Slovenia

Republika Slovenija
Republic of Slovenia
Flag of Slovenia Coat of arms of Slovenia
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: none
Anthem: Zdravljica (7th stanza only)
"A Toast"
Capital Ljubljana
Largest city Ljubljana
Official language Slovenian, Italian1, Hungarian1
Government Parliamentary republic
 - President Janez Drnovšek
 - Prime Minister Janez Janša
Independence from Yugoslavia 
 - Declared June 25, 1991 
 - Recognized 1992 
Accession to EU May 1 2004
Area
 - Total 20,273 km² (153rd)
7,827 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 0.6
Population
 - June 2006 estimate 2,008,5162 (145th)
 - 2002 census 1,964,036
 - Density 97/km² (101st)
251/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate
 - Total $43.69 billion (81st)
 - Per capita $21,911 (31st)
HDI  (2004) 0.910 (high) (27th)
Currency Euro (€)3 (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .si4
Calling code +386
1 In the residential municipalities of the Italian or Hungarian national community.
2 Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia: Population, Slovenia, 30 June 2006
3 Prior to 2007: Slovenian tolar
4 Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovenian: Republika Slovenija, listen), 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. The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana.

At various points in Slovenia's history, the country has been part of the Roman Empire, the Duchy of Carantania (only modern Slovenia's northern part), the Holy Roman Empire, Austria-Hungary, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929) between the World Wars, and the SFR of Yugoslavia from 1945 until gaining independence in 1991. Slovenia is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, NATO, and has observer status in La Francophonie.

Contents

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History

Slavic ancestors of the present-day Slovenians settled in the area in the sixth century. The Slavic Duchy of Carantania was formed in the seventh 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 document in Latin script, were written around 1000 AD. During the fourteenth 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 (Zedinjena Slovenija) 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, defeating the Yugoslav Army in the Ten-Day War. Slovenia joined NATO on 29 March 2004 and the European Union on 1 May 2004. Slovenia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2008, being the first "new" member state to do so.

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Politics

The Slovenian head of state is the president, who is elected by popular vote every five 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 Parliament of Slovenia consists of the National Assembly (Državni zbor), and the National Council (Državni svet). The National Assembly has ninety 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 forty seats, and is made up of representatives of social, economic, professional and local interest groups. Parliamentary elections are held every four years.

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Administrative divisions

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Traditional 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:

English name Native name Indicated on
map as
Upper Carniola Gorenjska U.C.
Styria Štajerska S
Prekmurje Prekmurje T
Carinthia Koroška C
Inner Carniola Notranjska I.C.
Lower Carniola Dolenjska L.C.
Goriška Goriška G
Slovenian Istria   Slovenska Istra   L

Goriška and Slovenian Istria together are known as the Littoral region (Primorska). White Carniola (Bela krajina), otherwise part of Lower Carniola, is usually considered a separate region, as are Zasavje and Posavje, the former being a part of Upper and Lower Carniola and Styria; and the latter part of Lower Carniola and Styria.

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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 village of Ozeljan near Nova Gorica, surrounded by a Submediterranean landscape
The village of Ozeljan near Nova Gorica, surrounded by a Submediterranean landscape
Novo Mesto, the largest town in the Jugovzhodna Slovenija (Southeastern Slovenia) statistical region
Novo Mesto, the largest town in the Jugovzhodna Slovenija (Southeastern Slovenia) statistical region

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.

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Statistical regions

Slovenia's statistical regions exist solely for legal and statistical purposes. As of May 2005, twelve have been defined:

Slovenia's twelve statistical regions.
Slovenia's twelve statistical regions.
1 ██ Gorenjska
2 ██ Goriška
3 ██ Jugovzhodna Slovenija
4 ██ Koroška
5 ██ Notranjsko-kraška
6 ██ Obalno-kraška
7 ██ Osrednjeslovenska
8 ██ Podravska
9 ██ Pomurska
10 ██ Savinjska
11 ██ Spodnjeposavska
12 ██ Zasavska

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 between twelve and fourteen. After being unveiled publicly, the plan will undergo parliamentary debate. Constitutional changes allowing the creation of regions have already been approved by the National Assembly. If, however, twelve administrative regions are favored, they will most likely be the same as those already in place.

