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Slovenia

Slovenia (, ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (, ), is the westernmost and the northernmost of the former Yugoslav Republics[1] and per capita the richest[2] Slavic nation state.[3] It is situated in South-Central Europe,[3] at the crossroad of main European cultural and trade routes.[4][5] It borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Hungary to the northeast.[6] It covers and has a population of 2.05 million.[7] It is a parliamentary republic,[8] member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the Schengen area, NATO, and OECD.[9] Relative to its geography, history, economy, culture, and language, it is a very diverse country distinguished by a transitional character.[10] Its capital and largest city is Ljubljana.[11]

The territory of Slovenia is mainly hilly or mountainous[12] and characterised by exceptionally high landscape[13] and biological[14][15] diversity and a mosaic structure, which are a result of natural attributes and the long-lasting presence of humans.[16] Four major European geographic units interweave here: the Alps, the Dinaric Alps, the Mediterranean, with a small portion of coastline along the Adriatic Sea, and the Pannonian Plain.[12][17] The climate is temperate and significantly influenced by the variety of territory, with a strong interaction of the continental climate, the sub-Mediterranean climate and Alpine climate across most of the country.[18] The country is one of the water-richest in Europe,[19] with a dense river network, a rich aquifer system, and significant karstic underground watercourses.[20] Over half of the territory is covered by forest.[21]

The settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven.[22] The Slavic, Germanic, Romance and Uralic linguistic and cultural groups have been meeting here.[23][24][25] The dominant population is Slovene, but it has almost never been homogenous.[26] Slovene is the only official language throughout the country, whereas Italian and Hungarian are regional minority languages. Roman Catholicism as well as Lutheranism have markedly influenced the formation of the Slovenian culture and identity.[27] Nowadays, Slovenia is a largely secularised country.[28] The economy of Slovenia is small, open, export-oriented[29] and subsequently, heavily influenced by international circumstances.[30] With its diversity of landscapes,[31] Slovenia is a natural sports venue, with many Slovenians actively practicing sport[31] and reaching top successes particularly in winter sports, water sports, mountaineering, and endurance sports.[32]

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, which merged into Yugoslavia. During World War II, Slovenia was occupied and annexed by Germany, Italy, and Hungary only to emerge afterwards as a founding member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1991, after the introduction of multi-party representative democracy, Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia. In 2004, it entered NATO and the European Union,[33] and in 2007 it was the first former Communist country to join the Eurozone.[34]

Contents


History

Prehistory to Slavic settlement

Illyrian]] origin, in Krkav e, Slovenian Istria

Slovene territory was inhabited in prehistoric times and there is evidence of human habitation around 250,000 years ago. A pierced cave bear bone, possibly the oldest known musical instrument in the world, has been discovered in Divje Babe cave near Cerkno, dating from the W rm glacial age when the area was inhabited by Neanderthals.[35] In the Ljubljana Marshes, the remains of pile dwellings, which existed in the region for over 4,500 years, from 5000 to 500 BC, now protected as UNESCO World Heritage Site, have been discovered,[36] as well as the oldest wooden wheel in the world, dated to between 5,100 and 5,350 years ago.[37] In the transition period between the Bronze age to the Iron age, the Urnfield culture flourished. Numerous archeological remains dating from the Hallstatt period have been found in Slovenia. Novo Mesto, one of the most important archeological sites of the Hallstatt culture, has been nicknamed the "Town of Situlas" after numerous situlas found in the area.[38]

In the Iron Age, present-day Slovenia was inhabited by Illyrian and Celtic tribes until the 1st century BC, when the Romans conquered the region establishing the provinces of Pannonia and Noricum. What is now western Slovenia was included directly under Roman Italia as part of the X region Venetia et Histria. 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 exposed to invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes during their incursions into Italy. After the departure of the last Germanic tribe the Lombards to Italy in 568, the Slavs from the East began to dominate the area. After the successful resistance against the nomadic Asian Avars (from 623 to 626), the Slavic people united with King Samo s tribal confederation. The confederation fell apart in 658 and the Slavic people, located in present-day Carinthia, formed the independent duchy of Carantania.[39]

The Middle Ages to Early Modern Period

Slovene]] 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 Christianized from Aquileia. Following the anti-Frankish rebellion of Ljudevit Posavski 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.

Slovene]]. The Magyar invasion of the Pannonian Plain in the late 9th century effectively isolated the Slovene-inhabited territory from western Slavs. Thus, the Slavs of Carantania and of Carniola began developing into an independent Slovene ethnic group. 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. In the late Middle Ages the historic provinces of Carniola, Styria, Carinthia, Gorizia, Trieste and Istria developed from the border regions and 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 century being 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.[39]

In the 14th century, most of the territory of Slovenia was taken over by the Habsburgs. The counts of Celje, a feudal family from this area who in 1436 acquired the title of state princes, were their 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.

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 and in 1572-3 the Croatian-Slovenian peasant revolt wrought havoc throughout the wider region. Uprisings, which often met with bloody defeats, continued throughout the 17th century.[39]

Reformation and emergence of national identity

Protestant preacher Primo Trubar, author of the first book in Slovene The first mentions of a common Slovene ethnic identity, transcending regional boundaries, date from the 16th century,[40] when the Protestant Reformation spread throughout the Slovene Lands. During this period, the first books in Slovene were written by the Protestant preacher Primo Trubar and his followers, establishing the base for the development of standard Slovene. In the second half of the 16th century, numerous books were printed in Slovene, including an integral translation of the Bible by Jurij Dalmatin.

At the beginning of the 17th century, Protestantism was suppressed by the Habsburg-sponsored Counter Reformation, which introduced the new aesthetics of Baroque culture. The Enlightenment in the Habsburg monarchy brought significant social and cultural progress to the Slovene people. It hastened economic development and facilitated the appearance of a middle class. Under the reign of Maria Theresa and Emperor Joseph II (1765 1790) many reforms were undertaken in the administration and society, including land reforms, the modernization of the Church and compulsory primary education in Slovene (1774). The start of cultural-linguistic activities by Slovene intellectuals of the time brought about a national revival and the birth of the Slovene nation in the modern sense of the word. Before the Napoleonic Wars, some secular literature in Slovene emerged. During the same period, the first history of the Slovene Lands as an ethnic unity was written by Anton Toma Linhart, while Jernej Kopitar compiled the first comprehensive grammar of Slovene.[39]

Peter Kozler's map of the Slovene Lands, designed during the Spring of Nations in 1848, became the symbol of the quest for a United Slovenia.

