The Republic of Slovenia (Slovenian: Republika Slovenija) is a coastal sub-Alpine country in south central Europe bordering Italy to the west, the Adriatic Sea to the southwest, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north. Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia from 1945 until gaining independence in 1991. It became a member of the European Union on 1 May 2004. It is also a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, and has observer status in La Francophonie.
Main article: History of Slovenia
It is believed that the Slavic ancestors of the present-day Slovenians settled in the area in the 6th century. The Slavic Duchy of Carantania, the first Slovenian state and the first stable Slavic state, was formed in the 7th century. In 745, Carantania lost its independence, being largely subsumed into the Frankish empire. Many Slavs converted to Christianity.
The Freising manuscripts, the earliest surviving written documents in Slovenian and the first ever Slavic dialect documents in Latin script, were written around 1000. During the 14th century, most of Slovenia's regions passed into ownership of the Habsburgs whose lands later formed the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with Slovenians inhabiting all or most of the provinces of Carniola, Gorizia and Gradisca, and parts of the provinces of Istria and Styria.
In 1848 a strong programme for a united Slovenia emerged as part of the "Spring of Nations" movement within Austria.
With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918, Slovenians joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed, in 1929, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the re-establishment of Yugoslavia at the end of World War II, Slovenia became a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, officially declared on 29 November 1945. Present-day Slovenia was formed on 25 June 1991 upon its independence from Yugoslavia. Slovenia joined NATO on 29 March 2004 and the European Union on 1 May 2004.
See also Timeline of Slovenian history
Main article: Politics of Slovenia
The Slovenian head of state is the president, who is elected by popular vote every 5 years. The executive branch is headed by the prime minister and the council of ministers or cabinet, which are elected by the parliament.
The bicameral Slovenian parliament consists of the National Assembly or Državni zbor, and the Državni svet or National Council. The National Assembly has 90 seats, which are partially filled with directly elected representatives, and partially with proportionally elected representatives (one for ethnic Hungarian and one for Italian minorities). The National Council has 22 seats, and is made up of representatives of social, economic, professional and local interest groups. Parliamentary elections are held every four years.
- Gorenjska (Upper Carniola )
- Štajerska (Styria)
- Prekmurje (Transmuraland)
- Koroška (Carinthia )
- Notranjska (Inner Carniola )
- Dolenjska (Lower Carniola )
- Primorska (Littoral Region )
- Bela krajina (White Carniola) is not a region. It is part of Dolenjska.
Main article: Municipalities of Slovenia
Slovenia is divided into 193 municipalities (občine, singular - občina), of which 11 have urban status.
Main article: Geography of Slovenia
Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinaric area, the Pannonian plain, the Karst region and the Mediterranean. Slovenia's highest peak is Triglav (2864 m); the country's average height above the sea level is 557 m. Around one half of the country (10,124 km²) is covered by forests; this makes Slovenia the third most forested country in Europe, after Finland and Sweden. Remnants of primeval forests are still to be found, the largest in the Kočevje area. Grassland covers 5593 km² of the country and fields and gardens 2471 km². There are also 363 km² of orchards and 216 km² of vineyards.
Its climate is Mediterranean on the coast, Alpine in the mountains and continental with mild to hot summers and cold winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east. The average temperatures are -2°C in January and 21°C in July. The average rainfall is 1000 mm for the coast, up to 3500 mm for the Alps, 800 mm for south east and 1400 mm for central Slovenia.
See also: National parks of Slovenia.
Main article: Economy of Slovenia
Slovenia continues to enjoy the highest GDP per capita of the transitioning economies of the region. The country is experiencing an increased, yet manageable, rate of inflation and anticipates increased GDP growth during the year 2000 as growth accelerates in the EU, Slovenia's leading export market. The country is on a sound economic footing. However, much work remains to be done in the areas of privatisation and capital market reform.
During 2000, privatisations were seen in the banking, telecommunications, and public utility sectors. Restrictions on foreign investment are slowly being dismantled, and foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to increase over the next two years. Slovenia can be considered one of the economic front-runners of the countries that joined the European Union in 2004.
Main article: Demographics of Slovenia
Slovenia's ethnic groups are: Slovenians (89%); Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks and other nationalities of the former Yugoslavia (10%); and the ethnic Hungarian and Italian minorities (0.5%). Life expectancy in 2000 was 71.80 years for men and 79.50 years for women.