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Municipalities

Slovenia is divided into 210 municipalities (občine, singular občina), of which eleven have urban status.

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Geography

Map of Slovenia
Map of Slovenia
The Kamnik-Savinja Alps
The Kamnik-Savinja Alps
Triglav
Triglav

Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian plain, and the Mediterranean. Slovenia's highest peak is Triglav (2,864 m; 9,396 ft); the country's average height above the sea level is 557 metres (1,827 ft). Around one half of the country (10,124 km²; 3,909 sq mi) 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 5,593 square kilometres (2,159 sq mi) of the country and fields and gardens 2,471 square kilometres (838 sq mi). There are also 363 square kilometres (140 sq mi) of orchards and 216 square kilometres (83 sq mi) 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 (28°F) in January and 21°C (70°F) in July. The average rainfall is 1,000 millimetres (39.4 in) for the coast, up to 3,500 millimetres (138 in) for the Alps, 800 millimetres (31.5 in) for south east and 1,400 millimetres (55 in)for central Slovenia.

The geometric center of gravity of Slovenia is located at the geographic coordinates 46°07'11,8" N and 14°48'55,2" E. It lies in Spodnja Slivna near Vače in the municipality of Litija.

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Economy

Slovenia is a high-income economy which enjoys the highest GDP per capita ($23,250 in 2006[1]) of the newly joined EU countries, or around 90% of the EU average. The country's relatively high rate of inflation declined to 2.3% by 2006 and is now comparable to the average in the European Union. Slovenia's economy has started to grow more strongly in the last few years (5.2% in first 9 months of 2006, 4.0% in 2005, 4.4% in 2004, 4.8% 2007 estimate), 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 few years. Slovenia is the economic front-runner of the countries that joined the European Union in 2004 and was the first new member to adopt the euro as the country's only currency on 1 January 2007. Moreover, Slovenia will also be the first new member state to hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2008.

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Demographics

Ethnic composition of Slovenia
Slovenians
  
83.06%
Serb
  
1.98%
Croat
  
1.81%
Bosniak
  
1.10%
Muslim by nationality
  
0.53%
Hungarian
  
0.32%
Albanian
  
0.31%
Roma
  
0.17%
Italian
  
0.11%
other
  
0.82%
undeclared or unknown
  
8.9%
source: 2002 census
Religion in Slovenia
Roman Catholic
  
57.8%
Muslim
  
2.4%
Eastern Orthodox
  
2.3%
Protestant
  
0.9%
Other
  
3.7%
Atheist
  
10.1%
undeclared or unknown
  
22.8%
source: 2002 census

Slovenia's main ethnic group is Slovenians (83%). Nationalities from the former Yugoslavia (Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks & Muslims by nationality) form 6.3% and the Hungarian, Italian and Roma minorities 0.6% of the population. Ethnic affiliation of 8.9% was either undeclared or unknown. Life expectancy in 2003 was 72.2 years for men and 80 years for women.

Ljubljana's St. Nicholas Cathedral
Ljubljana's St. Nicholas Cathedral

With 99 inhabitants per square kilometre (256/sq mi), Slovenia ranks low among the European countries in population density (compare with 320/km² (829/sq mi) for the Netherlands or 195/km² (505/sq mi) for Italy). The Notranjsko-kraška region has the lowest population density while the Osrednjeslovenska region has the highest. Approximately 51% of the population lives in urban areas and 49% in rural areas.

The official language is Slovenian, which is a member of the South Slavic language group. Hungarian and Italian enjoy the status of official languages in the ethnically mixed regions along the Hungarian and Italian border.

By religion, Slovenians have traditionally been largely Roman Catholic. Before socialism, as much as 88% of Slovenians were Roman Catholic, while by 1991 this had already dropped to 71.6%, and the number of followers is still falling (57.8% in 2002).

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Culture

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 twentieth century) was ethnographically and historically well-described in the book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (German: Die Ehre deß Herzogthums Crain, Slovenian: Slava vojvodine Kranjske), published in 1689 by Baron Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693).

France Prešeren, a portrait by Božidar Jakac, 1940
France Prešeren, a portrait by Božidar Jakac, 1940

Slovenia's two greatest writers were the poet France Prešeren (1800-1849) and writer Ivan Cankar (1876-1918). The most important Slovenian painters are Ivana Kobilca and impressionist Rihard Jakopič. The most famed Slovenian architect is Jože Plečnik who worked in Vienna as well as in Prague.

