Slovenia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
(Redirected from Slovenes)
Republic of Slovenia

Republika Slovenija
{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms
Anthem: Zdravljica 
Location of  Slovenia  (dark green)– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)
Location of  Slovenia  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)

Capital
and largest city
Ljubljana
Official languages Slovenea
Ethnic groups
(2002)
  • 83.1% Slovenes
  • 2.0% Serbs
  • 1.8% Croats
  • 1.1% Bosniaks
  • 12.0% others / unspecified
Demonym(s)
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
• President
Borut Pahor
• Prime Minister
Miro Cerar
Legislature Parliament
National Council
National Assembly
Establishment
• State of Slovenes,
Croats and Serbs
becomes independent

29 October 1918
• Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes
(Kingdom of Yugoslavia)

4 December 1918
• Yugoslavia becomes a republic
29 November 1943
• Independence from Yugoslavia
25 June 1991
Area
• Total
20,273 km2 (7,827 sq mi) (153rd)
• Water (%)
0.7
Population
• 2012 estimate
2,055,496 (144th)
• 2002 census
1,964,036
• Density
101/km2 (261.6/sq mi) (106th)
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
• Total
$62.515 billion
• Per capita
$30,508
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
• Total
$45.617 billion
• Per capita
$22,192
Gini (2007) 28.4
low
HDI (2013) Increase 0.892
very high · 21st
Currency Euro ()b (EUR)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Driving side right
Calling code +386
ISO 3166 code SI
Internet TLD .sic
  1. Italian and Hungarian are recognised as official languages in the residential areas of the Italian or Hungarian ethnic minority.
  2. Slovenian tolar prior to 2007.
  3. Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Slovenia is a country in Southern Europe. The capital and largest city of Slovenia is Ljubljana. Its major language is Slovenian. Their population is right now about 2.0 million. Slovenia's leading exports are manufactured goods and aluminium. It is a parliamentary republic It is a member of the European Union and NATO.. The economy of Slovenia is small, open, and export-oriented.

History

A very long time ago, Illyrian and Celtics tribes lived in Slovenia. In the 1st century BC, Slovenia was ruled by the Romans. In the sixth century AD, Slavs lived there. Slovenia was ruled by Austria from 1335 until 1918. In 1918 it became a part of Yugoslavia. During World War II, Italy, Hungary and Germany took parts of the country but in 1945 it became part of Yugoslavia again.

In June 1991, following a 10-day war, Slovenia became an independent country.

Currently it is considered the most advanced country from what is called "Ex-Yugoslavia."

History

Prehistory to Slavic settlement

Prehistory

Flûte paléolithique (musée national de Slovénie, Ljubljana) (9420310527)
A pierced cave bear bone, possibly a flute, from Divje Babe

Present-day Slovenia has been inhabited since prehistoric times. There is evidence of human habitation from around 250,000 years ago. A pierced cave bear bone, dating from 43100 ± 700 BP, found in 1995 in Divje Babe cave near Cerkno, is considered a kind of flute, and possibly the oldest musical instrument discovered in the world. In the 1920s and 1930s, artifacts belonging to the Cro-Magnon, such as pierced bones, bone points, and a needle were found by archaeologist Srečko Brodar in Potok Cave.

In 2002, remains of pile dwellings over 4,500 years old were discovered in the Ljubljana Marshes, now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Ljubljana Marshes Wooden Wheel, the oldest wooden wheel in the world. It shows that wooden wheels appeared almost simultaneously in Mesopotamia and Europe. In the transition period between the Bronze age to the Iron age, the Urnfield culture flourished. Archaeological remains dating from the Hallstatt period have been found, particularly in southeastern Slovenia, among them a number of situlas in Novo Mesto, the "Town of Situlas". In the Iron Age, present-day Slovenia was inhabited by Illyrian and Celtic tribes until the 1st century BC.

Roman era

Emona v Ljubljani (6)
Roman Emona's south wall (reconstruction) in present-day Ljubljana

The area that is present-day Slovenia was in Roman times shared between Venetia et Histria (region X of Roman Italia in the classification of Augustus) and the provinces Pannonia and Noricum. The Romans established posts at Emona (Ljubljana), Poetovio (Ptuj), and Celeia (Celje); and constructed trade and military roads that ran across Slovene territory from Italy to Pannonia. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the area was subject to invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes during their incursions into Italy. A part of the inner state was protected with a defensive line of towers and walls called Claustra Alpium Iuliarum. A crucial battle between Theodosius I and Eugenius took place in the Vipava Valley in 394.

Slavic settlement

The Slavic tribes migrated to the Alpine area after the westward departure of the Lombards (the last Germanic tribe) in 568, and under pressure from Avars established a Slavic settlement in the Eastern Alps. From 623 to 624 or possibly 626 onwards, King Samo united the Alpine and Western Slavs against the Avars and Germanic peoples and established what is referred to as Samo's Kingdom. After its disintegration following Samo's death in 658 or 659, the ancestors of the Slovenes located in present-day Carinthia formed the independent duchy of Carantania, and Carniola, later duchy Carniola. Other parts of present-day Slovenia were again ruled by Avars before Charlemagne's victory over them in 803.

