Slovenia is a hospitable south central European country that surprises its visitors with the abundance of tradition and culture. Surrounded by Austria, Hungary, Italy, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, the country has innumerable natural and historical points of interest in its backyards. Slovenia emerged as an independent nation after it broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991. Keeping this in mind we can say that it is one of the new members of the European continent. Ljubljana is the capital of the country while other prominent ones are Maribor and Kranj. Koper is Slovenia's only seaport and serves the same purpose for neighbouring Austria too.
Slovenia is largely a mountainous republic with almost half of the land being forested. The mainland of the country is spattered with terrains, mountains, hills, plateaux, karst limestone regions and a strip of Adriatic coastline. Slovenia's major rivers include the Drava, Sava and Mura. Historically, Slovenia is a treasure trove of heritage due to its location at the cultural crossroads of the oriental and western ideologies. Slovenia has always been a place of high artistic achievements that are evident in Bled Castle, Predjama Castle, Ptuj Castle and the medieval towns of Izola, Koper and Piran.
Politically, Slovenia is a democratic republic with a constitution to be adhered by. Right from the days of the ancient Celtic tribes, the country has moved forward to emerge as a modern economy. While ethnic Slovenians comprise majority of the population of the country, the minority communities of Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks also take a better slice out of the total count. A small conglomeration of Hungarian and Italian minorities is visible too. Most of the Slovenians practise Roman Catholicism.
Church on lake Bled
Slovenia is a land of vivid contrast. It lies at the heart of Europe and is bordered by Austria in the north, Hungary in the northeast, in the southeast by Croatia, and in the west by Italy. A small strip of seacoast of the Adriatic rests on the southwest. The terrain of Slovenia is marked by the wonder where the Alps and the Mediterranean meet the Pannonian plains and the mysterious limestone Karst. Most of Slovenia is situated in the Karst plateau and in the Julian Alps, and the other half is hidden in the wilderness of dense forests. Out of the total area of 20,273 sq km, forests cover half the territory, as much as 10,124 sq. km and this makes Slovenia one of the most forested countries in Europe.
The topographical torso of Slovenia can be divided into four broad categories like the Alps, the Dinaric area, the Pannonian plain and the Mediterranean, according to features and climatic conditions. The coastline is only 46.6 km long, but there is 26,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, some 7,500 springs of drinking water, including several hundred of first class therapeutic mineral springs. Mount Triglav, the highest peak of Slovenia rises to 9,393 ft (2,864 m). Slovenia's landscape gets its variety with lakes such as Bled and Bohinj, rivers, waterfalls, orchards, vineyards, mountains and limestone caves. Some of the forests still have evidence of the primeval remains. The Triglav National Park is one of Europe's largest parks and Strunjan Landscape Park is home to some rare species of animals and birds.
Most of Slovenia has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. But you can feel the warmth of Mediterranean weather along the Adriatic coast. The frosty Alpine climatic conditions are experienced in the mountains. Overall the valleys experience a mild to hot summers and cold winters varying from year to year. The average temperatures fluctuate from -2°C in the colder month of January to 21°C in the hotter 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.
Slovenia appeared in pages of history as an independent nation at the end of the twentieth century. But the country began its journey from the days of the Illyrian and Celtic peoples. The Roman Empire took hold of the nation in the first century B.C. Slovenia credits its identity to the ancient Slovenes who were a south Slavic group that settled in the region in the 6th century A.D. During the 7th century, the Slavs established the Slavic state of Samu, and continued to rule the region till defeated by Charlemagne. The waves of Christianity washed the country in succeeding years.
The reigns changed hands again after 1526, when to escape the Turkish rule, Hungary accepted the Austrian Hapsburg domination. Slovenia remained attached to the Hapsburg Empire of Austria for decades and most of the regions of present-day Slovenia was part of this united under this rule. But the first formal and political move for a United Slovenia came about in 1848 with the implementation of the “Spring of Nations”. The following decades were marked with unrest and economic problems in the 1860s that led to large scale migration in Slovenia to other countries.
The united regions of Slovenia and Croatia became part of the Austro-Hungarian kingdom when the dual monarchy was established in 1867. This unification existed till the First World War when the Austria-Hungary coalition was defeated and eventually, collapsed. In 1918 Slovenia declared independence. It later became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which transformed to known "Yugoslavia" in 1929.
During the Second World War, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers under the German leadership. The regions of Slovenia were divided between Hungary, Italy and Germany. Slovenia joined the Partisan Resistance led by Josip Broz "Tito", a leader of the Yugoslav Communist Party. After Germany's defeat in 1945, Yugoslavia became the Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia, a communist nation.
But Slovenians longed for their own land and authority. So, from 1980s, there was a movement for Slovenia's independence. Finally, the communism ended in Slovenia after democratic elections in 1990 and Slovenia officially declared independence on 25 June 1991. But the Yugoslav Army didn’t take it very well and responded with military action against Slovenia. It was short-lived ten-day long war and the Yugoslav Army left Slovenia soon. Slovenia joined the EU and NATO in 2004.
Church and old city of Ptuj
Slovenia’s economy is a new entrant in the world economy but has already managed to acquire an impressive standing. With recognition of its independence granted by the European Community in 1992, the country began restructuring its economy and society toward Western Europe. The GDP/PPP of the country stands at $39.41 billion with a per capita of $19,600. These figures were not among the wealthiest ones, but the nation shed its borrower’s status and became a contributor to World Bank.
After the break up of Yugoslavia and the following warfare that devastated the Slovenia, the economy grew around tourism that gave a boost to the financial backbone of the country. Liberal policies of the government have helped in to build a free system that invites foreign investment and depletes rising inflation rates.
Although farming and livestock rising are the chief occupations, with grains, potatoes, and fruit the main crops, Slovenia is the most industrialised and urbanised of all the former Yugoslav republics. Iron, steel, aluminum, machine tools, motor vehicles, cement, chemicals, textiles, and leather, as well as light engineering and some electronics, are the main industries. There are mineral resources of oil, coal, and mercury. The country's chief trading partners are Germany, Italy, and Croatia. Slovenia is a member of the European Union.
Overview of Ljubljana Centre
Slovenia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a constitution. The executive consists of an elected president, aided by a council of ministers, and a prime minister. The president is considered the head of state. He is a representative of the general Slovenians who elect him through popular vote for five years. The prime minister and the council of ministers or cabinet heads the executive branch. They are elected by the parliament.
The bicameral legislature of Slovenia is known as the Skupšcina Slovenije or the Slovenian Assembly. The parliament consist of a 90-member Državni Zbor or the State Chamber and a 40-member, advisory Državni Svet or the State Council. The members of the State council are people from different walks of life belonging to different social, economic, professional and local interest groups. The State Chamber members are elected for five year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 136 municipalities and 11 urban municipalities.