Slovenia -- Geography --
Official Name: Republic of Slovenia
Capital City: Ljubljana
Languages: Slovenian (official), others
Official Currency: Tolar
Religions: Catholic, others
Population: 1,977,000. The population of Slovenia in 2005 was 2,011,070, giving it an overall population density of 99 persons per sq km (257 per sq mi). Slovenes, a Slavic ethnic group, constitute about 88 percent of the republicís population. Some 51 percent of all Slovenes live in urban areas, particularly in Ljubljana (population, 2002, 265,881) and Maribor (110,668), the republicís two largest cities.
Land Area: 20,250 sq km
Landforms: Over 40% of the land is mountainous as the Alps extend across northern Slovenia. The Julian and Savinja ranges run along its borders with Austria and Italy.
Central and south, the balance of land is mixture of high hills and valleys,
covered by green forests. Major rivers include the Drava and Sava.
Land Divisions: 136 municipalities, 11 urban municipalities.
Slovenia -- History --
Slavic ancestors of the present-day Slovenians settled in the area in the 6th century. The Slavic Duchy of Carantania was formed in the 7th century. In 745, Carantania lost its independence, being largely subsumed into the Frankish empire. Many Slavs converted to Christianity.
The Freising manuscripts, the earliest surviving written documents in a Slovenian dialect and the first ever Slavic document in Latin script, were written around 1000. During the 14th century, most of Slovenia's regions passed into ownership of the Habsburgs whose lands later formed the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with Slovenians inhabiting all or most of the provinces of Carniola, Gorizia and Gradisca, and parts of the provinces of Istria, Carinthia and Styria.
In 1848 a strong programme for a united Slovenia emerged as part of the "Spring of Nations" movement within Austria.
With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918, Slovenians initially formed part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, which shortly joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed (1929) the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the re-establishment of Yugoslavia at the end of World War II, Slovenia became a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, officially declared on 29 November 1945. Present-day Slovenia was formed on 25 June 1991 upon its independence from Yugoslavia. Slovenia joined NATO on 29 March 2004 and the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Slovenia -- Economy --
Rich in resources, naturally good looking and persistently peaceful, Slovenia has been doing just fine (flourishing, even) since breaking away from its Yugoslav owners in 1991. Prior to independence Slovenia was the most prosperous of the six Yugoslav republics. However, the wars that took place in the region during the early and mid-1990s seriously affected Sloveniaís economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was $6,052 in 1992, a sharp decline from the pre-independence figure of $8,658 in 1990. Trade with other countries and tourism were also limited by the war, and the large population of war refugees was a further drain on the economy. In recent years, economic leaders have made efforts to turn the economy around, implementing market and bank reforms and promoting privatization. The presence of a non-Communist government since 1990, along with the republicís sound infrastructure and skilled workforce, helped reverse the downward trend. The GDP began to grow in 1993, and by 1995 was increasing at 5 percent a year. Inflation slowed, and unemployment decreased to a rate lower than many countries of Western Europe. In 2003 the GDP had increased to $27.7 billion, or $13,910 per person.
Culture and Communications:
Films and cinema:
Seats per 1000 inhabitants: 12.05
Annual attendance per inhabitant: 0.99
Book production (Total): 3 450
Daily Newspapers: Total Average Circulation (or Copies Printed) per 1000 inhabitants: 168.4
National libraries (registered users): 11 279
Phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants: 127.77 2003
Computers: 650,000 2003
Internet hosts: 42,888 2003
Internet users: 800,000 2003
Internet subscribers: 240,471 2003
Radio households: 627,000 2002
TV households: 620,000 2002
Slovenia Tolars (SIT) United States Dollars
1.00 SIT 0.00393252 USD
254.290 SIT 1 USD
Science & Technology:
Researchers per 1,000,000 inhabitants 2 364
Expenditure on R&D as a % of GDP 1.5
Budget: US$5-10 Mid-range: US$10-15 Top-end: US$15 and upwards
Budget: US$5-30 Mid-range: US$30-50 Top-end: US$50 and upwards
WorldGuide Index Prices
litre of petrol SIT195.00
small bottle of water SIT230.00
souvenir t-shirt SIT3,000.00
car hire per day SIT10,700.00
1.5 litre bottle of water SIT100.00
half litre of Lasko beer from supermarket SIT165.00
cup of coffee SIT200.00
half litre of Lasko beer in a bar SIT400.00
street snack (burek) per filling slab SIT400.00
Nowadays, Slovenia is a high-income economy which enjoys the highest GDP per capita (US$21,567 in 2005) of the newly joined EU countries. The country has a relatively high rate of inflation (3.6% in 2004) when compared to the European Union average, even though inflation is expected to decline in 2005 to 2.5%. Slovenia's economy grew impressively in 2004, by 4.6%, after relatively slow growth in 2003 (2.5%).
