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Republika Slovenija
Flag of Slovenia Coat of arms of Slovenia
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: None
Anthem: Zdravljica
Location of Slovenia
Capital Ljubljana
46°03′ N 14°30′ E
Largest city Ljubljana
Official language(s) Slovenian, Italian1, Hungarian1
Prime Minister
Parliamentary republic
Janez Drnovšek
Janez Janša
• Declared
• Recognized
From Yugoslavia
June 25, 1991
• Total

• Water (%)

20,273 km² ( 151st)
{{{areami²}}} mi²

• 2005 est.
• 2002 census

• Density

2,001,114 ( 142nd)

96/km² ( 100th)
• Total
• Per capita
2006 estimate
.26 billion ( 82nd)
,102 ( 33rd)
HDI ( 2003) 0.904 ( 26th) – high
Currency Slovenski tolar ( SIT)
Time zone
• Summer ( DST)
CET ( UTC+1)
Internet TLD .si
Calling code +386
1 In the residential municipalities of Italian or Hungarian national community.
The Republic of Slovenia ( Slovenian: Republika Slovenija) is a coastal Alpine country in southern 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: Austria-Hungary until 1918, State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929) between the World Wars, SFR 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.

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History - Contents

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 proto-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 a Slovenian dialect 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, Carinthia 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 initially formed part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, which shortly joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed (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.

Politics - Contents

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 (two seats reserved for autochthonous Hungarian and Italian minorities). The National Council has 40 seats, and is made up of representatives of social, economic, professional and local interest groups. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, while National Council members are elected indirectly every 5 years.

Regions - Contents

Historical Regions
Slovenia is traditionally divided into eight regions.
Slovenia is traditionally divided into eight regions.
As given by Enciklopedija Slovenije (Encyclopedia of Slovenia), traditional Slovenian regions, based on the former division of Slovenia into four Habsburg crown lands ( Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, and the Littoral) and their parts, are:
  • Upper Carniola (Gorenjska) (denoted on the map by U.C.)
  • Styria (Štajerska) (S)
  • Transmuraland (Prekmurje) (T)
  • Carinthia (Koroška) (C)
  • Inner Carniola (Notranjska) (I.C.)
  • Lower Carniola (Dolenjska) (L.C.)
  • Goriška (G)
  • Slovenian Istria (Slovenska Istra) (L)
The last two are usually considered together as the Littoral Region (Primorska). White Carniola (Bela krajina), otherwise part of Lower Carniola, is usually considered a separate region, as is Zasavje, which is otherwise a part of Upper and Lower Carniola and Styria.

Natural Regions
The first regionalizations of Slovenia were made by geographers Anton Melik (1935-1936) and Svetozar Ilešič (1968). The newer regionalization by Ivan Gams divides Slovenia in the following macroregions:
  • the Alps (visokogorske Alpe)
  • the Prealpine Hills (predalpsko hribovje)
  • the Ljubljana basin (Ljubljanska kotlina)
  • Submediterranean ( Littoral) Slovenia (submediteranska - primorska Slovenija)
  • the dinaric Karst of inner Slovenia (dinarski kras notranje Slovenije)
  • Subpannonian Slovenia (subpanononska Slovenija)
According to a newer natural geographic regionalization, the country consists of four macroregions. These are the Alpine world, the Mediterranean world, the Dinaric world and the Pannonian world. Macroregions are defined according to major relief units (the Alps, the Pannonian plain, the Dinaric mountains) and climate types (continental, alpine, mediterranean). These are often quite interwoven.Macroregions consist of multiple and very diverse mesoregions. The main factor that defines them is the relief together with the geologic composition. Mesoregions in turn consist of numerous microregions.

Administrative Regions
As of May 2005, only statistical regions exist, and, as their name suggests, are only used for statistical purposes. There are 12 of these regions.
Map of the 12 statistical regions of Slovenia.
Map of the 12 statistical regions of Slovenia.
The Statistical regions are:
  1. Pomurska
  2. Podravska
  3. Koroška
  4. Savinjska
  5. Zasavska
  6. Spodnjeposavska
  7. Jugovzhodna Slovenija
  8. Osrednjeslovenska
  9. Gorenjska
  10. Notranjsko-kraška
  11. Goriška
  12. Obalno-kraška
The Government, however, is preparing a plan for new administrative regions. The number of these regions is not yet defined, but is said to be around 12 to 14. The plan will, after being publicly unveiled, need to undergo parliamentary debate, and it is expected that constitution changes will be needed before the regionalization can come into effect. If the scenario of 12 administrative regions is selected, the regions will most likely be the same as the current Statistical regions.

