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Slovenia

Slovenia
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"Slovenia" ("Slovenija") is a country in Central Europe that lies in the eastern Alps at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, with Austria to the north, Italy to the southwest, Hungary to the northeast and Croatia to the south. Despite its small size, Slovenia has a surprising variety of terrain, ranging from the beaches of the Mediterranean to the peaks of the Julian Alps, to the rolling hills of the south. Slovenia was already more economically advanced than other nations behind the iron curtain prior to European integration and the powerhouse of Tito"s Yugoslavia. Contrary to the popular misconception, Slovenia was not a part of the Eastern bloc (not after the Yugoslavian notorious split with the Soviet Union in 1948). Added the fact that Slovenia is also home to some of the finest scenery in the "New Europe", the transition from socialism to the European common market economy has gone well and serves as a model for other nations on the same track to follow.

Understand
History
Slavic ancestors of Slovenians came from eastern parts of Europe and inhabited territory north of present Slovenian territory in the 6th century AD. They established a state called Caranthania ("Karantanija" in Slovene), which was an early example of parliamentary democracy in Europe. The ruler ("knez" in Slovene) was elected by popular vote. The Caranthanians were later defeated by Bavarians and Franks, who subjugated them. They were christianized, but they preserved many rituals of their pagan religion, and above all, they preserved their native language. The Slovene lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire and Austria under the Habsburg dynasty until 1918, when the Slovenes joined the Serbs and Croats in forming a new south-Slavic state ruled by Serbian Karađorđević dynasty called the "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians" ("Kraljevina Srbov, Hrvatov in Slovencev" in Slovene), renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. In WWII, Slovenia was invaded and occupied by Germans, Italians and Hungarians, leading to a parallel civil war between pro-communist liberation forces (Partizani) and axis-sponsored anti-communist reactionary factions ("Belogardisti" and Domobranci). The victory of the Allies and consequently the Partizans resulted in a violent mass exodus of those who had fought with with the occupying forces, including most of the native German and Italian minorities. After World War II, Slovenia became a republic in the reestablished Yugoslavia, which although Communist, distanced itself from the Soviet bloc and small territorial gains were made from Italy. Dissatisfied with the exercise of power in Belgrade, the Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence in 1991 with minimal bloodshed. In 2004, Slovenia joined the European Union and NATO. Most recently, Slovenia adopted the euro in 2007, completing a quick and efficient accession to Europe and the EU.
; "Independence" : 25 June 1991 (from Yugoslavia)
; "National holiday" : Statehood Day, 25 June (1991)Independence and Unity Day, 26 December (1990)
; "Constitution" : adopted 23 December 1991, effective 23 December 1991

Historical ties to Central Europe, a strong economy, and relatively stable democracy make Slovenia one of leading country among the new members of the EU and NATO.

Culture


Tartinijev trg in Piran (Tartinijev square)

For a small country, Slovenes are fiercely proud of their culture. Two names you will run into over and over again are national poet "France Prešeren" (1800-1849), who penned (among other things) the Slovenian national anthem, and the architect "Jože Plečnik" (1872-1957), credited with Ljubljana"s iconic "Tromostovje" bridges and, seemingly, half the modern buildings in the country. It was the monks of the Catholic Church that kept Slovene alive over the centuries of relentless Germanization from the north. As a result Slovene survived in its unique form different than Serbo-Croatian to the south. Part of both the countryside and city architecture in Julian Alps shares a lot in common with neighboring Austria, including countless roadside shrines and pretty baroque steeples, giving the interior of the nation a truly alpine flavor. One could easily mistake parts of mountainous Slovenia for Tyrol, Salzburg or Bavaria. In modern times, industrial band "Laibach" (see box) has served to put Slovenia on the map. In the decades before them, Slavko Avsenik and his "Oberkrainer" (as known in German) did the same.

Climate
Mediterranean climate on the coast, mountain climate in Alps with mild summers and freezing winters and continental climate with hot summers and freezing winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east.