Unemployment: 6.4% (2004)
Arable land: 9% (2004)
Labor force: 870,000; agriculture 6%, industry 40%, services 55% (2002).
Overall, the country is on a sound economic footing. However, much work remains to be done in the areas of privatization and capital market reform.
During 2000, privatisations were seen in the banking, telecomminucations, and public utility sectors. Restrictions on foreign investment are slowly being dismantled, and foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to increase over the next two years. Slovenia can be considered one of the economic front-runners of the countries that joined the European Union in 2004.
The Slovenian government currently intends to adopt the euro as the country's currency from 1 January 2007.
Industry constituted 36 percent of GDP in Slovenia in 2002. The republicís chief industries produce electrical equipment, processed food, textiles, paper and paper products, chemicals, and wood products. Agriculture accounts for 3 percent of GDP, with dairy farming and livestock dominating this sector. Major crops include cereals such as corn and wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, and fruits (particularly grapes). Germany is by far Sloveniaís most important trading partner in both exports and imports. The other leading countries buying Slovenian goods are Croatia, Italy, France, and Austria. Exports include electrical machinery, road vehicles, chemicals and chemical products, footwear, and furniture. Tourism is also a major source of revenue, with popular resorts at Lake Bled and in the mountains. Revenues from tourism rebounded in 1994 to increase by 8 percent over prewar levels. The largest number of visitors are from Italy, Germany, and Austria.
Transportation and Tourism:
Slovenia has an excellent transportation network. It contained 20,250 km (12,583 mi) of roads in 2002, and its largest cities are connected by railroads. There are also three major airports and a port at Koper on the Adriatic Sea. In October 1991 the republic released its own currency, the tolar, to replace the Yugoslav dinar (207 tolars equal U.S.$1; 2003 average).
Tourism to Slovenia has taken off recently with the launch of cheap Easyjet flights from western Europe to Ljubljana. Slovenia's national airline, Adria Airways, has nonstop flights between Ljubljana's Brnik airport and practically every major city in Europe, as well as from Tel Aviv. There's a departure tax of 11.00 for passengers leaving by air, which is usually included in the ticket price.
Buses travel between Slovenia and Italy daily, using Nova Gorica in Slovenia as the easiest exit and entry point. Koper also has good bus connections with Italy: some 17 buses a day go to and from Trieste, 21km (13mi) to the northeast. It's also easy to travel by bus to and from Hungary, Croatia, Austria and Yugoslavia. The main train routes into Slovenia come from Salzburg (four to five hours away), Trieste (three hours), Vienna (six hours) and Zagreb (two to three hours). Trains between Amsterdam and Ljubljana take 18 hours. There are dozens of international border crossings if travelling by car, motorcycle, bicycle or even on foot.
On weekends between April and mid-October, it's possible to sail between Venice and Izola (one of Slovenia's Adriatic coast towns) by catamaran.
Slovenia -- Culture --
The Slovene government requires that all children attend school between the ages of 7 and 14. Almost all Slovenes over the age of ten can read and write, and 66 percent of students receive postsecondary or higher levels of education. There are 30 institutions of higher education in Slovenia; among them is the University of Ljubljana, which was founded in 1595.