Klagenfurt Landhaus Großer Wappensaal Fürstenstein 19072006 6295
The Prince's Stone, symbol of the Duchy of Carantania

Middle Ages

The Carantanians, one of the ancestral groups of the modern Slovenes, particularly the Carinthian Slovenes, were the first Slavic people to accept Christianity. They were mostly Christianized by Irish missionaries, among them Modestus, known as the "Apostle of Carantanians". This process, together with the Christianization of the Bavarians, was later described in the memorandum known as the Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum, which is thought to have overemphasized the role of the Church of Salzburg in the Christianization process over similar efforts of the Patriarchate of Aquileia.

Kaernten herzogeinsetzung
A depiction of an ancient democratic ritual of Slovene-speaking tribes, which took place on the Prince's Stone in the Slovene language until 1414.

In the mid-8th century, Carantania became a vassal duchy under the rule of the Bavarians, who began spreading Christianity. Three decades later, the Carantanians were incorporated, together with the Bavarians, into the Carolingian Empire. During the same period Carniola, too, came under the Franks, and was Christianised from Aquileia. Following the anti-Frankish rebellion of Liudewit at the beginning of the 9th century, the Franks removed the Carantanian princes, replacing them with their own border dukes. Consequently, the Frankish feudal system reached the Slovene territory.

After the victory of Emperor Otto I over the Magyars in 955, Slovene territory was divided into a number of border regions of the Holy Roman Empire. Carantania, being the most important, was elevated into the Duchy of Carinthia in 976.

By the 11th century, the Germanization of what is now Lower Austria, effectively isolated the Slovene-inhabited territory from the other western Slavs, speeding up the development of the Slavs of Carantania and of Carniola into an independent Carantanian/Carniolans/Slovene ethnic group. By the late Middle Ages, the historic provinces of Carniola, Styria, Carinthia, Gorizia, Trieste, and Istria developed from the border regions and were incorporated into the medieval German state. The consolidation and formation of these historical lands took place in a long period between the 11th and 14th centuries, and were led by a number of important feudal families, such as the Dukes of Spannheim, the Counts of Gorizia, the Counts of Celje, and, finally, the House of Habsburg. In a parallel process, an intensive German colonization significantly diminished the extent of Slovene-speaking areas. By the 15th century, the Slovene ethnic territory was reduced to its present size.

In the 14th century, most of the territory of present-day Slovenia was taken over by the Habsburgs, the Hungarian clan Záh administering the territories connecting Slovenia with Slovakia and Moravia was exterminated in 1330 and the Slovenes permanently lost the connection with their Slovak kinsmen. The counts of Celje, a feudal family from this area who in 1436 acquired the title of state princes, were Habsburgs' powerful competitors for some time. This large dynasty, important at a European political level, had its seat in Slovene territory but died out in 1456. Its numerous large estates subsequently became the property of the Habsburgs, who retained control of the area right up until the beginning of the 20th century. Patria del Friuli ruled present western Slovenia until Venetian takeover in 1420.

Boj s Turki-Valvasor
The Ottoman army battling the Habsburgs in present-day Slovenia during the Great Turkish War.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the Slovene Lands suffered a serious economic and demographic setback because of the Turkish raids. In 1515, a peasant revolt spread across nearly the whole Slovene territory. In 1572 and 1573 the Croatian-Slovenian peasant revolt wrought havoc throughout the wider region. Such uprisings, which often met with bloody defeats, continued throughout the 17th century.

Early modern period

The Republic of Venice was dissolved by France and Venetian Slovenia was passed to the Austrian Empire in 1797. The Slovene Lands were part of the French-administered Illyrian provinces established by Napoleon, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. Slovenes inhabited most of Carniola, the southern part of the duchies of Carinthia and Styria, the northern and eastern areas of the Austrian Littoral, as well as Prekmurje in the Kingdom of Hungary. Industrialization was accompanied by construction of railroads to link cities and markets, but the urbanization was limited.

Due to limited opportunities, between 1880 and 1910 there was extensive emigration, and around 300,000 Slovenes (i.e. 1 in 6) emigrated to other countries, mostly to the US, but also to South America (the main part to Argentina), Germany, Egypt, and to larger cities in Austria-Hungary, especially Vienna and Graz. The area of the United States with the highest concentration of Slovenian immigrants is Cleveland, Ohio. The other locations in the United States where many Slovenians settled were areas with substantial industrial and mining activities: Pittsburgh, Chicago, Pueblo, Butte, northern Minnesota, and the Salt Lake Valley. The men were important as workers in the mining industry, because of some of the skills they brought from Slovenia. Despite this, the Slovene population increased significantly. Literacy was exceptionally high, at 80–90%.

The 19th century also saw a revival of culture in the Slovene language, accompanied by a Romantic nationalist quest for cultural and political autonomy. The idea of a United Slovenia, first advanced during the revolutions of 1848, became the common platform of most Slovenian parties and political movements in Austria-Hungary. During the same period, Yugoslavism, an ideology stressing the unity of all South Slavic peoples, spread as a reaction to Pan-German nationalism and Italian irredentism.

World War I

See also: Italian Campaign (World War I)
Eingebaute Mannschaftsunterstände am Monte Sabotino
The Battles of the Isonzo took place mostly in rugged mountainous areas above the Soča River.