Between 1809 and 1813, Slovenia was part of the Illyrian Provinces, an autonomous province of the Napoleonic French Empire, with Ljubljana as the capital. Although the French rule was short-lived, it significantly contributed to the raise of national consciousness and political awareness of the Slovenes. After the fall of Napoleon, all Slovene Lands were once again included in the Austrian Empire. Gradually, a distinct Slovene national consciousness developed, and the quest for a political unification of all Slovenes became widespread. In the 1820s and 1840s, the interest in Slovene language and folklore grew enormously, with numerous philologists advancing the first steps towards a standardization of the language. Illyrian movement, Pan-Slavic and Austro-Slavic ideas gained importance. However, the intellectual circle around the philologist Matija op and the Romantic poet France Pre eren was influential in affirming the idea of Slovene linguistic and cultural individuality, refusing the idea of merging the Slovenes into a wider Slavic nation.

In 1848, a mass political and popular movement for the United Slovenia () emerged as part of the Spring of Nations movement within the Austrian Empire. Slovene activists demanded a unification of all Slovene-speaking territories in a unified and autonomous Slovene kingdom within the Austrian Empire. Although the project failed, it served as an almost undisputed platform of Slovene political activity in the following decades. In 1867, Slovene nationalist representatives gained a majority of votes in the Carniolan provincial elections. In the same year, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was established by splitting the Austrian Empire into two parts. Most of the territory of present-day Slovenia remained in the Austrian part of the monarchy, while Prekmurje was included in the Hungarian part. By the end of the 19th century industry had developed considerably in Slovenia and the population had become as socially differentiated as in other European nations.

At the turn of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of Slovenes emigrated to other countries, mostly to the United States, but also to South America, Germany, Egypt, and to larger cities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, especially Zagreb and Vienna. It has been calculated that around 300,000 Slovenes emigrated between 1880 and 1910, which means that one in six Slovenes left their homeland.

World War I

The village of Ren e in the lower Vipava Valley, severely damaged during the Battles of the Isonzo World War I resulted in heavy casualties for Slovenes, particularly on the twelve Battles of the Isonzo, which took place in what is nowadays Slovenia's western border area. Hundreds of thousands of Slovene conscripts were drafted in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and over 30,000 of them lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands of Slovenes from Gorizia and Gradisca were resettled in refugee camps in Italy and Austria. While the refugees in Austria received a decent treatment, the Slovene refugees in Italian camps were treated as state enemies, and several thousands died of malnutrition and diseases between 1915 and 1918.[41] Entire areas of the Slovenian Littoral were destroyed.

In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia

The proclamation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs at Congress Square in Ljubljana on 20 October 1918 The Slovene People's Party 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.[42] This proposal was rejected by the Austrian political elites, but following the dissolution of Austro-Hungarian Empire in the aftermath of the First World War, a 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.

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, itself being renamed in 1929 to Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The main territory of Slovenia, being the most industrialized and westernized among others less developed parts of Yugoslavia became the main center of industrial production: in comparison to Serbia, for example, in Slovenia the industrial production was four times greater and even twenty-two times greater than in Yugoslav Macedonia. The interwar period brought a further industrialization in Slovenia, with a rapid economic growth in the 1920s followed by a relatively successful economic adjustment to the 1929 economic crisis.

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

Slovenes whose territory fell under the rule of neighboring states Italy, Austria and Hungary, were subjected to policies of forced assimilation and in case of Fascist Italy violent Fascist Italianization.

Fascist Italianization of Littoral Slovenes and resistance

Fascist squads]] in June 1920, became the symbol of Fascist Italianization. The Slovenes living under territories annexed to Italy in 1920 (Slovenian Littoral) lacked any minorirty protection under international or domestic law.[43] Clashes between the local Slovene population on one side and the Italian authorities and Fascist squads on the other started already in 1920, culminating with the burning of the Narodni dom, the Slovenian National Hall of Trieste. After the Fascist takeover in 1922, a policy of violent Fascist Italianization followed, seeking to eradicate the Slovene middle class and the intelligentsia. Education in Slovene was abolished in 1923, Slovene surnames and personal names were Italianized between 1926 and 1932. By 1927, all Slovene associations were banned and all public use of Slovene was prohibited. Police violence was carried out against opponents of the Fascist regime. By the mid 1930s, around 70.000 Slovenes had fled the region, mostly to Yugoslavia and South America.

After the complete destruction of all Slovene minority organizations in Italy, the militant anti-fascist organizations TIGR was formed in 1927 in order to fight Fascist violence. Acts of anti-Fascist guerrilla continued throughout the late 1920s and 1930s.

World War II: Resistance, Civil War and Post-War Executions

The Triglav cap was the most characteristic part of the Slovene Partisans uniform. On 6 April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis Powers. Slovenia was divided among the occupying powers: Fascist Italy occupied southern Slovenia and Ljubljana, Nazi Germany got northern and eastern Slovenia, while Horthy's Hungary was awarded the Prekmurje region. Some villages in Lower Carniola were annexed by the Independent State of Croatia.

The Nazis started a policy of violent Germanisation and more than 83,000 Slovenes were transported to labor camps in the Third Reich, to German regions and to Nazi concentration camps[44] Many were sent into exile to Nedi 's Serbia and Croatia. Some 30,000 Slovenes were drafted to the Wehrmacht, and almost a quarter of them lost their lives on various European battlefields, mostly on the Eastern Front.[45]

The Italian occupation policy in the Province of Ljubljana gave Slovenes cultural autonomy. The Province was annexed to Italy and the Fascist system was systematically introduced in the region.

In Summer of 1941, a resistance movement led by the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation, emerged in both the Italian and in the German occupation zones.[46] The resistance, albeit pluralistic at the beginning, was gradually taken over by the Communist Party, as in the rest of occupied Yugoslavia.[46] Its armed wing were the Slovene Partisans.[46] The guerilla warfare mostly took place in the Italian occupation zone. The Italian Army reacted with brutal repression, which included war crimes against the civilian population, including summary executions of civilians and destruction of whole villages. More than 30,000 Slovenes (around 7,5% of the whole pupoulation of the Province) were interned into the Rab and the Gonars concentration camps.[47][48][49]

German soldiers executing a civilian near Medvode in Upper Carniola, in late August 1941

In 1942, Ljubljana, which emerged as one of the centers of passive resistance against occupation, was encircled by barb wire in an attempt to cut the connections between the underground resistance in the town and the partisan guerrilla in the countryside. These measures proved unsuccessful in preventing the spread of the resistance, which by 1943 was active throughout the Italian-occupied Slovenia, as well as in many areas under German occupation.

In the summer of 1942, a civil war between Slovenes broke out. The two fighting factions were the Slovenian Partisans and the Italian-sponsored anti-communist militia, known as the White Guard, later re-organized under Nazi command as the Slovene Home Guard. Small units of Slovenian Chetniks also existed in Lower Carniola and Styria. The Partisans were under the command of the Liberation Front (OF) and Tito's Yugoslav resistance, while the Slovenian Covenant served as the political arm of the anti-Communist militia. The civil war was mostly restricted to the Province of Ljubljana, where more than 80% of the Slovene anti-partisan units were active. Between 1943-1945, smaller anti-Communist militia existed in parts of the Slovenian Littoral and in Upper Carniola, while they were virtually non-existent in the rest of the country. By 1945, the total number of Slovene anti-Communist militamen reached 17,500.[50]

Immediately after the war, some 12,000 members of the Slovene Home Guard were killed in the area of the Ko evski Rog, while thousands of anti-communist civilians were killed in the first year after the war.[51] In addition, hundreds of ethnic Italians from the Julian March were killed by the Yugoslav Army and partisan forces in the Foibe massacres; some 27,000 Istrian Italians fled Slovenian Istria from Communist persecution in the so-called Istrian exodus. Members of the ethnic German minority either fled or were expelled from Slovenia.

The overall number of World War II casualties in Slovenia is estimated at 89,000 (including between 20,000 and 25,000 Slovene civilians killed by the occupation forces),{{#tag:ref|The figure includes the Carinthian Slovene victims. www.ds-rs.si/dokumenti/publikacije/Zbornik_05-1.pdf while 14,000 people were killed immediately after the end of the war.[51] BIn addition, tens of thousands of Slovenes left their homeland soon after the end of the world. Most of them settled in Argentina, Canada, Australia and in the USA.

The Communist period

Square of the Republic in Ljubljana, built in 1975 as Square of the Revolution to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Communist takeover in Slovenia and Yugoslavia 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. In 1947, Italy ceded most of the Julian March to Yugoslavia, and Slovenia thus regained the Slovenian Littoral. From the 1950s, Slovenia enjoyed a relatively wide autonomy.

Between 1945 and 1948, a wave of political repressions took place in Slovenia and in Yugoslavia. By 1947, all private property had been nationalised. Between 1949 and 1953, a forced collectivisation was attempted. After its failure, a policy of gradual liberalisation followed. A new economic policy, known as workers self-management started to be implemented under the advice and supervision of the main theorist of the Yugoslav Communist Party, the Slovene Edvard Kardelj. In 1956, Josip Broz Tito, together with other leaders, founded the Non-Aligned Movement.

Slovenia's economy developed rapidly, particularly in the 1950s when the country was strongly industrialised. Despite restrictive economic and social legislation within Yugoslavia, Slovenia managed to preserve a high level of economic development with a skilled workforce, working discipline and organisation. After the economic reform and further economic decentralisation of Yugoslavia in 1965 and 1966 Slovenia was approaching a market economy. Its domestic product was 2.5 times the average, which strengthened national confidence among the Slovenes. After the death of Tito in 1980, the economic and political situation in Yugoslavia became very strained.[39] 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.

Democracy and independence

The first clear demand for Slovene independence was made in 1987 by a group of intellectuals in the 57th edition of the magazine Nova revija. Demands for democratisation and increase of Slovenian independence were sparked off. A mass democratic movement, coordinated by the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, pushed the Communists in the direction of democratic reforms. These revolutionary events in Slovenia pre-dated by almost one year the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, but went largely unnoticed by international observers. In September 1989, numerous constitutional amendments were passed, which introduced parliamentary democracy to Slovenia.[52][53] On 7 March 1990, the Slovenian Assembly changed the official name of the state to the Republic of Slovenia.[54][55] In April 1990, the first democratic election in Slovenia took place and the united opposition movement DEMOS led by Jo e Pu nik emerged victorious. On 23 December 1990, more than 88% of the electorate voted for a sovereign and independent Slovenia.[56][57] On 25 June, Slovenia became an independent country through the passage of appropriate legal documents, and on 26 June 1991, Milan Ku an solemnly proclaimed the independence at the Republic Square in Ljubljana.[58][59] On 27 June in the early morning, the newly-formed state was attacked by the Yugoslav Army.[58][60] After the Ten-Day War, a truce was called,[60] and in October 1991, the last soldiers of the Yugoslav Army left.[60] In November, a law on de-nationalisation was adopted, followed in December by a new constitution.

The European Union recognised Slovenia in January 1992, and the UN accepted it as a member in 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. Slovenia was the first post-Communist country to hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first six months of 2008.

Politics

Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy republic with a multi-party system. The head of state is the president, who is elected by popular vote every five years to maximum two consecutive terms, and has mainly advisory and ceremonial duties. Current President of Slovenia, Danilo T rk, speaking at a ceremony on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Ljubljana from Nazi German occupation, in May 2010

Government and Presidential Palace]] in Ljubljana The executive and administrative authority in Slovenia is held by the Government of Slovenia (), headed by the Prime Minister and the council of ministers or cabinet, who are elected by the National Assembly().

The bicameral Parliament of Slovenia is characterised by an asymmetric duality. The bulk of power is concentrated in the National Assembly, which consists of ninety members. Of those, 88 are elected by all the citizens in a system of proportional representation, while two are elected by the registered members of the autochthonous Hungarian and Italian minorities. Election take place every four years. The National Council (), consisting of forty members, appointed to represent social, economic, professional and local interest groups, has a limited advisory and control power.[61]

Between 1992 and 2004, the Slovenian political scene was characterized by the rule of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, which carried out much of the economic and political transformation of the country. The party's president Janez Drnov ek, who served as Prime Minister between 1992 and 2002, was the one of the most influential Slovenian politician of the 1990s,[62] together with the Slovenian President Milan Ku an (served between 1990 and 2002), who was credited for the peaceful transition from Communism to democracy.[63] The 2004 election brought to power the right wing coalition, led by Janez Jan a of the Slovenian Democratic Party.[64] The Liberal Democracy quickly lost much of its influence and in 2008, the left wing coalition headed by the Social Democrat Borut Pahor won the election by a narrow margin.[65] After Slovenia had entered a spiral of spending and overborrowing,[66] and after an inability to implement reforms that would help towards economic recovery,[67] Pahor's government fell in September 2011 in a National Assembly confidence vote.[66] An early election was held on 4 December 2011.[68] It was surprisingly won by the Positive Slovenia party, led by Zoran Jankovi .[69] However, Jankovi failed to gain enough votes to be elected as the new Prime Minister. The new right-leaning government was formed by Jan a in February 2012. The top priorities of a broad coalition led by Jan a will be enforcing budget cuts, stimulating the economy and rescuing the small euro zone member's credit ratings.[66][67]

Judiciary

Judicial powers in Slovenia are executed by judges, who are elected by the National Assembly. Judicial power in Slovenia is implemented by courts with general responsibilities and specialised courts that deal with matters relating to specific legal areas. The State Prosecutor is an independent state authority responsible for prosecuting cases brought against those suspected of committing criminal offences. The Constitutional Court, composed of nine judges elected for nine year terms, decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution; all laws and regulations must conform with the general principles of international law and with ratified international agreements.[39]

Military

The Slovenian Armed Forces provide military defence independently or within an alliance, in accordance with international agreements. Since conscription was abolished in 2003, it is organized as a fully professional standing army.[70] The Commander-in-Chief is the President of the Republic of Slovenia, while operational command is in the domain of the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces. In 2008, military spending was an estimated 1.5% of the country's GDP.[71] Since joining NATO, the Slovenian Armed Forces have taken an even more active part in supporting international peace. Their activities comprise the participation of Slovenian Armed Forces members in peace support operations and humanitarian activities. Among others, Slovenian soldiers are a part of international forces serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.[72]

Administrative divisions

Officially, Slovenia is subdivided into 211 municipalities (eleven of which have the status of urban municipalities). The municipalities are the only body of local autonomy in Slovenia. Besides, there also exist 62 administrative districts, officially called "Administrative Units" (upravne enote), which are not a body of local self-government, but territorial sub-units of government administration. The Administrative Units are named after their capital, and are headed by a Head of the Unit (na elnik upravne enote), appointed by the Minister of Public Administration. Each municipality is headed by a Mayor ( upan), elected every 4 years by popular vote, and a Municipal Council (ob inski svet). In the majority of the municipalities, the municipal council is elected through the system of proportional representation; only few smaller municipalities use the plurality voting system. In the urban municipalities, the municipal councils are called Town (or City) Councils.[73] Every municipality also has a Head of the Municipal Administration (na elnik ob inske uprave), appointed by the Mayor, who is responsible for the functioning of the local administration.[73]

Despite the lack of any intermediate unit between the municipalities and the State, regional identity is strong in Slovenia. The traditional regions of Slovenia, based on the former four Habsburg crown lands (Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, and the Littoral), are the following:

Traditional regions

English name Native name Largest town Slovenian Littoral Primorska Koper/Capodistria Upper Carniola Gorenjska Kranj Inner Carniola Notranjska Postojna Lower Carniola Dolenjska Novo Mesto Carinthia Koro ka Ravne na Koro kem Styria tajerska Maribor Prekmurje Prekmurje Murska Sobota

Statistical regions Ljubljana was historically the administrative center of Carniola. However, from the mid-19th century onward, it has not been considered part of any of the three subdivisions of Carniola (Upper, Lower and Inner Carniola). Nowadays, it is not considered part of any of the traditional historical regions of Slovenia.

For statistical reasons, Slovenia is also subdivided into 12 statistical regions, which have no administrative function. These are further subdivided into two macroregions for the purpose of the Regional policy of the European Union.[74] These two macroregions are:

  • East Slovenia (Vzhodna Slovenija SI01), which groups the regions of Pomurska, Podravska, Koro ka, Savinjska, Zasavska, Spodnjeposavska, Jugovzhodna Slovenija and Notranjsko-kra ka.
  • West Slovenia (Zahodna Slovenija SI02), which groups the regions of Osrednjeslovenska, Gorenjska, Gori ka and Obalno-kra ka.

Geography

Topographic map of Slovenia 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.[75] The Geometrical Centre of the Republic of Slovenia is located at coordinates 46 07'11.8" N and 14 48'55.2" E.[76] It lies in Slivna in the Municipality of Litija.[77] Slovenia's highest peak is Triglav (); the country's average height above sea level is .

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, most of Slovenia is in the Black Sea drainage basin. The Alps including the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karavanke chain, as well as the Pohorje massif dominate Northern Slovenia along its long border with Austria. Slovenia's Adriatic coastline stretches approximately [78] from Italy to Croatia. The term "Karst topography" refers to that of southwestern Slovenia's Kras 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 or more above sea level.

Over half of the country () 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.[79] Remnants of primeval forests are still to be found, the largest in the Ko evje area. Grassland covers and fields and gardens (). There are of orchards and of vineyards.

Geology

Slovenia is in a rather active seismic zone because of its position to the south of the Eurasian Plate.[80] Thus the country is at the junction of three important tectonic zones: the Alps to the north, the Dinaric Alps to the south and the Pannonian Basin to the east.[80] Scientists have been able to identify 60 destructive earthquakes in the past. Additionally, a network of seismic stations is active throughout the country.[80] Many parts of Slovenia have a carbonate ground, and an extensive subterranean system has developed.

Natural regions

Landscape types in Slovenia The first regionalisations of Slovenia were made by geographers Anton Melik (1935 1936) and Svetozar Ile i (1968). The newer regionalisation by Ivan Gams divides Slovenia in the following macroregions:

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).[81] 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.[82]

Climate

Different types of clouds in the Julian Alps (northwestern Slovenia), as seen from the top of Mangart in September 2007 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 So a 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.[83][84]

Precipitation varies across the country as well, with over 3500 mm in some Western regions and dropping down to 800 mm in Prekmurje. Snow is quite frequent in winter and the record snow cover in Ljubljana was recorded in 1952 at 146 cm.

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 jugo is humid and warm, 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.[85]

Biodiversity

Olm can be found in Postojna cave and others caves in country Slovenia is distinguished by an exceptionally wide variety of habitats,[15] due to the contact of geological units and biogeographical regions, but also due to human influences. Because of pollution and degradation of environment, the diversity has been in decline.

Slovenia is the third most forested country in Europe, with 58.5% of the territory covered by forests.[86] The forests are an important natural resource, but logging is kept to a minimum, as Slovenians also value their forests for the preservation of natural diversity, for enriching the soil and cleansing the water and air, for the social and economic benefits of recreation and tourism, and for the natural beauty they give to the Slovenian landscape. 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 also grow on the Kras plateau, although only one third of the region is now covered by pine forest. The lime/linden tree, also common in Slovenian forests, is a national symbol.The tree line is at 1,700 to 1,800 metres (or 5,575 to 5,900 ft).[87] The fauna includes marmots, Alpine ibex, and chamois. There are numerous deer, roe deer, boar, and hares.[88] 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.[89] Some important carnivores include the Eurasian lynx (reintroduced to the Ko evje area in 1973), European wild cats, foxes (especially the red fox), and European jackal.[90] There are also hedgehogs, martens, and snakes such as vipers and grass snakes. According to recent estimates, Slovenia also has up to 50 wolves and about 450 brown bears.[91][92] A modern Lipizzan

In the Alps, flowers such as Daphne blagayana, various 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. Carniolan honey bee is native to Slovenia and is a subspecies of the Western honey bee.

In addition to mountains and forests, a special place take underground habitats. Slovenia is home to an exceptionally diverse number of cave species, with a few tens of endemic species.[15] Among the cave vertebrates, the only known is the olm, living in Karst and White Carniola.

The only regular species of cetaceans found in the northern Adriatic sea is the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).[93]

There is a wide variety of birds, such as the Tawny Owl, the Long-eared Owl, the Eagle Owl, hawks, and Short-toed Eagles. Various 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.[94] Other birds include (both Black and Green) Woodpeckers and the White Stork, which nests mainly in Prekmurje.

There are thirteen domestic animals native to Slovenia,[95] of eight species (hen, pig, dog, horse, sheep, goat, honey bee, and cattle).[96] Among these are the Karst Shepherd,[97] the Carniolan honeybee, and the Lipizzan horse.[96] They have been preserved ex situ and in situ.[98] The marble trout or marmorata (Salmo marmoratus) is an indigenous Slovenian fish.[99] Extensive breeding programmes have been introduced to repopulate the marble trout into lakes and streams invaded by non-indigenous species of trout.

Economy

Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ljubljana

Slovenia has a high-income developed economy and enjoys the highest GDP per capita of the new member states in the European Union, at $27,654 in 2009,[100] or 88% of the EU average.[101] Slovenia today is a developed country that enjoys prosperity and stability, as well as a GDP per capita substantially higher than that of the other transitioning economies of Central Europe, which is approximately at the same level as New Zealand. Slovenia benefits from a well-educated and productive work force and its position at the crossroad of major trade routes.[102]

There is however a big difference in prosperity between Western Slovenia (Ljubljana, the Slovenian Littoral and Upper Carniola) with a GDP per capita at 106.7% of the EU average, which is at the level of certain prosperous European areas such as East Flanders, Outer London or Alsace, and South Eastern Slovenia (Inner Carniola, Lower Carniola, Slovenian Styria, Slovenian Carinthia and Prekmurje), which has a GDP per capita at 72.5% of the EU average, comparable to the poorest regions of Spain or Italy, such as Extremadura or Basilicata. The economically most prosperous regions of Slovenia are Central Slovenia and the Slovenian Littoral, while the poorest are Prekmurje, the Central Sava Valley and Slovenian Carinthia.[103]

Although Slovenia has taken a cautious, deliberate approach to economic management and reform, with heavy emphasis on achieving consensus before proceeding, its overall record is one of success. Slovenia's trade is oriented towards other EU countries, mainly Germany, Austria, Italy, and France. This is the result of a wholesale reorientation of trade toward the West and the growing markets of central and eastern Europe in the face of the collapse of its Yugoslav markets. Slovenia's economy is highly dependent on foreign trade.

Since 2007 Slovenia is part of a monetary union, the Eurozone (dark blue)

Trade equals about 120% of GDP (exports and imports combined). About two-thirds of Slovenia's trade is with EU members.This high level of openness makes it extremely sensitive to economic conditions in its main trading partners and changes in its international price competitiveness. However, despite the economic slowdown in Europe in 2001 03, Slovenia maintained 3% GDP growth. Keeping labour costs in line with productivity is thus a key challenge for Slovenia's economic well-being, and Slovenian firms have responded by specialising in mid- to high-tech manufacturing. Industry and construction comprise over one-third of GDP.

A big portion of the economy remains in state hands and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia is one of the lowest in the EU per capita. 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.[104]

During the 2000s (decade), privatisation was seen in the banking, telecommunications, and public utility sectors. Also, restrictions on foreign investment are being dismantled, and foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to increase. Slovenia is the economic front-runner of the countries that joined the European Union in 2004. It was the first new member to adopt the euro on 1 January 2007, and it was the first new member to hold the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2008.

In the financial crisis of the late 2000s (decade), the Slovenian economy suffered a major setback. In 2009, the Slovenian GDP per capita shrank by 7.33%, which was the biggest fall in the European Union after the Baltic countries and Finland. Unemployment rose from 5.1% in 2008 to 11.1% in November 2010,[105] which was above the average in the European Union, and was still rising.[106][107] The total national debt of Slovenia at the end of September 2011 amounted to 15,884 million euros or 44.4% of GDP.[108]

Energetics

In 2011 electricity production was 14.144 GWh, electricity consumption was 12.602 GWh. Electricity production by source: hydro 3.361 GWh, thermal 4.883 GWh, nuclear 5.899 GWh.

Current investments: new 600 MW block of o tanj thermal power plant is in construction and will be finished by 2014. New 39.5 MW HE Kr ko hydro power plant will be finished this year. By 2018 41.5 MW HE Bre ice and 30.5 MW HE Mokrice hydro power plants will be built on Sava river. Construction of 10 hydro power plants on the Sava river with a cumulative capacity of 338 MW is planned to be finished by 2030. Big pumped storage hydro power plant Kozjak on Drava river is in planning stage.

Renewable energy in Slovenia: at the end of 2011 at least 87 MWp of photovoltaic modules were installed and 22 MW of biogas powerplants. There is a plan and obligation that at least 500 MW of wind power will be installed by 2020. Solar hot water heating is gaining popularity in Slovenia.

Tourism

Postojna Cave Piran, a port town in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran Lake Bled, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Slovenia 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 marked is small. There has been no large-scale tourism and no acute environmental pressures.[109]

The nation's capital, Ljubljana, has many important Baroque and Vienna Secession buildings, with several important works of the native born architect Jo e Ple nik.[110]

At the North-Western corner of the country lie the Julian Alps with the picturesque Lake Bled and the So a 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, Karavanke and Pohorje, popular with skiers and hikers.[111]

The Karst Plateau in the Slovenian Littoral gave its name to karst, a landscape shaped by water dissolving the carbonate bedrock, forming caves. The most famous caves are the Postojna Caves with more than 28 million visitors, and the UNESCO-listed kocjan Caves. The region Slovenian Istria meets the Adriatic Sea, where the most important historical monument is the Venetian Gothic Mediterranean town of Piran while the settlement of Portoro attracts crowds in summer.[112]

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,[113] with Roga ka Slatina, Radenci, ate ob Savi, Dobrna, and Moravske Toplice growing in importance in the last two decades.[114]

