The park is host to many kinds of activities and attracts many visitors.
Unlike with national parks, the state can independently set the conditions and criteria for regional and landscape parks and decide on their degree of protection. The law defines regional parks as well-preserved natural environments, which can also include large populated areas (this is not the case in the national park). Slovenia has two regional parks which attract visitors with their uniqueness and natural wealth. You can read more about the Škocjan Caves Regional Park and Kozjanski Park.
In the past, landscape parks were distinguished from regional parks by size, but now the category is no longer limited by size, and mainly relates to the landscape itself. A landscape park is an area with intrinsic natural value where the influence of people shaping, maintaining and caring for the environment is very evident. The establishment of a particular area as a landscape park is proposed by the environment ministry, or by local authorities, on the recommendation of an expert committee, or even the initiative of private individuals or NGO’s.
Arguably, in the past few years, ski resorts have slowly but steadily become one of the most recognisable features of Slovenian tourism. A generous amount of snowfall is Mother Nature’s reward to the managers of Slovenia’s ski resorts for their efforts and investments in the development of ski lifts. Most ski resorts offer après ski, which meets the demands of modern clients who find it important, besides well-maintained ski runs and reliable service, to be able to fully enjoy themselves in the chalets on the slopes immediately after skiing.
If we were to ask a random Slovenian passing by in the street to name a national sport, the answer would be, without hesitation, skiing. Skiing and everything related to it boast a venerable tradition in this country, and for many years – or winters, to be precise – Slovenian skiers have delighted their fans with excellent results.
It is a misconception that visiting a spa is only for treating different ailments, because you can go to one at any time, in any season of the year, at any stage of your life. It allows you to rest, and recover your strength, to recuperate after injury and ailments, or simply to have fun.
Many spas in Slovenia offer a wide and diverse choice of services, including a range of more or less exotic massage treatments. The numerous health spas that have developed across Slovenia are the core of spa tourism in Slovenia, and at the same time they are actively involved in the Slovenian health-care system. They enjoy special status in this respect, complementing hospital treatment and the health-care industry with the healing properties of natural elements.
The first written sample of the Slovenian language are believed to be the Freising manuscripts (Brizinski spomeniki), which date back to around 1000 CE. The language in literature emerged in 16th century, when the first books : Catechism (Katekizem) and Abecedarium (Abecednik) were printed by Primoz Trubar.
Now the Slovenian language is spoken by about 2 million speakers and is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Some common expressions. There are some special letters in Slovene alphabeth:
č [reads: CH] š [reads: SH] ž [reads: J without D]
|Good day||Dober dan|
|How are you ? (informal)||Kako se imaš?|
|Lucky journey!||Srečno pot!|
Useful phrases in Slovenian: