Presentation SLOVENIA

Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of coastline along the Adriatic Sea. It covers an area of 20,273 square kilometres (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.05 million. The capital and largest city is Ljubljana.

Historically, the current territory of Slovenia was part of many different state formations, including the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1918, the Slovenes exercised self-determination for the first time by co-founding the internationally unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. During World War II, Slovenia was occupied and annexed by Germany, Italy, Hungary and Croatia only to emerge afterwards reunified with its western part as a founding member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Slovenia declared full sovereignty. Today, Slovenia is a member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the Schengen area, NATO and OECD. Per capita, it is the richest Slavic nation-state, at 85.5% of the EU27 average GDP (PPP) per capita.

Culturally and demographically, Slovenia has been a border area throughout its history. Here, four linguistic and cultural groups of the continent have been meeting: Slavic, Germanic, Romance and Uralic. The population of Slovenia has become more diverse in regard to its language and ethnic composition through recent decades but is still relatively homogeneous. Approximately 83% of inhabitants considered themselves Slovenes in the 2002 census. Another major group are immigrants from the countries of Former Yugoslavia.

Slovenia is a largely secularised country; however, major religions are politically and legally privileged. Roman Catholicism is the most prevalent religion. The development of the Slovenian identity was also markedly influenced by Protestantism in the centuries past.



Area: Total 20,273 km2 (153rd) 7,827 sq mi

Water: (%) 0.7

Population 2010 estimate: 2,048,951 (145th);  2002 census 1,964,036

Density: 101/km2 (106th) 262/sq mi

Capital (and largest city): Ljubljana

Official language(s): Slovene

Recognised regional languages: Hungarian, Italian

Ethnic groups (2002): 83.1% Slovenes, 2.0% Serbs, 1.8% Croats, 1.1% Bosniaks, 12.0% others and unspecified

Government: Parliamentary republic

President: Danilo Türk

Prime Minister: Borut Pahor


– From Austro-Hungarian Empire

– forming State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs 29 October 1918

– From Yugoslavia 25 June 1991

GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate: Total $56.314 billion

Per capita: $28.030 (32)

GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate: Total $46.442 billion

Per capita: $23,009

Currency: Euro () (EUR)


Green facts

… that Slovenia is among the most biologically diverse countries in the world? Slovenia accounts for less than 0.004% of the Earth’s surface but is home to more than 1% of all living creatures and 2% of terrestrial creatures. A total of 24,000 animal species.

… that Slovenia is the third most forested country in Europe? Almost 60% of its territory is covered by forest. In recent decades, the proportion of forest has been increasing, since every year we plant over 1,200,000 trees.

… that over one third of Slovenia’s territory is protected and included in the Europe-wide Natura 2000 network, which protects biodiversity?

… that 4,000 years ago the Ljubljansko Barje Nature Park was a lake and that pile-dwellers lived on it? Thanks to its conserved natural environment, it is today famous as an internationally important bird sanctuary. Over a hundred species of birds nest here, and over a hundred species visit the area during migration or in order to overwinter.

… that the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park is the only Slovenian wetland area on the UNESCO list of wetlands of international importance? Today only a small section of the saltworks, which are more than 700 years old, is still used to make salt, but in the abandoned areas we find a treasury of plant and animal life, including the Etruscan shrew, the smallest mammal in the world!

… that Slovenia has one of the largest brown bear populations in Europe? Between 500 and 700 bears, it is believed.

… that Slovenia is one of the richest countries in Europe in terms of water? It has almost 27,000 kilometres of rivers, streams and other watercourses. It also has numerous thermal and mineral springs and many subterranean waters.

… that Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city, is home to the oldest vine in the world? Although it is over four hundred years old, its Žametna Črnina grapes still produce 25 litres of wine every year.

… that the linden or linden leaf is an important symbol of Sloveneness? The Najevnik Linden in Koroška is said to be over 780 years old. Each August, for the last 20 years, the country’s leading political figures have gathered at the tree.



Endless variety

One of the first things you notice on arriving in Slovenia is the extraordinary variety and diversity of landscapes. Driving across Slovenia creates the impression that in a very short space of time you have driven across several countries.

In this small piece of Europe, bountiful Nature has combined and interwoven a whole range of diverse landscapes. Mighty Alpine peaks with sheer faces, deep karst caves and potholes, softly rounded hills and vast plains: Slovenia has all of these. There are also beautiful lakes and bubbling brooks, the silence of forests and the crashing waves of the sea.

In slightly more geographical terms, this means that Slovenia lies at the junction of the Alpine, Mediterranean, Pannonian and Dinaric worlds, all of which have left their mark on its landscape.