Other popular tourist destinations include the historic cities of Ptuj and kofja Loka, and several castles, such as the Predjama Castle.[115][116]

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.[117] Perla in Nova Gorica is the largest casino in the region.[118]

Transport

rni Kal Viaduct on the A1 motorway The Port of Koper The location at the junction of the Mediterranean, the Alps, the Dinarides and the Pannonian Plain 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.[119]

With the share of over 80%, the road freight and passenger transport constitutes the largest part of transport in Slovenia.[120] Personal cars are much more popular than public road passenger transport, which has significantly declined.[120][121] Motorways and expressways, operated by the Motorway Company in the Republic of Slovenia, are the state roads of the highest category.[122] On motorways and express ways, cars must have a toll sticker.[123] Slovenia has a very high motorway density compared to the European Union average.[123] The first highway in Slovenia, the A1 motorway connecting Vrhnika and Postojna, was opened in 1972,[124] but the construction was really speed up in 1994, when the National Assembly enacted the first National Motorway Construction Programme.[125] Till February 2012, a network consisting of of motorways, expressways and similar roads has been built.[124] Its essential section,[125] the Slovenian Motorway Cross, which is part of the Trans-European Road network, was completed in October 2011.[126] It comprises the motorway route heading from east to west, in line with the Pan-European Corridor V, and the motorway route heading in the north south direction, in line with the Pan-European Corridor X,[125] part of which is considered the Slovenian transport backbone.[123] The newly-built road system slowly, but steadily transforms Slovenia into a large conurbation and connects it as a unitary social, economic and cultural space, with links to neighbouring areas.[127] In contrast, other state roads, managed by the Road Directorate of the Republic of Slovenia, have been rapidly deteriorating due to neglection and the overall increase in traffic.[123] About half of them are in a bad condition.[128] The urban and suburban network serviced by buses is relatively dense.[123]

The existing Slovenian rails, which were mostly built in the 19th century, are out-of-date and can't compete with the motorway network.[129] The maintenance and modernisation of the Slovenian railway network has been neglected due to the lack of financial assets, creating bottlenecks.[130] Nevertheless, it has been gaining momentum with the completion of the motorway cross.[129] The Slovenian Railways company operates of standard gauge tracks, as double track, and reaches all regions of the country.[131] The network comprises main lines and regional lines.[130] Electrification is provided by a 3 kV DC system, except at the junctions with railways of foreign countries,[130] and covers .[132] Due to the out-of-date infrastructure, the share of the railway freight transport has been in decline in Slovenia despite growing slightly in absolute terms.[133] The railway passenger transport has been recovering after a large drop in the 1990s.[134] The Pan-European railway corridors V and X, and several E-railways (E65, E67, E69, and E70) intersect in Slovenia.[130] All international transit trains in Slovenia drive through the Ljubljana Railway Hub, and all international passenger trains stop there.[135]

There are three ports on the Slovenian coast. The traffic is mostly international.[136][137] The major is the Port of Koper, built in 1957.[138] It is a feeder port.[138] It is about closer to destinations east of the Suez than the ports of Northern Europe, and the land transport from Koper by road and by railway to the main industrial centres in Central Europe is approximately shorter than from Northern European ports.[139] It is multimodal and one of the most modern in this part of the world,[136] but its development is hindered by the lack of sufficient depth.[140] From it, there are reliable and regular shipping container lines to all major world ports.[139] The port has been rapidly growing and in 2011, more than 17 million tonnes (16,7 million long tons, 18,7 million short tons) of cargo passed through it.[139][141] It is the largest Northern Adriatic port in terms of container transport.[142] In 2011, almost 590,000 TEUs passed through it.[143] There is a skewed balance in the direction of trade flows in the Port of Koper where import flows clearly outweigh export flows.[123] The majority of maritime passenger traffic in Slovenia takes place in Koper,[144] where a passenger terminal was completed in 2005.[145] It has recorded about 100,000 passengers in 2011,[146] and has been visited by the largest passenger ships, such as the MS Voyager of the Seas.[147] The two smaller ports used for the international passenger transport are located in Izola and Piran. The Port of Piran is also used for the international transport of salt, whereas the Port of Izola is used for fish disembarkation. Passenger transport in Slovenia takes place mainly with Italy and Croatia.[148] The only shipping company of Slovenia is Splo na plovba.[149] It operates 28 ships with 1,025,000 tonnes of tonnage.[150] It transports freight and is active only in foreign ports.[144]

The air transport in Slovenia is quite low,[133] but has significantly grown since 1991.[151] There are three international airports in Slovenia. The Ljubljana Jo e Pu nik Airport in the central part of the country is by far the busiest,[151] with connections to many major European destinations.[152] Around 1.4 million passengers and 15,000 to 17,000 tonnes of cargo pass through it each year.[153] The Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport is located in the eastern part of the country and the Portoro Airport in the western part.[151] The state-owned Adria Airways is the largest Slovenian airline.[151] Since 2003, several new carriers have entered the market, mainly low-cost airlines.[123] The only Slovenian military airport is the Cerklje ob Krki Air Base near the Slovenia Croatia border in the southwestern part of the country.[154] There are also 12 public airports in Slovenia.[151]

Demographics

According to the 2002 census, Slovenia's main ethnic group are the Slovenes (83%). At least 13% of the population were immigrants from other parts of Former Yugoslavia and their descendants.[155] They have settled mainly in cities and suburbanised areas.[156] Relatively small but protected by the Constitution of Slovenia are the Hungarian and the Italian national community.[157][158][159] A special position is held by the autochthonous and geographically dispersed Roma ethnic community.[160][161]

Life expectancy in 2007 was 74.6 years for men and 81.8 years for women.[162] In 2009, the suicide rate was 22 per 100,000 persons per year, which places Slovenia among the highest ranked European countries in this regard.[163]

With 101 inhabitants per square kilometre (262/sq mi), Slovenia ranks low among the European countries in population density (compared to 402/km (1042/sq mi) for the Netherlands or 195/km (505/sq mi) for Italy). The Notranjska-Kras statistical region has the lowest population density while the Central Slovenian statistical region has the highest.[164]

Urbanization

Depending on definition, between 65% and 79% of people live in urban areas.[165] The only large town is the capital, Ljubljana. Other, medium-sized towns include Maribor, Celje, and Kranj.[166][167] Overall, there are eleven urban municipalities in Slovenia.