World War I brought heavy casualties to Slovenes, particularly the twelve Battles of the Isonzo, which took place in present-day Slovenia's western border area with Italy. Hundreds of thousands of Slovene conscripts were drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army, and over 30,000 of them died. Hundreds of thousands of Slovenes from Gorizia and Gradisca were resettled in refugee camps in Italy and Austria. While the refugees in Austria received decent treatment, the Slovene refugees in Italian camps were treated as state enemies, and several thousand died of malnutrition and diseases between 1915 and 1918. Entire areas of the Slovene Littoral were destroyed.

The Treaty of Rapallo of 1920 left approximately 327,000 out of the total population of 1.3 million Slovenes in Italy. After the fascists took power in Italy, they were subjected to a policy of violent Fascist Italianization. This caused the mass emigration of Slovenes, especially the middle class, from the Slovenian Littoral and Trieste to Yugoslavia and South America. Those who remained organized several connected networks of both passive and armed resistance. The best known was the militant anti-fascist organization TIGR, formed in 1927 in order to fight Fascist oppression of the Slovene and Croat populations in the Julian March.

Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia)

KongressfallofAH
The proclamation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs at Congress Square in Ljubljana on 20 October 1918

The Slovene People'sParty launched a movement for self-determination, demanding the creation of a semi-independent South Slavic state under Habsburg rule. The proposal was picked up by most Slovene parties, and a mass mobilization of Slovene civil society, known as the Declaration Movement, followed. This demand was rejected by the Austrian political elites; but following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the aftermath of the First World War, the National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs took power in Zagreb on 6 October 1918. On 29 October, independence was declared by a national gathering in Ljubljana, and by the Croatian parliament, declaring the establishment of the new State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs.

Treaty of Rapallo
The map showing the present territory of Slovenia, with traditional regional boundaries; the Slovene-speaking areas annexed by Italy after WWI are shown in stripes

On 1 December 1918, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs merged with Serbia, becoming part of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes; in 1929 it was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The main territory of Slovenia, being the most industrialized and westernized compared to other less developed parts of Yugoslavia, became the main center of industrial production: Compared to Serbia, for example, Slovenian industrial production was four times greater; and it was 22 times greater than in North Macedonia. The interwar period brought further industrialization in Slovenia, with rapid economic growth in the 1920s, followed by a relatively successful economic adjustment to the 1929 economic crisis and Great Depression.

Following a plebiscite in October 1920, the Slovene-speaking southern Carinthia was ceded to Austria. With the Treaty of Trianon, on the other hand, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was awarded the Slovene-inhabited Prekmurje region, formerly part of Austro-Hungary.

Slovenes living in territories that fell under the rule of the neighboring states—Italy, Austria, and Hungary—were subjected to assimilation.

World War II

Slovenia was the only present-day European nation that was trisected and completely annexed into both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during World War II. In addition, the Prekmurje region in the east was annexed to Hungary, and some villages in the Lower Sava Valley were incorporated in the newly created Nazi puppet Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

Hungary
Independent

State of

Croatia
During World War II, Nazi Germany and Hungary annexed northern areas (brown and dark green areas, respectively), while Fascist Italy annexed the vertically hashed black area (solid black western part being annexed by Italy already with the Treaty of Rapallo). Some villages were incorporated into the Independent State of Croatia. After 1943, Germany took over the Italian occupational area, as well.
Bundesarchiv Bild 121-0721, Marburg-Drau, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler and Martin Bormann visiting Maribor in April 1941.

Axis forces invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941 and defeated the country in a few weeks. The southern part, including Ljubljana, was annexed to Italy, while the Nazis took over the northern and eastern parts of the country. The Nazis had a plan of ethnic cleansing of these areas, and they resettled or expelled the local Slovene civilian population to the puppet states of Nedić's Serbia (7,500) and NDH (10,000). In addition, some 46,000 Slovenes were expelled to Germany, including children who were separated from their parents and allocated to German families. At the same time, the ethnic Germans in the Gottschee enclave in the Italian annexation zone were resettled to the Nazi-controlled areas cleansed of their Slovene population. Around 30,000 to 40,000 Slovene men were drafted to the German Army and sent to the Eastern front. The Slovene language was banned from education, and its use in public life was limited to the absolute minimum.

In south-central Slovenia, annexed by Fascist Italy and renamed the Province of Ljubljana, the Slovenian National Liberation Front was organized in April 1941. Led by the Communist Party, it formed the Slovene Partisan units as part of the Yugoslav Partisans led by the Communist leader Josip Broz Tito.

Boji za Trst in Slovensko primorje
Partisans fighting for Trieste and Primorje region, 1945

After the resistance started in summer 1941, Italian violence against the Slovene civilian population escalated, as well. The Italian authorities deported some 25,000 people to the concentration camps, which equaled 7.5% of the population of their occupation zone. The most infamous ones were Rab and Gonars. To counter the Communist-led insurgence, the Italians sponsored local anti-guerrilla units, formed mostly by the local conservative Catholic Slovene population that resented the revolutionary violence of the partisans. After the Italian armistice of September 1943, the Germans took over both the Province of Ljubljana and the Slovenian Littoral, incorporating them into what was known as the Operation Zone of Adriatic Coastal Region. They united the Slovene anti-Communist counter-insurgence into the Slovene Home Guard and appointed a puppet regime in the Province of Ljubljana. The anti-Nazi resistance however expanded, creating its own administrative structures as the basis for Slovene statehood within a new, federal and socialist Yugoslavia.

In 1945, Yugoslavia was liberated by the partisan resistance and soon became a socialist federation known as the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Slovenia joined the federation as a constituent republic, led by its own pro-Communist leadership.