Green areas

In Slovenia the predominant colour is green. Forests cover almost 60% of the territory, and there are even remnants of virgin forest in the south of the country. The sunny slopes of many hills in the winegrowing districts are planted with vines. Meadows can still be found in the valleys, although most fertile areas are used for agriculture.
Mountains and highlands…
Most of Slovenia is mountainous or hilly, particularly its northern part along the border with Austria. Running from east to west are the Julian Alps, the Karavanke range and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Slovenia’s highest peak, Triglav, is in the Julian Alps, while the foothills of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps are just half an hour’s drive from the capital, Ljubljana. All the mountain groups include peaks over 2,000 metres high. Further to the east lies the mighty Pohorje, a highland area reaching heights of around 1,500 metres.

Hills also occupy large areas to the west and south of Ljubljana.

… coast and hills…
Slovenia’s coast is short but full of variety. There you will find the internationally famous Sečovlje saltworks and beautifully preserved medieval towns such as Piran. The hinterland is dominated by the hills of Slovenian Istria. There are also many hills in south-eastern and eastern Slovenia, in the winegrowing areas.

… valleys…
A significant part of Slovenia’s surface is taken up by plains, basins, valleys and karst poljes. Most of the flat areas are in the north-east of the country, where the Pannonian Plain begins. Ljubljana and its environs lie in the largest basin. The Celje basin is also sizeable.

… and the underworld
Slovenia is remarkable even below the surface. In its karst areas there are thousands of karst caves.


Protected areas
Over a third of the territory of Slovenia is protected. The largest part of it falls into the Europe-wide Natura 2000 network, which aims to protect biological diversity. Protected areas also include numerous nature parks and Slovenia’s only national park – the Triglav National Park.

Slovenia’s landscape diversity is given an additional stamp by a wealth of water resources. Slovenia is one of the richest countries in Europe in terms of water. Many streams, rivers and lakes are still entirely free from pollution.

Endless choice

All these natural riches mean that Slovenia offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities. In the morning you could be skiing in a mountain ski resort, the afternoon could find you strolling along the shore of the Adriatic Sea or pampering yourself in a spa in the east of Slovenia, while in the evening you could be attending a cultural event at the other end of the country. In the midst of this busy schedule, time can nevertheless still be found for gastronomic pleasures.

Such examples of a day spent in Slovenia are not merely theoretical: you will meet lots of people who actually do this. You can get from the coastal town of Koper to Jesenice in the north of the country in under two hours. From Koper to Murska Sobota in the far north-east of the country, it will take you roughly three hours by car.

Special features of Slovenia

… that Slovenia is one of the countries with the largest number of religious buildings per capita in Europe? There are almost 3,000 churches, chapels and religious monuments around Slovenia.

… that the double hay rack or toplar is unique to Slovenia? Hay racks, structures used for drying and storing hay and other agricultural produce, are more widespread in Slovenia than anywhere else in the world.

… that Slovenia’s world-famous Lipica stud farm, celebrated for its aristocratic Lipizzaners, has been operating uninterruptedly since its foundation in 1580? The adult Lipizzaner is notable for its white colour and its remarkable learning ability.

… that the geographical and climatic variety and diversity of Slovenia mean that in a single day you can pick autumn fruits in the morning, bathe in the Adriatic in the afternoon, and go night skiing in the evening?

… that Slovenia’s Karst Plateau has given its name to karst landscapes and karst phenomena all over the world? It was in the Karst that experts first explained numerous karst features such as underground caves, dolines and ponors.

… that Slovenia has the tallest cliff on the Adriatic coast? In the Strunjan Peninsula, an almost vertical flysch wall rises up from the sea to a height of 80 metres.

… that Lake Cerknica is an intermittent lake? In spring and autumn, when the lake fills with water, its surface area can reach as much as 38 km2, making it the largest lake in Slovenia, while in summer it is significantly smaller, because its water is drained away by numerous swallowholes.

… that at carnival time in Cerknica the Simpletons take over the local government? The literary creations of the writer Fran Milčinski are famous for having taken leave of their senses long ago. At carnival time they come to life and lead this famous carnival with their legendary ‘wisdom’.

.. that the most famous Slovene carnival figure is the Kurent? The presence of this traditional figure drives away winter and brings good fortune. Kurents can be seen driving away the winter at the main carnival procession in Ptuj.

… that a traditional Slovene dish for special occasions is a type of cake called potica? This has recently become one of the more recognisable symbols of Slovenia at a wide variety of international political, cultural and sporting events.