Languages

Bilingual Slovene-Italian edition of the Slovenian passport The official language in Slovenia is Slovene, which is a member of the South Slavic language group. In 2002, Slovene was the native language of around 88% of Slovenia's population according to the census, with more than 92% of the Slovenian population speaking it in their home environment.[168][169] This places Slovenia among the most homogeneous countries in the EU in terms of the share of speakers of predominant mother tongue.[170] Slovene is sometimes characterized as the most diverse Slavic language in terms of dialects,[171] with different degrees of mutual intelligibility. Accounts of the number of dialects range from as few as seven[172][173][174] dialects, often considered dialect groups or dialect bases that are further subdivided into as many as 50 dialects.[175] Other sources characterize the number of dialects as nine[176] or eight.[177]

Regarding the knowledge of foreign languages, Slovenia is ranked among the top European countries. The most often taught foreign languages are English, German, Italian, French and Spanish. , 92% of the population between the age of 25 and 64 spoke at least one foreign language and around 71.8% of them spoke at least two foreign languages, which was the highest percentage in the European Union.[178] According to the Eurobarometer survey, the majority of Slovenes could speak Serbo-Croatian (61%) and English (56%).[179] A reported 45% of Slovenes could speak German, which was one of the highest percentages outside German-speaking countries.[179] Italian is widely spoken on the Slovenian Coast and in some other areas of the Slovenian Littoral. Around 15% of Slovenians can speak Italian, which is (according to the Eurobarometer pool) the third highest percentage in the European Union, after Italy and Malta.[180]

Languages of the minorities and ex-Yugoslav languages

Hungarian and Italian enjoy the status of official languages in the ethnically mixed regions along the Hungarian and Italian borders. In 2002, around 0.2% of the Slovenian population spoke Italian and around 0.4% spoke Hungarian as their native language. A legally protected language in Slovenia is also Romani,[181] spoken in 2002 as the native language by 0.2% of people. They mainly belong to the geographically dispersed and marginalized Roma community.[182] German, which used to be the largest minority language in Slovenia prior to World War II (around 4% of the population in 1921), is now the native language of only around 0.08% of the population, the majority of whom are more than 60 years old.[169] Gottscheerish or Granish, the traditional German dialect of Gottschee County, is now facing extinction.[183]

A significant number of Slovenian population speak a variant of Serbo-Croatian (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian or Montenegrin) as their native language. These are mostly immigrants who moved to Slovenia from other former Yugoslav republics from the 1960s to the late 1980s, and their descendants. 0,4% of the Slovenian population declared themselves as native speakers of Albanian and 0,2% as native speakers of Macedonian in 2002.[169] Czech, which used to be the fourth largest minority language in Slovenia prior to World War II (after German, Hungarian and Serbo-Croatian), is now the native language of a few hundred Slovenian residents.[169]

Religion

Roman Catholic]] pilgrimage church in Slovenia.

Traditionally, Slovenes are predominantly Roman Catholic. Before World War II, 97% of Slovenes declared as Roman Catholics, around 2.5% were Lutheran, and only around 0.5% belonged to other denominations. Catholicism was an important feature of both social and political life in pre-Communist Slovenia. After 1945, the country underwent a process of gradual but steady secularization. After a decade of severe persecution of religions, the Communist regime adopted a policy of relative tolerance towards the churches, but limited their social functioning. After 1990, the Roman Catholic Church regained some of its former influence, but Slovenia remains a largely secularized society. According to the 2002 census, 57.8% of the population is Roman Catholic. As elsewhere in Europe, affiliation with Roman Catholicism is dropping: in 1991, 71.6% were self-declared Catholics, which means a drop of more than 1% annually.[184] The vast majority of Slovenian Catholics belong to the Latin Rite. A small number of Greek Catholics live in the White Carniola region.[185]

Lutheran church in Bodonci in the Prekmurje region

Despite a relatively small number of Protestants (less than 1% in 2002), the Protestant legacy is important because of its historical significance, since the bases of Slovene standard language and Slovene literature were established by the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Nowadays, a significant Lutheran minority lives in the easternmost region of Prekmurje, where they represent around a fifth of the population and are headed by a bishop with the seat in Murska Sobota.[186]

Serbian Orthodox Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Ljubljana Besides these two Christian denominations, a small Jewish community has also been historically present. Despite the losses suffered during the Holocaust, Judaism still numbers a few hundred adherents, mostly living in Ljubljana, site of the sole remaining active synagogue in the country.[187]

According to the 2002 census, Islam is the second largest religious denomination with around 2.4% of the population. Most Slovenian Muslims came from Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia.[188] The third largest denomination, with around 2.2% of the population, is Orthodox Christianity, with most adherents belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church while a minority belongs to the Macedonian and other Orthodox churches.

In the 2002, around 10% of Slovenes declared themselves as atheists, another 10% professed no specific denomination, and around 16% decided not answer the question about their religious affiliation. According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[189] 37% of Slovenian citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 46% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 16% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".

Immigration

Around 12.4% of the inhabitants of Slovenia were born abroad.[190] According to data from 2008, there were around 100,000 non-EU citizens living in Slovenia, or around 5% of the overall population of the country.[191] The highest number came from Bosnia-Hercegovina, followed by immigrants from Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia and Kosovo. The number of people migrating to Slovenia has been steadily rising from 1995;[192] and has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Since Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, the yearly inflow of immigrants has doubled by 2006 and tripled by 2009.[193] In 2007, Slovenia was one of the countries with the fastest growth of net migration rate in the European Union.[192]

Education

Responsibility for educational oversight at primary and secondary level in Slovenia lies with the Ministry of Education and Sports. After non-compulsory pre-school education, children enter the nine-year primary school at the age of six.[194] Primary school is divided into three periods, each of three years. In the academic year 2006 2007 there were 166,000 pupils enrolled in elementary education and more than 13,225 teachers, giving a ratio of one teacher per 12 pupils and 20 pupils per class.[195]

After completing elementary school, nearly all children (more than 98 per cent) go on to secondary education, either vocational, technical or general secondary programmes (gimnazija). The latter concludes with matura, the final exam that allows the graduates to enter a university. 84 per cent of secondary school graduates go on to tertiary education.[195] Currently there are three public universities in Slovenia, in Ljubljana,[196] Maribor[197] and in Primorska (Littoral) region.[198] In addition, there is a private University of Nova Gorica[199] and an international EMUNI University.[200] According to the ARWU rating, the University of Ljubljana ranks among 500 best universities in the world.[201]

The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Slovenia's education as the 12th best in the world and 4th best in the European Union, being significantly higher than the OECD average.[202] According to the 1991 census there is 99.6 per cent literacy in Slovenia. Among people aged 25 to 64, 12 per cent have attended higher education, whilst on average Slovenes have 9.6 years of formal education. Lifelong learning is also increasing.[195]

Culture

Slavoj i ek is a Slovenian continental philosopher and critical theorist working in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis Amongst contemporary famous scholars the philosopher Slavoj i ek is probably most known internationally, but others include the chemist and Nobel prize laureate Friderik - Fritz Pregl, physicist Joseph Stefan, linguist Franc Miklo i , mathematician Jurij Vega, sociologist Thomas Luckmann, physician Anton Marko Plen i , theologian Anton Strle, psychologist and anthropologist Anton Trstenjak, Milan Komar, and rocket engineer Herman Poto nik.