Municipalities - Contents

Slovenia is divided into 193 municipalities (občine, singular - občina), of which 11 have urban status.

Geography - Contents

Map of Slovenia
Map of Slovenia
Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian plain, 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 Submediterranean 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.

Economy - Contents

Slovenia is a high-income economy which enjoys the highest GDP per capita (US,102 in 2006) of the newly joined EU countries. The country's relatively high rate of inflation (3.6% in 2004) declined to 2.5% in 2005 and is now comparable to the average in the European Union. Slovenia's economy grew impressively in 2004, by 4.2%, after relatively slow growth in 2003 (2.7%). Overall, the country is on a sound economic footing.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.The Slovenian government currently intends to adopt the euro as the country's currency from 1 January 2007.

Demographics - Contents

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.By religion, Slovenians have traditionally been largely Roman Catholic.

Culture - Contents

Slovenia's first book was printed by the protestant reformer Primož Trubar (1508-1586). It was actually two books, Catechismus (a catechism) and Abecedarium, which was published in 1550 in Tübingen, Germany.The central part of the country, namely Carniola (which existed as a part of Austria-Hungary until the early 20th century) was ethnographically and historically well described in the book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola ( German Die Ehre des Herzogthums Crain, Slovenian Slava vojvodine Kranjske), published in 1689 by baron Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693).Slovenia's two greatest writers 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), who greatly influenced Central European classical music. In the 20th century, Bojan Adamič was a renowned film music composer.Contemporary popular musicians have been Slavko Avsenik, Laibach, Vlado Kreslin, Zoran Predin, Pero Lovšin, New Swing Quartet, DJ Umek, Valentino Kanzyani, Siddharta, Magnifico, recently also Atomik Harmonik and others.Slovenia's learned men include physicist Jožef Stefan, linguist Franc Miklošič and mathematician Jurij Vega.

Biodiversity - Contents

Although Slovenia is a small country, different influences interact there. The Alps are in the north (namely, Julian Alps, Karavanke, Kamnik Alps), the Dinarides lie in the south, and there is also a small part of Pannonian plain and a Littoral Region. It also has Karst - a very rich underground world. Diverse flora and fauna are found there.As mentioned above, half of the country (53%) is covered by forest. Forests are an important natural resource, but their true value lies in this 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 interior there are typical Central European forests ( oak and beech, in the mountains spruce, fir and pine). The tree-line is at 1700-1800 m.Pine grows also on the Karst plateau. The Karst and White Carniola are well known for the mysterious proteus. Only one third of Kras is now covered by pine forest. It is said that most was cut long ago to make wooden pylons on which the city of Venice now stands. The lime (linden) tree, another common inhabitant of Slovenian forests, is also a national symbol. The national proverb says: "A true Slovenian must raise a child, write a book and plant a tree."In the Alps, the most beautiful flowers are spurge laurel ( Daphne blagayana), different gentians ( Clusius' gentian - Gentiana clusii, Froelich's gentian - Gentiana froelichi), avrikelj or lepi jeglič ( Primula auricula), edelweiss ( Leontopodium alpinum, the symbol of Slovenian mountaineering), lepi čeveljc ( Cypripedium calceolus), Močvirska logarica or marsh tulip ( Fritillaria meleagris), velikonočnica ( Pulsatilla grandis).Fauna include marmot (introduced), steinbocks, and chamois. There are numerous deer, roe deer, boar and hares. The loir or fat dormouse is often found in Slovenian beech forests. Hunting these animals is a long tradition and is well described in the book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Slava Vojvodine Kranjske) (1689), written by Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693). Some important carnivores include the Eurasian lynx (reintroduced to Kočevje area in 1973), European wild cat, fox (especially the red fox), and jackal. There are also hedgehogs, and different species of marten, snakes (viper, grass snake, etc.). As of March 2005, Slovenia also has a limited population of wolves and about 400 brown bears.There is a variety of birds: the tawny owl, long-eared owl and Eagle Owl, hawks, Short-toed Eagle and other birds of prey, but also other birds such as the woodpecker (black and green woodpecker). The white stork nests in Prekmurje.The autochthonous fish Soča trout is found in Slovenia. There are dolphins in the Adriatic Sea, but also whales can appear here, although very rarely.Domestic animals originating in Slovenia include the Carniolan honeybee, the autochthonous Karst Sheepdog and the Lipizzan horse breed.
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