Terrain

Predjamski Castle in Karst

A short coastal strip on the Adriatic, an Alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, mixed mountain and valleys with numerous rivers to the east and Pannonian Basin in northeast. Central Ljubljana valley with Ljubljana marshes in the southern part. In the southwest there is the Karst ("Kras" in Slovene, "Carso" in Italian) (where the name for karst topography actually comes from, most famously found in Guangxi Province, China). The Karst region is a barren but beautiful limestone region directly north of the Italian city of Trieste.
; "Natural hazards" : flooding and earthquakes
; "highest point" : Triglav 2,864 m
; "lowest point" : Adriatic sea 0 m

Regions



Cities


*Ljubljana - the picturesque pint-sized capital
*Bled - impossibly romantic mountain lake complete with castle and island
*Celje - one of Slovenia"s oldest cities
*Koper - lovely Venetian city, largest on Slovenian coastline
*Maribor - Slovenia"s second largest city
*Nova Gorica - the city literary on the border with Italy
*Piran - gorgeous Venetian port
*Postojna - Site of the gigantic Postojna caves
*Ptuj - one of Slovenia"s oldest cities - pronounced "P-too-ee"




Other destinations

* Škocjan Caves — less commercial than Postojna but no less impressive, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
*Triglav National Park - Home to national symbol Mt. Triglav and mythical golden chamois Zlatorog.

Get in
Entry requirements


Citizens of the above countries are permitted to work in Slovenia without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other countries.

By bus
The "Ljubljana Bus Station" ("Avtobusna Postaja Ljubljana") provides composite information about international and airport bus services. Phone: 090 93 42 30 (inland only), website in English: .

Connections between the Italian city of Trieste and nearby Koper and Piran are frequent on weekdays. There"s also a daily bus between Trieste and Ljubljana. In addition, services between Gorizia (Italy) and its twin town of Nova Gorica (Slovenia) are at least hourly throughout the day although the journey is easily walkable. This offers an ideal connection between the Italian and Slovene railway networks or an alternative entry point from Trieste"s Ronchi Airport or the city of Venice.

By plane

Ljubljana is Slovenia"s primary international airport and the hub of national carrier "Adria Airways" , which flies to a number of European cities and offers connections to Southeast Europe. The cheapest ways into the city, though, are via easyJet"s daily flight from London-Stansted.

There are a few other options worth exploring. Ryanair also runs flights from Dublin to Pula across the border in Croatia. Another convenient gateway, especially to western Slovenia, is via Italy"s Trieste airport, which is but an hour"s drive from Ljubljana via super highway. Klagenfurt, in Austria, is also an option. Although further away, the Italian airports in Venice and Treviso (called "Venice Treviso) offer other entry points to Slovenia or good day trips to/from Slovenia. Note that railway connections between Slovenia and Italy are rather poor, though (see below).

By train
Slovenia is well connected to Austria, Croatia and Hungary by train. The most popular routes connect from Vienna or Villach in Austria (in good weather, this journey past the Julian Alps is spectacular), from Budapest in Hungary and from Zagreb in Croatia. All lines converge on the capital Ljubljana.

Italian Railways has slashed the only remaining daytime cross-border service, only the night train to Venice is still running. To get around this poor connection, one can take a train to Nova Gorica (Slovenia) and then walk or take a bus to its neighboring town of Gorizia (Italy) from where there are frequent trains to Trieste, Udine, Venice and further afield. For trips to Trieste, it may be more advisable to take a train to Sežana and then take a taxi on to Trieste (about 10km, €10) or a connecting bus (3 times a day, weekdays only, €1).

English website of the Slovenian Railways company . There are numbers of international routes and special offers exist for some destinations, so you should consider informing yourself about that in advance. There are destinations, which have tickets on contingency basis, meaning that they could run out fast, but are usually a lot cheaper, such as Ljubljana - Prague line (cooperation between SŽ and Czech railways), €58 for a return ticket (compared to a normal price of €200). For return trips originating in Slovenia, "City Star" tickets, which are open-dated, but usually require a weekend stay, are often the cheapest choice. Also, be aware that you also receive a discount with the Euro
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"Slovenia" ( ), officially the "Republic of Slovenia" (, ), is a country in Central Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy on the west, the Adriatic Sea on the southwest, Croatia on the
/person| blank2_name = Households| blank2_info = 17,391| blank3_name = Families| blank3_info = 13,879| website =| footnotes = Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of
The Karstic cave system at "" (, ) is a town and a municipality in the traditional region of Inner Carniola, 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Trieste, in southwestern Slovenia. Population 14,581 (2002). istorThe area is known to have been populated
/person|blank2_name =Households|blank2_info =11,443|blank3_name =Families|blank3_info =9,659|website = |footnotes = Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, census
"" is a town and a municipality in Slovenia, located in the Sava River Valley. The town is home to about 7,000 people while the population of the municipality is about 15,000 (in 2006 the municipality was split). It is located about halfway between
"" is a municipality south of Ljubljana, in central Slovenia. It belongs to the traditional region of Lower Carniola. Famous inhabitants include the Slovenian-American writer Louis Adamic and Slovenia"s former Prime Minister Janez Janša.Panoramic
 
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