Approximately 8% of the entire Slovene population died during World War II. The small Jewish community, mostly settled in the Prekmurje region, perished in 1944 in the holocaust of Hungarian Jews. The German speaking minority, amounting to 2.5% of the Slovenian population prior to WWII, was either expelled or killed in the aftermath of the war. Hundreds of Istrian Italians and Slovenes that opposed communism were killed in the foibe massacres, and more than 25,000 fled or were expelled from Slovenian Istria in the aftermath of the war.

Socialist period

Razgledanje spomenika u Dražgošama
Josip Broz Tito and Edvard Kardelj (left) in Dražgoše, Slovenia, 1977.

Following the re-establishment of Yugoslavia during World War II, Slovenia became part of Federal Yugoslavia. A socialist state was established, but because of the Tito–Stalin split in 1948, economic and personal freedoms were broader than in the Eastern Bloc countries. In 1947, the Slovene Littoral and the western half of Inner Carniola, which had been annexed by Italy after World War One, were annexed to Slovenia.

After the failure of forced collectivisation that was attempted from 1949–53, a policy of gradual economic liberalisation, known as workers self-management, was introduced under the advice and supervision of the Slovene Marxist theoretician and Communist leader Edvard Kardelj, the main ideologue of the Titoist path to socialism. Suspected opponents of this policy both from within and outside the Communist party were persecuted and thousands were sent to Goli otok.

The late 1950s saw a policy of liberalisation in the cultural sphere, as well, and limited border crossing into neighboring Italy and Austria was allowed again. Until the 1980s, Slovenia enjoyed relatively broad autonomy within the federation. In 1956, Josip Broz Tito, together with other leaders, founded the Non-Aligned Movement. Particularly in the 1950s, Slovenia's economy developed rapidly and was strongly industrialised. With further economic decentralisation of Yugoslavia in 1965–66, Slovenia's domestic product was 2.5 times the average of Yugoslav republics.

Opposition to the regime was mostly limited to intellectual and literary circles, and became especially vocal after Tito's death in 1980, when the economic and political situation in Yugoslavia became very strained. Political disputes around economic measures were echoed in the public sentiment, as many Slovenians felt they were being economically exploited, having to sustain an expensive and inefficient federal administration.

Slovenian Spring, democracy and independence

In 1987 a group of intellectuals demanded Slovene independence in the 57th edition of the magazine Nova revija. Demands for democratisation and more Slovenian independence were sparked off. A mass democratic movement, coordinated by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, pushed the Communists in the direction of democratic reforms.

Teritorialci so z armbrustom zadeli tank v križišču pred MMP Rožna Dolina.
Slovenian Territorial Defense Units counterattacking the Yugoslav National Army tank who entered Slovenia during the Ten-Day War, 1991

In December 1991, a new constitution was adopted, followed in 1992 by the laws on denationalisation and privatization. The members of the European Union recognised Slovenia as an independent state on 15 January 1992, and the United Nations accepted it as a member on 22 May 1992.

Slovenia joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. Slovenia has one Commissioner in the European Commission, and seven Slovene parliamentarians were elected to the European Parliament at elections on 13 June 2004. In 2004 Slovenia also joined NATO. Slovenia subsequently succeeded in meeting the Maastricht criteria and joined the Eurozone (the first transition country to do so) on 1 January 2007. It was the first post-Communist country to hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first six months of 2008. On 21 July 2010, it became a member of the OECD.

Geography

General map of slovenia
A topographic map of Slovenia
Triglav
Mount Triglav

Slovenia is situated in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. It lies between latitudes 45° and 47° N, and longitudes 13° and 17° E. The 15th meridian east almost corresponds to the middle line of the country in the direction west-east. The Geometrical Center of the Republic of Slovenia is located at coordinates 46°07'11.8" N and 14°48'55.2" E. It lies in Slivna in the Municipality of Litija. Slovenia's highest peak is Triglav (2,864 m or 9,396 ft); the country's average height above sea level is 557 m (1,827 ft).

Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean. Although on the shore of the Adriatic Sea near the Mediterranean Sea, most of Slovenia is in the Black Sea drainage basin. The Alps—including the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karawank chain, as well as the Pohorje massif—dominate Northern Slovenia along its long border with Austria. Slovenia's Adriatic coastline stretches approximately 47 kilometres (29 mi) from Italy to Croatia.

The term "Karst topography" refers to that of southwestern Slovenia's Karst Plateau, a limestone region of underground rivers, gorges, and caves, between Ljubljana and the Mediterranean. On the Pannonian plain to the East and Northeast, toward the Croatian and Hungarian borders, the landscape is essentially flat. However, the majority of Slovenian terrain is hilly or mountainous, with around 90% of the surface 200 m (656 ft) or more above sea level.

Over half of the country (11,823 km2 or 4,565 sq mi) is covered by forests. This makes Slovenia the third most forested country in Europe, after Finland and Sweden. The areas are covered mostly by beech, fir-beech and beech-oak forests and have a relatively high production capacity. Remnants of primeval forests are still to be found, the largest in the Kočevje area. Grassland covers 5,593 km2 (2,159 sq mi) and fields and gardens (954 km2 or 368 sq mi). There are 363 km2 (140 sq mi) of orchards and 216 km2 (83 sq mi) of vineyards.