Slovenia (Slovenian Slovenija), republic in southeastern Europe, in the Balkan Peninsula, bounded on the north by Austria, on the northeast by Hungary, on the southeast and south by Croatia, and on the west by Italy and the Adriatic Sea. Formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia, Slovenia proclaimed its independence in June 1991.
Slovenia's most beloved writer is the Romantic poet France Preseren (1800-49), whose lyric poems set new standards for Slovenian literature and helped raise national consciousness. Since WWII, many Slovenian folk traditions have been lost, but compilations by the trio Trutamora Slovenica go back to the roots of Slovenian folk music. Popular music runs the gamut, but it was punk in the late 1970s and early 1980s that grabbed straitlaced Slovenia by the collar and shook it up. Postmodernist painting and sculpture has been dominated since the 1980s by the multimedia group Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) and the five-member anonymous artists' cooperative IRWIN. Many notable buildings and public squares in Slovenia were designed by architect Joze Plecnik (1872-1957), whose image adorns the 500 SIT note.
Slovenian cuisine, which traditionally relies heavily on venison and fish, is heavily influenced by that of its neighbours. From Austria, it's klobasa (sausage), zavitek (strudel) and Dunajski zrezek (Wiener schnitzel). Njoki (potato dumplings), rizota (risotto) and the ravioli-like zlikrofi are Italian. Hungary has contributed golaz (goulash) and paprikas (chicken or beef stew). And then there's an old Balkan standby, burek, a greasy layered cheese, meat or even apple pie served at takeaway places. There are many types of dumplings; cheese ones called struklji are the most popular. Traditional dishes are best tried at an inn (gostilna). Slovenia produces some noticeable red and white wines, a strong brandy called zganje and Union and Zlatorog brand beers, which are very popular.
Austrian Empress Maria Theresa's educational reforms of the 18th century produced a reading public for the eloquent Romantic poet France Preöeren. “he novelist Ivan Cankar and the poet Oton Zupancic, were the first of a long list of politically influential writers. Among interwar figures were the harshly realistic novelist Prezihov Voranc and the avant-gardist Srecko Kosovel. Poet Edvard Kocbek stood out during and after World War II; an antifascist, he suffered at the hands of ex-comrades. Postwar literary celebrities include Ciril Zlobec, Niko Grafenauer, and Drago Jancar.
Music and the visual arts also have a valuable heritage. Slovenes are particularly proud of the Renaissance composer Jakob Petelin Gallus-Carniolus, known in the German-speaking world as Jacob Handl. Theater and the media are remarkably creative. An valuable, internationally active cultural group is the century-old Slovene Mother Bee.
The International Summer Festival is the nation's premier cultural celebration, featuring music, theatre and dance performances in Ljubljana and Bled during the months of July and August. Maribor's Lent Festival, in late June or early July, celebrates foklore, culture and music. The Cows' Ball (Kravji Bal) in Bohinj is a kitschy weekend of eating, drinking and folk dancing in mid-September to mark the return of the cows to the valleys from their high pastures. It doesn't get any more Slovenian than this.
January and March bring ski competitions - the January Women's World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom Competition is one of the major ski events for women, held on the slopes southwest of Maribor. In March, the Ski Jumping World Championships host three days of high flying in Planica. In between the two, there's a rite of spring called Kurentovanje, held every February for 10 days up to Shrove Tuesday. This is the most popular Mardi Gras celebration in Slovenia; most of the festivities are centered in and around Ptuj.
Many Slovenian cities and towns bear the imprint of the Habsburg Empire and the Venetian Republic, while up in the Julian Alps you'd almost think you were in Bavaria. The relative affluence of this country on the 'sunny side of the Alps' is immediately apparent.
