Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a state in Central Europe at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. It si a full member of the European Union since 2004. It borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast and Hungary to the northeast (more information / video).
Relative to its geography, history, economy, culture, and language, it is a very diverse country distinguished by a transitional character. It occupies an exceptional position at the meeting point of the Alps and Mediterranean, and includes the mysterious Karst and expansive Pannonian plains. Geographical diversity - mountains, forests, sea - makes the region attractive to many. In Slovenia, you can swim in the sea in the morning and climb mountains in the afternoon. Historically, it’s been a well-established trade route between Europe and Asia and an important seaport for trade along the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas.
Slovene is the official national language but Italian, Hungarian, and Romani are legally protected for the minorities. Slovenian is a South Slavic language and one of the few Indo-European languages that has preserved its dual (grammatical number). One of the major challenges faced by the Slovenian language at the beginning of the 21st century was Slovenia’s accession to the European Union, whereby Slovenian obtained the status of one of the EU official languages. Universities offer Slovenian courses for students to meet their specific neeeds. All interested foreigners can also learn Slovenian language online (freely accessible).
Since the earliest times the diverse and rich natural and cultural traditions have fostered the creativity of writers and artists. »Like heaven under Triglav«, as Slovenia was described by Ivan Cankar, one of the giants of Slovenian literature.
Triglav is the highest mountain in Slovenia (Photo: Dejan Jelušič)
Slovenia is a member of all the major international organisations, including the European Union and NATO. In the first half of 2008, it was also the first of the new Member States to hold the EU Presidency. In the second half of 2021, Slovenia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time.
In Slovenia the natural world is dominated by green, while the country features diversity and contours in all regions. Two thirds of Slovenia are covered with forests. Slovenia’s forests are exceptional in their biodiversity, which includes around 19,000 species of animal. Only Finland and Sweden have a higher percentage of forestland than Slovenia’s 58.9%. 37% of territory is protected as Natura 2000. Slovenia has one of the highest numbers of undeground caves in the world in terms of country area. Number of endemic animals called proteus or „human fish“ live in them. This rare and mysterious species have the ability to fully recover after injury and even restore missing body parts.
Human fish (Photo: Archive I feel Slovenia)
Perhaps the most notable of Slovenia’s animals is the Lipizzan horse, beloved around the world for its extraordinary beauty and exceptional performance in entertainment and sports performances.
Lipizzan horses (Photo: Archive I feel Slovenia)
From the coastlines to the Alps, Slovenia provides a diversity in geography and climate that is rarely found elsewhere. Its temperate climate is held in check by four major geographical features that buffer harsh winter extremes and a sea coast that replaces extreme summer heat with the balmy weather Slovenians love. Higher elevations do see snow in the winter, however, but mountain ranges surrounding the nation shields it from the high winds experienced elsewhere in Europe.
Piran (Photo: Archive I feel Slovenia)
Bled (Photo: Archive I feel Slovenia)
SOCIETYBy European standards, Slovenia enjoys a low population density. Its whole-hearted embrace of the arts puts Slovenia at the top of the map for cultural diversity celebrated in grand style. So popular are events involving song and dance, prose and poetry, theater and film, food and fun. The city of Maribor was commemorated as the EU Capital of Culture in 2012.
Sports fans love studying in Slovenia, where the geography and climate provide the ideal playing field for many team and individual sports. The celebration of indoor and outdoor sports, summer and winter, has paid off for Slovenia, which claims 88 Olympic and 48 Paraolympic medals.
More than 450 years old vine in Maribor protected as a natural monument and listed as the oldest vine in the world in the Guinness Book of Records (Photo: Archive I feel Slovenia)
Slovenia remains one of the richest Slavic states, with a GDP of $22,123 per capita. Prosperity levels vary widely across the country, though. Roughly two-thirds of the population is employed by the service industry and the remaining one-third by construction and industry (mainly automobile, electric / electronic equipment, hi-tech, machinery, pharmaceuticals, fuels, turism). Opportunities for work after graduation are plentiful.
FACTS ABOUT SLOVENIA
Heart in the vineyard (Photo: Archive I feel Slovenia)