Geology

Žlebiči
Solution runnels (also known as rillenkarren) are a karst feature on the Karst Plateau, as in many other karst areas of the world.

Slovenia is in a rather active seismic zone because of its position on the small Adriatic Plate, which is squeezed between the Eurasian Plate to the north and the African Plate to the south and rotates counter-clockwise. Thus the country is at the junction of three important geotectonic units: the Alps to the north, the Dinaric Alps to the south and the Pannonian Basin to the east. Scientists have been able to identify 60 destructive earthquakes in the past. Additionally, a network of seismic stations is active throughout the country. Many parts of Slovenia have a carbonate ground, and an extensive subterranean system has developed.

Natural regions

The first regionalisations of Slovenia were made by geographers Anton Melik (1935–1936) and Svetozar Ilešič (1968). The newer regionalisation by Ivan Gams divided Slovenia in the following macroregions:

Strunjan bay (24209577441)
Slovenian coast with cliffs
  • the Alps (Alpe)
  • the subalpine landscapes (predalpski svet)
  • the Slovene Littoral or Submediterranean Slovenia (Primorje or submediteranska Slovenija)
  • the Dinaric plateaus of the continental Slovenia (dinarske planote celinske Slovenije)
  • Subpannonian Slovenia (subpanonska Slovenija)

According to a newer natural geographic regionalisation, the country consists of four macroregions. These are the Alpine, the Mediterranean, the Dinaric, and the Pannonian landscapes. Macroregions are defined according to major relief units (the Alps, the Pannonian plain, the Dinaric mountains) and climate types (submediterranean, temperate continental, mountain climate). These are often quite interwoven.

Protected areas of Slovenia include national parks, regional parks, and nature parks, the largest of which is Triglav National Park. There are 286 Natura 2000 designated protected areas, which comprise 36% of the country's land area, the largest percentage among European Union states. Additionally, according to Yale University's Environmental Performance Index, Slovenia is considered a "strong performer" in environmental protection efforts.

Climate

Climate types Slovenia 1970-2000
Climate types of Slovenia 1970–2000 and climograms for selected settlements.
Triglav National Park (7892861178)
The Soča River flows through Triglav National Park

Slovenia is located in temperate latitudes. The climate is also influenced by the variety of relief, and the influence of the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. In the northeast, the continental climate type with greatest difference between winter and summer temperatures prevails. In the coastal region, there is sub-Mediterranean climate. The effect of the sea on the temperature rates is visible also up the Soča valley, while a severe Alpine climate is present in the high mountain regions. There is a strong interaction between these three climatic systems across most of the country.

Precipitation, often coming from Gulf of Genoa, varies across the country as well, with over 3,500 mm (138 in) in some western regions and dropping down to 800 mm (31 in) in Prekmurje. Snow is quite frequent in winter and the record snow cover in Ljubljana was recorded in 1952 at 146 cm (57 in).

Compared to Western Europe, Slovenia is not very windy, because it lies in the slipstream of the Alps. The average wind speeds are lower than in the plains of the nearby countries. Due to the rugged terrain, local vertical winds with daily periods are present. Besides these, there are three winds of particular regional importance: the bora, the jugo, and the foehn. The jugo and the bora are characteristic of the Littoral. Whereas the jugo is humid and warm, the bora is usually cold and gusty. The foehn is typical of the Alpine regions in the north of Slovenia. Generally present in Slovenia are the northeast wind, the southeast wind and the north wind.

Waters

Lake Bohinj (9452094709)
Lake Bohinj, largest Slovenian lake, one of the two springs of the Sava River

The territory of Slovenia mainly (16,423 square kilometers or 6,341 square miles, i.e. 81%) belongs to the Black Sea basin, and a smaller part (3,850 square kilometers or 1,490 square miles, i.e. 19%) belongs to the Adriatic Sea basin. These two parts are divided into smaller units in regard to their central rivers, the Mura River basin, the Drava River basin, the Sava River basin with Kolpa River basin, and the basin of the Adriatic rivers. In comparison with other developed countries, water quality in Slovenia is considered to be among the highest in Europe. One of the reasons is undoubtedly that most of the rivers rise on the mountainous territory of Slovenia. But this does not mean that Slovenia has no problems with surface water and groundwater quality, especially in areas with intensive farming.

Biodiversity

P anguinus2
Olm can be found in Postojna cave and other caves in the country.

Slovenia signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 13 June 1992 and became a party to the convention on 9 July 1996. It subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was received by the convention on 30 May 2002.

Slovenia is distinguished by an exceptionally wide variety of habitats, due to the contact of geological units and biogeographical regions, and due to human influences. Around 12.5% of the territory is protected with 35.5% in the Natura 2000 ecological network. Despite this, because of pollution and environmental degradation, diversity has been in decline.

Animals

The biological diversity of the country is high, with 1% of the world's organisms on 0.004% of the Earth's surface area. There are 75 mammal species, among them marmots, Alpine ibex, and chamois. There are numerous deer, roe deer, boar, and hares. The edible dormouse is often found in the Slovenian beech forests. Trapping these animals is a long tradition and is a part of the Slovenian national identity.

Čebela na cvetu marelice
The Carniolan honey bee is native to Slovenia and is a subspecies of the western honey bee.