With 95 inhabitants per km², Slovenia ranks low among the European countries in population density (compare with 320/km² for the Netherlands or 195/km² for Italy). Approximately 50% of the total population lives in urban areas, the rest in rural.
The official language is Slovenian, which is a member of the South Slavic language group. Hungarian and Italian enjoy the status of official language in the nationally mixed regions along the Hungarian and Italian border.
Main article: Culture of Slovenia
Slovenia got it first printed book with protestant reformer Primož Trubar (1508-1586). It were actually two books, Catechismus (a catechism) and Abecedarium, which was published in 1550 in Tübingen, Germany.
Part of the country, namely Carniola (existed till the 19th century) was etnographically and historically well described in the book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Die Ehre des Herzogthums Crain), published in 1689 by baron Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693).
Slovenia's two great literates were poet dr. France Prešeren (1800-1849) and writer Ivan Cankar (1876-1918). The most important Slovenian painters are Ivana Kobilca and impressionist Rihard Jakopič . The most important Slovenian architect is Jože Plečnik.
Slovenia is a homeland of numerous musicians and composers, including Renaissance composer Jacobus Gallus (1550-1591). He influenced Central European classical music very much. More contemporary ones are Slavko Avsenik and Laibach.
Slovenia's learned men include physicist Jožef Stefan, linguist Franc Miklošič and mathematician Jurij Vega.
See also: List of Slovenians.
Although Slovenia is a small country, different influences interact here. It has some Alps on the north (namely, Julian Alps, Karavanke, Kamnike and Savinjske Alps), some Dinarides on the south, a small part of Pannonian plain and a Littoral Region . It also has Karst - a very rich underground world. So diverse flora and fauna are found here. As mentioned above, half of country (53%) is covered by forests. Forests are an important natural resources , but their true importance lies in the still preserved natural diversity, their ecological (protection of the soil, water and air) and social (tourism and recreation) functions, and the beauty they lend to the Slovenian landscape. In the inland there are woods typical of Central Europe (oak and beech, and in the mountains, spruce, fir and pine). The tree-line in the mountains lies at the height of 1700-1800 m. Pine grows also on Kras plateau. There are also lime trees that are symbol of Slovenia. The national proverb says: "The true Slovenian must raise a child, write a book and plant a tree."
In the Alps, the most beatiful flowers are spurge laurel (Daphne blagyana ), different gentians (Clusi's gentian - Gentiana clusii ), Froelich's gentian - Gentiana froelichi ), avrikelj or lepi jeglič (Prumula auricula ), edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) - the symbol of Slovenian mountaineering, lepi čeveljc (Cypripedium calceolus ), Močvirska logarica or marsh tulip (Fritillaria meleagris), velikonočnica (Pulsatilla grandis ). The animals that live here, are marmots (imported), steinbocks, chamoises and different birds.
Slovenia also has a lot of deers, roe deers, boars and hares. Often found in Slovenian beech forests is the loir or fat dormhouse . Hunting these animals is a long tradition and was well described in the book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Slava Vojvodine Kranjske) (1689), written by Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693).
Kras and White Carniola are well known after proteus. On Kras there are a lot of pine trees, although only one third of it is covered by forest (mostly cut off in the far past for building Venice - wooden pilots on witch the city is build, and italian sailing ships).
The animal that nests in Prekmurje, is white stork.
In Slovenia also some important European carnivors live: Eurasian lynx (reintroduced to Kočevje area in 1973), European wild cat, foxes (especially the red fox), jackal and different species of martens, hedgehogs, different species of snakes (vipers, grass snake...). Slovenia also has a small population of wolves and about 400 brown bears (in March 2005).
There are also different birds (owls - tawny owl, long eared owl and eagle owl , hawks, short-toed eagle and other birds of prey, but also other birds like and woodpeckers (black and green woodpecker)).
As for water animals, the autochthonous fish Soča trout is found in Slovenia. In the Adriatic sea, dolphins live and sometimes, even whales reach Slovenian shore.
Domestic animals characteristic of Slovenia are the Carniolan honeybee, the autochthonous dog breed Karst Sheepdog and the autochthonous Lipizzan horse breed.
Jožef Stefan Institute
- Anton Melik Geographical Institute of Scientific research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
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