Language: Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, German, English, Italian
Religion: Roman Catholic (72%), atheist (4.3%), Eastern Orthodox Christian (2.4%), Muslim (1%), Protestant (1%)
Slovenia -- Life style --
Slovenia's main ethnic group are Slovenians (83%). Nationalities from the former Yugoslavia form 6% 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.
With 99 inhabitants per square kilometre (256/sq mi), Slovenia ranks low among the European countries in population density (compare with 320/km? (829/sq mi) for the Netherlands or 195/km? (505/sq mi) for Italy). The Notranjsko-kraska 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 language in the ethnically mixed regions along the Hungarian and Italian border.
By religion, Slovenians have traditionally been largely Roman Catholic (71.6% in 1991), although the number of followers has been falling in the last decades (57.8% in 2002).
Slovenia -- Political system, law and government --
Government Type: Parliamentary democratic republic
President: Janez Drnovsek (2002)
Prime Minister: Janez Jansa (2004)
Since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia has instituted a stable, multi-party, democratic political system, characterized by regular elections, a free press, and an excellent human rights record. Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic. Within its government, power is shared between a directly elected president, a prime minister, and a bicameral legislature (Parliament). Parliament is composed of the 90-member National Assembly--which takes the lead on virtually all legislative issues--and the National Council, a largely advisory body composed of representatives from social, economic, professional, and local interests. Assembly members serve four-year terms, and council members serve five-year terms. The parliament is headed by the prime minister, Sloveniaís true head of government, who is elected to a four-year term by the assembly. The country also has a president, who is elected to a five-year term by popular vote. The Slovenian constitution was adopted in December 1991.
Slovenia's first President, Milan Kucan, concluded his second and final term in December 2002. Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek defeated opposition candidate Barbara Brezigar in the 2002 presidential elections by a comfortable margin, and was inaugurated as Kucan's successor on December 22, 2002. Finance Minister Anton Rop succeeded Drnovsek as Prime Minister in December 2002. His governing coalition commands an almost two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The government, most of the Slovenian polity, shares a common view of the desirability of a close association with the West, specifically of membership in both the European Union and NATO. Slovene society is built on consensus, which has converged on a social-democrat model. Political differences tend to have their roots in the roles that groups and individuals played during the years of communist rule and the fight for freedom.
Slovenia has a multiparty system of government. The countryís leading parties include the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), the Slovenian Peopleís Party, the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, the Christian Democratic Party, United List, the Slovenian National Party, the Democratic Party of Slovenia, and Greens of Slovenia.
Slovenia has eight trial courts, four appellate courts, and a Supreme Court. The Assembly appoints all judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court. Slovenia has an extensive network of social service programs sponsored by the government, including low-cost medical coverage and retirement pensions. The Constitutional Court has the highest power of review of legislation to ensure its consistency with Slovenia's constitution. Its nine judges are elected by the National Assembly for single 9-year terms.
The Slovenian Government is well-positioned to be an influential role model for other southeast European governments at different stages of reform and integration. To these ends, the United States urges Slovenia to maintain momentum on internal economic, political, and legal reforms, while expanding their international cooperation as resources allow. U.S. and allied efforts to assist Slovenia's military restructuring and modernization efforts are ongoing.
Military branches: Slovenian Army (includes Air and Naval Forces)
Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 523,336 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 416,237 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 14,513 (2001 est.)
The republic employed an army of 6,550 active-duty soldiers in 2003, with a large reserve force.
Slovenia enjoys excellent relations with the United States and cooperates with it actively on a number of fronts. From 1998 to 2000, Slovenia occupied a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council and in that capacity distinguished itself with a constructive, creative, and consensus-oriented activism. Slovenia has been a member of the United Nations since May 1992 and of the Council of Europe since May 1993. Slovenia signed an association agreement with the European Union in 1996 and is a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement. Slovenia also is a member of all major international financial institutions--the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Central European Initiative (CEI)--as well as 40 other international organizations, among them the WTO, of which it is a founding member. In 2002 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) offered membership to Slovenia, which formally joined NATO in 2004. Slovenia also has signed defense accords with Austria and Hungary.