Some important carnivores include the Eurasian lynx, European wild cats, foxes (especially the red fox), and European jackal. There are hedgehogs, martens, and snakes such as vipers and grass snakes. According to recent estimates, Slovenia has c. 40–60 wolves and about 450 brown bears.

Slovenia is home to an exceptionally diverse number of cave species, with a few tens of endemic species. Among the cave vertebrates, the only known one is the olm, living in Karst, Lower Carniola, and White Carniola.

The only regular species of cetaceans found in the northern Adriatic sea is the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

There are a wide variety of birds, such as the tawny owl, the long-eared owl, the eagle owl, hawks, and short-toed eagles. Other birds of prey have been recorded, as well as a growing number of ravens, crows and magpies migrating into Ljubljana and Maribor where they thrive. Other birds include black and green woodpeckers and the white stork, which nests mainly in Prekmurje.

Lipica horses (7198987762)
Modern Lipizzaner grazing

There are 13 domestic animals native to Slovenia, of eight species (hen, pig, dog, horse, sheep, goat, honey bee, and cattle). Among these are the Karst Shepherd, the Carniolan honeybee, and the Lipizzan horse. They have been preserved ex situ and in situ. The marble trout or marmorata (Salmo marmoratus) is an indigenous Slovenian fish. Extensive breeding programmes have been introduced to repopulate the marble trout into lakes and streams invaded by non-indigenous species of trout. Slovenia is also home to the wels catfish.

Fungi

More than 2,400 fungal species have been recorded from Slovenia and, since that figure does not include lichen-forming fungi, the total number of Slovenian fungi already known is undoubtedly much higher. Many more remain to be discovered.

Plants

Slovenia is the third most-forested country in Europe, with 58.3% of the territory covered by forests. The forests are an important natural resource, and logging is kept to a minimum. In the interior of the country are typical Central European forests, predominantly oak and beech. In the mountains, spruce, fir, and pine are more common. Pine trees grow on the Karst Plateau, although only one-third of the region is covered by pine forest. The lime/linden tree, common in Slovenian forests, is a national symbol. The tree line is at 1,700 to 1,800 metres (5,600 to 5,900 feet).

In the Alps, flowers such as Daphne blagayana, gentians (Gentiana clusii, Gentiana froelichi), Primula auricula, edelweiss (the symbol of Slovene mountaineering), Cypripedium calceolus, Fritillaria meleagris (snake's head fritillary), and Pulsatilla grandis are found.

Slovenia harbors many plants of ethnobotanically useful groups. Of 59 known species of ethnobotanical importance, some species such as Aconitum napellus, Cannabis sativa and Taxus baccata are restricted for use as per the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia.

Economy

Eurozone
Since 2007 Slovenia has been part of the Eurozone (dark blue).

Slovenia has a developed economy and is per capita the richest of the Slavic countries by nominal GDP, and the second richest by GDP (PPP) behind the Czech Republic. Slovenia is also among the top global economies in terms of human capital. Slovenia was in the beginning of 2007 the first new member to introduce the euro as its currency, replacing the tolar. Since 2010, it has been member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. There is a big difference in prosperity between the various regions. The economically wealthiest regions are the Central Slovenia region which includes the capital Ljubljana and the western Slovenian regions, as Goriška and Coastal–Karst, while the least wealthy regions are the Mura, the Central Sava and the Littoral–Inner Carniola.

Economic growth

Loan to deposit ratio in Slovenia - including the Boom Period.
Loan-deposit ratio in Slovenia by years – including the 2005–2008 Boom Period.

In 2004–2006, the economy grew on average by nearly 5% a year in Slovenia; in 2007, it expanded by almost 7%. The growth surge was fuelled by debt, particularly among firms, and especially in construction. The financial crisis of 2007–2010 and European sovereign-debt crisis had a significant impact on the domestic economy. The construction industry was severely hit in 2010 and 2011. In 2009, Slovenian GDP per capita shrank by 8%, the biggest decline in the European Union after the Baltic countries and Finland. An increasing burden for the Slovenian economy has been its rapidly ageing population.

In August 2012, the year-on-year contraction was 0.8%, however, 0.2% growth was recorded in the first quarter (in relation to the quarter before, after data was adjusted according to season and working days). Year-on-year contraction has been attributed to the fall in domestic consumption, and the slowdown in export growth. The decrease in domestic consumption has been attributed to the fiscal austerity, to the freeze on budget expenditure in the final months of 2011, to the failure of the efforts to implement economic reforms, to inappropriate financing, and to the decrease in exports.

Due to the effects of the crisis it was expected that several banks had to be bailed out by EU funds in 2013, however needed capital was able to be covered by the country's own funds. Fiscal actions and legislations aiming on the reduction of spendings as well as several privatisations supported an economic recovery as from 2014. The real economic growth rate was at 2.5% in 2016 and accelerated to 5% in 2017. The construction sector has seen a recent increase, and the tourism industry is expected to have continuous rising numbers.

National debt

Slovenia's total national debt rose substantially during economic crisis 2009 - 2014 and is currently decreasing; at the end of 2018 amounted to 32,223 million euros, 70% of GDP.

Services and industry

Slovenia treemap
A graphical depiction of Slovenia's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.

Almost two-thirds of people are employed in services, and over one-third in industry and construction. Slovenia benefits from a well-educated workforce, well-developed infrastructure, and its location at the crossroads of major trade routes.