Slovene literature achieved its highest level with its Romantic poet France Pre eren (1800 1849). In the 20th century, it went through several periods. The beginning of the century was marked by the authors of the Slovene Modern, with the most influential Slovene writer and playwright, Ivan Cankar. It was then followed by expressionism (Sre ko Kosovel) and social realism (Ciril Kosma ) before World War II, the poetry of resistance and revolution (Karel Destovnik Kajuh) during the war, and intimism (Poems of the Four, 1953), modernism (Edvard Kocbek), and existentialism (Dane Zajc) after the war. The Sower (1907), produced by the impressionist painter and musician Ivan Grohar, became a metaphor for the Slovenes[203][204] and was a reflection of the transition from a rural to an urban culture.[205]

The late 18th and early 19th century in the Slovene Lands was marked by Neoclassicism (Franz Caucig), whereas in the late 19th century, realism (Ivana Kobilca) developed. Rihard Jakopi and other Slovene impressionists, educated in Munich by Anton A be, were most prominent in the beginning of 20th century. In architecture, the Vienna Secession architects Max Fabiani and Jo e Ple nik created at the time. The inter-war period as well as post-war period was marked by the realistic painting and photography of Gojmir Anton Kos. During World War II, Bo idar Jakac created numerous graphics, and contributed to the post-war establishment of the Academy of Visual Arts in Ljubljana. In the post-war architecture, Edvard Ravnikar and Marko Mu i stand out. In 1980s, the controversial Neue Slowenische Kunst movement started, represented in visual arts by the group IRWIN.

Slovenia is a homeland of numerous musicians and composers, including Renaissance composer Jacobus Gallus (1550 1591), who greatly influenced Central European classical music, the Baroque composer Janez Krstnik Dolar (ca. 1620 1673), and the violin virtuoso Giuseppe Tartini. In the 20th century, Bojan Adami was a renowned film music composer and Ivo Petri (born 16 June 1931) is a composer of European classical music.

Contemporary popular musicians have been Slavko Avsenik, Laibach, Vlado Kreslin, Pero Lov in, Pankrti, Zoran Predin, Oto Pestner, La ni Franz, Helena Blagne, DJ Umek, Valentino Kanzyani, Siddharta, Big Foot Mama, Terrafolk, Magnifico and others.

Slovene cinema has more than a century-long tradition with Karol Grossmann, France tiglic, Igor Pretnar, Jo e Poga nik, Matja Klop i , Bo tjan Hladnik and Karpo Godina as its most established filmmakers. Contemporary film directors Jan Cvitkovi , Damjan Kozole, and Janez Lapajne are among the most notable representatives of the so-called "Renaissance of Slovenian cinema".

In 2012, Maribor has been the European Capital of Culture.

Cuisine

Prekmurska gibanica is a typical pastry of the Prekmurje region. Slovenian cuisine is a mixture of three great regional cuisines, 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 cuisine. Due to the variety of Slovenian cultural and natural landscapes, there are more than 40 distinct regional cuisines.[206]

Slovenian national dishes include bujta repa, ri et, prekmurska gibanica, nut roll (), ganci, Istrian stew (), minestrone (), prosciutto ().[206] There is a variety of sausages in Slovenian cuisine, the best known of which is Kranjska klobasa.[206] kranjska klobasa and likrofi.

Soups are a relatively recent invention in Slovenian cuisine, but there are over 100. Earlier there were various kinds of porridge, stew and one-pot meals. The most common meat soups are beef and chicken soup. Meat-based soups were served only on Sundays and feast days; more frequently in more prosperous country or town households.

One of the most popular fast-food dishes in Slovenia is burek.[207]

Sport

Petra Majdi , cross-country skiing bronze winner in the 2010 Olympics, as well as Terry Fox Award winner for personal achievements A variety of sports are played in Slovenia on a professional level, with top international successes in handball, basketball, volleyball, association football, ice hockey, rowing, Swimming, tennis, boxing and athletics. Prior to World War II, gymnastics and fencing used to be the most popular sports in Slovenia, with champions like Leon tukelj and Miroslav Cerar gaining Olympic medals for Slovenia. Association football gained popularity in the interwar period. After 1945, basketball, handball and volleyball have become popular among Slovenians, and from the mid 1970s onward, winter sports. Since 1992, Slovenian Olympians have won 22 medals, including three gold medals.

Individual sports are also very popular in Slovenia, including tennis and mountaineering, which are two of the most widespread sporting activities in Slovenia. Several Slovenian extreme and endurance sportsmen have gained an international reputation, including the mountaineer Toma Humar, the mountain skier Davo Karni ar, the ultramaraton swimmer Martin Strel and the ultracyclist Jure Robi . Past and current winter sports Slovenian champions include Alpine skiers, such as Mateja Svet, Bojan Kri aj, and Tina Maze, the cross-country skier Petra Majdi , and ski jumpers, such as Primo Peterka. Boxing has gained popularity since Dejan Zavec won the IBF Welterweight World Champion title in 2009.

World's ski jumping record]] 1985 2011. Since the major international success of the national football team, qualifying for two FIFA World Cups and one UEFA European Football Championship, football has become increasingly popular, as well. Slovenian past and current football stars include Branko Oblak and Zlatko Zahovi . The national basketball team has qualified for eight Eurobaskets, including a 4th place finish in 2009, and two FIBA World Championship appearances. Notable Slovenian basketball players include Jure Zdovc, Peter Vilfan, and Ivo Daneu. Slovenia will be the host of European basketball championship in 2013, having previously hosted the final round of 1970 FIBA World Championship. The national ice hockey team has qualified for five Ice Hockey World Championships.

See also

Notes

References

Bibliography

  • Stani , Stane, Slovenia (London, Flint River Press, 1994).
  • Oto Luthar (ed), The Land Between: A history of Slovenia. With contributions by Oto Luthar, Igor Grdina, Marjeta Sasel Kos, Petra Svoljsak, Peter Kos, Dusan Kos, Peter Stih, Alja Brglez and Martin Pogacar (Frankfurt am Main etc., Peter Lang, 2008).

External links

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