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 twentieth 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, Siddharta, Magnifico and others.

Slovenian cinema has more than a century-long tradition with Karol Grossmann, Janko Ravnik, Ferdo Delak, France Štiglic, Mirko Grobler, Igor Pretnar, France Kosmač, Jože Pogačnik, Matjaž Klopčič, Jane Kavčič, Jože Gale, Boštjan Hladnik and Karpo Godina as its most established filmmakers. Contemporary film directors Janez Burger, Jan Cvitkovič, Damjan Kozole, Janez Lapajne and Maja Weiss are most notable representatives of the so-called "Renaissance of Slovenian cinema".

Slovenia's learned men include chemist and Nobel prize laureate Friderik Pregl, physicist Jožef Stefan, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, linguist Franc Miklošič, physician Anton Marko Plenčič, mathematician Jurij Vega.

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Biodiversity

Although Slovenia is a small country, there is an exceptionally wide variety of habitats. In the north of Slovenia are the Alps (namely, Julian Alps, Karavanke, Kamnik Alps), and in the south stand the Dinarides. There is also a small area of the Pannonian plain and a Littoral Region. Much of southwestern Slovenia is characterized by Kras, also known as the Classical Karst, a very rich, often unexplored underground habitat containing diverse flora and fauna. The English word karst, used generically for this type of topography, derives from this region.

Half of the country (about 53%) is covered by forests. These forests are an important natural resource, but they are also valuable for the preservation of natural diversity. An ecological asset like all forests, they enrich the soil and cleanse the water and air. Slovenians find the social benefits of tourism and recreation. The forests also lend their natural beauty to the Slovenian landscape. In the interior of the country there are typical Central European forests. The predominant trees are oaks and beeches. In the mountains, spruce, fir, and pine are more common. The tree-line is at 1,700 to 1,800 metres (or 5,575 to 5,900 feet).

Pinetrees also grow on the Karst plateau. Only one third of Kras (Karst) is now covered by pine forest. It is said that most of the forest was chopped down long ago to provide the wooden pylons on which the city of Venice now stands. The Karst and White Carniola are well known for the mysterious proteus. The lime/linden tree, also common in Slovenian forests, is a national symbol.

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

The country's fauna includes marmots (introduced), steinbocks, and chamois. There are numerous deer, roe deer, boars, and hares. The edible dormouse is often found in the 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 the Kočevje area in 1973), European wild cats, foxes (especially the red fox), and the rare jackal [2]. There are also hedgehogs, martens, and snakes such as vipers and grass snakes. As of March 2005, Slovenia also has a limited population of wolves and around four hundred brown bears.

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. Other birds include (both black and green) woodpeckers and the white stork which nests in Prekmurje.

The indigenous Slovenian fish is the Marmorata, a type of trout. Extensive breeding programs have been introduced to repopulate the Marmorata into lakes and streams invaded by non-indigenous species of trout. The only regular species of cetaceans found in the northern Adriatic sea is the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)[3].

Domestic animals originating in Slovenia include the Carniolan honeybee, the indigenous Karst Sheepdog and the Lipizzan horse. The exploration of various cave systems has yielded discoveries of many cave-dwelling insects and other organisms.

Slovenia is a veritable cornucopia of forest, cavern and mountain-dwelling wildlife. Many species that are endangered or can no longer be found in other parts of Europe can still be found here.

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Education

The University of Ljubljana
The University of Ljubljana

The Slovenian education system consists of:

Specific parts of the system:

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See also

  • Bank of Slovenia
  • Communications in Slovenia
  • Computer systems from Slovenia
  • Economy of Slovenia
  • Foreign relations of Slovenia
  • Military of Slovenia
  • Tourism in Slovenia
  • Transportation in Slovenia
Geography
Institutions
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References

  1. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved on 2006-04-06.
  2. (Slovenian) Maja Berden Zrimec (May 2005). "Šakali". GEA (journal). Retrieved on 2006-04-06.
  3. Dolphins in Slovenia. Morigenos. Retrieved on 2006-04-06.
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External links

General information
Culture
Institutions
Slovenian web search engines
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