The level of foreign direct investment (FDI) per capita in Slovenia is one of the lowest in the EU, and the labor productivity and the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy is still significantly below the EU average. Taxes are relatively high, the labor market is seen by business interests as being inflexible, and industries are losing sales to China, India, and elsewhere.

High level of openness makes Slovenia extremely sensitive to economic conditions in its main trading partners and changes in its international price competitiveness. The main industries are motor vehicles, electric and electronic equipment, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and fuels. Examples of major Slovenian companies operating in Slovenia include the home appliance manufacturer Gorenje, the pharmaceutical companies Krka and Lek (Novartis' subsidiary), the oil distributing company Petrol Group, energy distribution company GEN-I and Revoz, a manufacturing subsidiary of Renault.

Energy

In 2018 electricity production was 12,262 GWh and consumption was 14,501 GWh. Hydroelectric plants produced 4,421 GWh, thermal plants produced 4,049 GWh, and nuclear plant in Krško produced 2,742 GWh (50% share that goes to Slovenia; other 50% goes to Croatia due to joint ownership). Domestic electricity consumption was covered 84,6 % by domestic production; percentage is decreasing from year to year meaning Slovenia is more and more depending on electricity import.

A new 600 MW block of Šoštanj thermal power plant finished construction and went online in the autumn of 2014. The new 39.5 MW HE Krško hydro power plant was finished in 2013. By 2018, the 41.5 MW HE Brežice and 30.5 MW HE Mokrice hydro power plants will be built on the Sava River. Construction of ten hydropower plants on the Sava River with a cumulative capacity of 338 MW is planned to be finished by 2030. A large pumped-storage hydro power plant Kozjak on the Drava River is in the planning stage.

At the end of 2018 at least 295 MWp of photovoltaic modules and 31,4 MW of biogas powerplants were installed. Compared to 2005, renewable energy sources contributed 3,4 percentage points more into whole energy consumption. There is interest to add more production in the area of solar and wind energy sources (subsidising schemes are increasing economic feasibility), but microlocation settlement procedures take enormous toll on efficiency of this intitiatve (nature preservation vs. energy production facilities dilemma).

Tourism

Postojna (22206343750)
Postojna Cave

Slovenia offers tourists a wide variety of natural and cultural amenities. Different forms of tourism have developed. The tourist gravitational area is considerably large, however the tourist market is small. There has been no large-scale tourism and no acute environmental pressures; in 2016, National Geographic Traveller's Magazine declared Slovenia as country with the world's most sustainable tourism.

Panoramics of Piran 2015
Old town of Piran on Slovenian coast

The nation's capital, Ljubljana, has many important Baroque and Vienna Secession buildings, with several important works of the native born architect Jože Plečnik and also his pupil, architect Edo Ravnikar.

At the northwestern corner of the country lie the Julian Alps with Lake Bled and the Soča Valley, as well as the nation's highest peak, Mount Triglav in the middle of Triglav National Park. Other mountain ranges include Kamnik–Savinja Alps, the Karawanks, and Pohorje, popular with skiers and hikers.

The Karst Plateau in the Slovene Littoral gave its name to karst, a landscape shaped by water dissolving the carbonate bedrock, forming caves. The best-known caves are Postojna Cave and the UNESCO-listed Škocjan Caves. The region of Slovenian Istria meets the Adriatic Sea, where the most important historical monument is the Venetian Gothic Mediterranean town of Piran while the settlement of Portorož attracts crowds in summer.

Bled Overview
Lake Bled with its island

The hills around Slovenia's second-largest town, Maribor, are renowned for their wine-making. The northeastern part of the country is rich with spas, with Rogaška Slatina, Radenci, Čatež ob Savi, Dobrna, and Moravske Toplice growing in importance in the last two decades.

Other popular tourist destinations include the historic cities of Ptuj and Škofja Loka, and several castles, such as Predjama Castle.

Important parts of tourism in Slovenia include congress and gambling tourism. Slovenia is the country with the highest percentage of casinos per 1,000 inhabitants in the European Union. Perla in Nova Gorica is the largest casino in the region.

Most of foreign tourists to Slovenia come from the key European markets: Italy, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Benelux, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine, followed by UK and Ireland. European tourists create more than 90% of Slovenia's tourist income. In 2016, Slovenia was declared the world's first green country by the Netherlands-based organization Green Destinations. On being declared the most sustainable country in 2016, Slovenia had a big part to play at the ITB Berlin to promote sustainable tourism.

Transport

Pendolino ETR 310
Pendolino tilting train

The location at the junction of major geographic units and the area being traversed by major rivers have been the reasons for the intersection of the main transport routes in Slovenia. Their course was established already in the Antiquity. A particular geographic advantage in recent times has been the location of the intersection of the Pan-European transport corridors V (the fastest link between the North Adriatic, and Central and Eastern Europe) and X (linking Central Europe with the Balkans) in the country. This gives it a special position in the European social, economic and cultural integration and restructuring.

Motorways-SLO-map 2018
Motorways in Slovenia in December 2018; capital Ljubljana lies in the intersection of north-south and west-east main directions

The road freight and passenger transport constitutes the largest part of transport in Slovenia at 80%. Personal cars are much more popular than public road passenger transport, which has significantly declined. Slovenia has a very high highway and motorway density compared to the European Union average. The highway system, the construction of which was accelerated after 1994, has slowly but steadily transformed Slovenia into a large conurbation. Other state roads have been rapidly deteriorating because of neglect and the overall increase in traffic.

The existing Slovenian railways are out-of-date and can't compete with the motorway network; partially also as a result of dispersed population settlement. Due to this fact and the projected increase in traffic through the port of Koper, which is primarily by train, a second rail on the Koper-Divača route is in early stages of starting construction. With a lack of financial assets, maintenance and modernisation of the Slovenian railway network have been neglected. Due to the out-of-date infrastructure, the share of the railway freight transport has been in decline in Slovenia. The railway passenger transport has been recovering after a large drop in the 1990s. The Pan-European railway corridors V and X, and several other major European rail lines intersect in Slovenia. All international transit trains in Slovenia drive through the Ljubljana Railway Hub.

Ljubljana airport 2017
The Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is the biggest international airport in the country

The major Slovenian port is the Port of Koper. It is the largest Northern Adriatic port in terms of container transport, with almost 590,000 TEUs annually and lines to all major world ports. It is much closer to destinations east of the Suez than the ports of Northern Europe. In addition, the maritime passenger traffic mostly takes place in Koper. Two smaller ports used for the international passenger transport as well as cargo transport are located in Izola and Piran. Passenger transport mainly takes place with Italy and Croatia. Splošna plovba, the only Slovenian shipping company, transports freight and is active only in foreign ports.

Air transport in Slovenia is quite low, but has significantly grown since 1991. Of the three international airports in Slovenia, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport in central Slovenia is the busiest, with connections to many major European destinations. The Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport is located in the eastern part of the country and the Portorož Airport in the western part. The state-owned Adria Airways is the largest Slovenian airline. Since 2003, several new carriers have entered the market, mainly low-cost airlines. The only Slovenian military airport is the Cerklje ob Krki Air Base in the southwestern part of the country. There are also 12 public airports in Slovenia.

Demographics

With 101 inhabitants per square kilometer (262/sq mi), Slovenia ranks low among the European countries in population density (compared to 402/km2 (1042/sq mi) for the Netherlands or 195/km2 (505/sq mi) for Italy). The Inner Carniola–Karst Statistical Region has the lowest population density while the Central Slovenia Statistical Region has the highest.

Culture

Ivan Grohar - Sejalec
The Sower (1907), by the Impressionist painter Ivan Grohar, became a metaphor for Slovenes and was a reflection of the transition from a rural to an urban culture.

Heritage

Slovenia's architectural heritage includes 2,500 churches, 1,000 castles, ruins, and manor houses, farmhouses, and special structures for drying hay, called hayracks (kozolci).

Three historic sites in Slovenia are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Škocjan Caves and its karst landscape are a protected site. The Idrija Mercury mining site is of world importance, as are the prehistoric pile dwellings in the Ljubljana Marshes.

The most picturesque church is the medieval and Baroque building on Bled Island. The castle above the lake is a museum and restaurant with a view. Near Postojna there is a fortress called Predjama Castle, half hidden in a cave. Museums in Ljubljana and elsewhere feature unique items such as the Divje Babe Flute and the oldest wheel in the world. Ljubljana has medieval, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and modern architecture. The architect Plečnik's architecture and his innovative paths and bridges along the Ljubljanica are notable.

Cuisine

Velika noč - jedila hren šunka pirhi potica
Potica as part of traditional Slovenian Easter breakfast

Slovenian cuisine is a mixture of Central European cuisine (especially Austrian and Hungarian), Mediterranean cuisine and Balkan cuisine. Historically, Slovenian cuisine was divided into town, farmhouse, cottage, castle, parsonage and monastic cuisines. Due to the variety of Slovenian cultural and natural landscapes, there are more than 40 distinct regional cuisines.

Ethnologically, the most characteristic Slovene dishes were one-pot dishes, such as ričet, Istrian stew (jota), minestrone (mineštra), and žganci buckwheat spoonbread; in the Prekmurje region there is also bujta repa, and prekmurska gibanica pastry. Pršut prosciutto is known as (pršut) in the Slovene Littoral. The nut roll (potica) has become a symbol of Slovenia, especially among the Slovene diaspora in the United States. Soups were added to the traditional one-pot meals and various kinds of porridge and stew only in relatively recent history.

Each year since 2000, the Festival of Roasted Potatoes has been organized by the Society for the Recognition of Roasted Potatoes as a Distinct Dish, attracting thousands of visitors. Roasted potatoes, which have been traditionally served in most Slovenian families only on Sundays—preceded by a meat-based soup, such as beef or chicken soup—have been depicted on a special edition of post marks by the Post of Slovenia on 23 November 2012. The best known sausage is kranjska klobasa.

Festivals, book fairs, and other events

A number of music, theater, film, book, and children's festivals take place in Slovenia each year, including the music festivals Ljubljana Summer Festival and Lent Festival, the stand up comedy Punch Festival, the children's Pippi Longstocking Festival, and the book festivals Slovene book fair and Frankfurt after the Frankfurt.

The most notable music festival of Slovene music was historically the Slovenska popevka festival. Between 1981 and 2000 the Novi Rock festival was notable for bringing rock music across Iron curtain from the West to the Slovenian and then Yugoslav audience. The long tradition of jazz festivals in Titoist Yugoslavia began with the Ljubljana Jazz Festival which has beem held annually in Slovenia since 1960.

Notable people

Related pages

Images for kids


Slovenia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.