Table of Contents
- History of Slovenia
- Traditions that are unique to the history of Slovenia
- Where is it located
- How to get to Slovenia from the US?
- What is the time difference between Slovenia and the US?
- What makes Slovenia special?
- What is the capital of Slovenia?
- The most popular city
- What is Slovenia famous for?
- Thermal water
- Alpine Slovenia
|Republic of Slovenia||Quick facts|
|Located in||Southern Europe|
|Administrative divisions||200 municipalities and 11 urban municipalities|
|Area||7827 sq mi|
|Population||2.078.938 (2020 data)|
|ISO Alpha-2 Code||SI|
|ISO Alpha-3 Code||SVN|
|ISO Numeric Code||705|
|GDP||$52.881 million 2021 estimate|
|Time Zone||CET (UTC+1)|
History of Slovenia
Even if the state of Slovenia was officially created as we know it today, in the year 1945, as part of Yugoslavia, the history of this land goes way further than in the past. Slovenian territory was documented from the 5th century B.C. until the present day.
Along with the impressive history of this territory, many cities of the Roman Empire were established on Slovenian territory. The western part of nowadays Slovenia was the X region Venetia et Histria of the Roman Empire. Some important cities of the Roman Empire that were located on Slovenian territory were Poetovio, Celeia, and Emona. Rome left this region of Slovenia by the 5th century.
After the 5th century, the territory of Slovenia became an important part of the Ostrogothic Empire and down history, it became contested by other powers such as the Byzantine Empire, as well as the Lombards.
Slovenia is a term that defines the “land of slavs” and it is the land with the highest number of slovens. However, Slovens are an ethnicity that is spread all over the world, from Argentina, Italy, Hungary, and Germany as well as other European countries to the United States. Cleveland Ohio, USA is known as being the American city with the largest number of slovens that moved there and developed large families and prosperous lives. Many slovens decided to leave their homeland under the fear of communism that followed the Second World War.
In 1918, Slovens, Croats, and Serbs created Yugoslavia and in 1945, the state of Slovenia was formed as part of Federal Yugoslavia. Further ahead, in 1991, Slovenia gained its independence from Yugoslavia and became its nation. Yugoslavia never had its nationality, culture, or language. Nowadays, Slovenia is an important member of both NATO and the European Union.
Traditions that are unique to the history of Slovenia
With such an impressive history that affected the borders of the country, the culture evolved significantly as well. If you are attracted to unique traditions, you will love Slovenia and its originality.
The 30th of April is the day of bonfires in Slovenia. In the past, bonfires were part of mystical rituals as they were thought to help the sun get stronger during the spring months. Starting with the 1890s when Labor Day started to be celebrated on the 1st of May, Slovens used the 30th of April to celebrate workers’ rights with bonfires. In the present day, bonfires are not so symbolic anymore but they are still lit as a social event every end of April.
During every spring, Slovens bless their motorcycles. The priest comes to a gathering of motorcycle owners and blesses each vehicle individually so that the owner will stay safe from accidents and other hazards. These yearly events are organized by the local Motorcycle clubs and they can be very small or very complex, depending on the town they are hosted in.
Slovens also choose a Wine Queen every year. There are selected judges that decide who the Wine Queen will be from the participants that have to know how to taste the wine and present the wine. Usually, Wine Queens are young girls that will represent the national wine at events and make sure it is promoted as well as possible. You might be able to witness this competition if you find yourself in the country and you will have a unique experience! The contest takes place in September of every year but the date varies.
If you want to visit Slovenia, you might be interested in the International Festival of Roasted Potatoes. This festival was started 16 years ago and it seems to grow bigger and bigger every year. Potato lovers come to it from all over the country and from many other countries as well. This event takes place in different cities each year and the potatoes are always the main dish, with meat being a side dish. You can find over 30 different potato dishes and the atmosphere is always fun.
Where is it located
Slovenia is a country in Central Europe, that borders the Adriatic Sea, Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Croatia. Its official language is Slovenian, but being a country with a rich tourism sector, most locals speak English, as well as Italian and German.
This country prides itself on having over 60% of its land covered in old forests. Wild nature and the feel of rustic culture are the main ingredients to an authentic Slovenian experience.
How to get to Slovenia from the US?
USA’s citizens don’t need a visa if they plan on staying for less than 90 days. The country is easily accessible by plane with connecting flights from London, Zagreb, or other big airports to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
What is the time difference between Slovenia and the US?
Because of its location, the time difference between Slovenia and Washington DC is 6 hours.
The currency you’ll need is Euro, but Americans won’t have a hard time getting used to it, because its value is similar to the dollar.
Once there you’ll find yourself in one of the cleanest and most charming countries in the world.
What makes Slovenia special?
Its diversity. The country is considered to be a hidden gem of Europe, that managed to preserve its natural beauty while advancing like the rest of the European countries. Ljubljana was awarded the European Green Capital of 2016, thanks to the preservation efforts for its forests and biodiversity.
Slovenians are used to living in harmony with everything that surrounds them and you’ll be able to notice that really fast just by walking down the street.
The geographical location of Slovenia that puts it between the sea and the mountains, gives tourists the chance to hike and sunbathe on the beach in the same day. Let’s look at some unique destinations Slovenia offers.
What is the capital of Slovenia?
The capital of Slovenia is Ljublijana. The city focuses on the use of green energy while preserving its medieval architecture and feel. Clean, fresh, and modern at the same time, Ljubljana has a strict recycling strategy and uses electric taxis with zero emissions. A big part of the city is dedicated to pedestrians and it has no traffic. As one of the headquarters for students, the city has a young population and plenty of things to do.
Ljubljana, the capital of the country, is also one of its most beautiful cities. This capital looks different from other European capitals as it is surrounded by green areas and a gorgeous river that gives it a very fresh and pleasant vibe. You will be impressed by the dragon statues that can be found across the city and the castle that is right at the top, giving it a very medieval appearance. The city is guarded by mountain tops which give you the feeling of being in nature, even if you are in a European capital.
And if you find yourself in Ljubljana, it is worth it to go to Bled too as it is very close to the capital. Bled is only 45 minutes by car and it hosts the most beautiful lake in the country, Lake Bled. The city looks like it comes straight from the medieval world, with gothic and renaissance architecture and plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy your time at. It is a small city that will steal your heart from the first time you walk into it.
Anywhere you choose to go in Slovenia, there will be something to admire. The entire country is the perfect mix between modernism and great pieces of history such as medieval castles and statues and the mountains and nature views are breathtaking.
This beautiful country has a temperate climate and a sub-Mediterranean one thanks to its vicinity to the Adriatic Sea. Even though Slovenia has a coastline of just 26 miles, the beautiful Venetian towns, and the natural locations make up for it by being in proximity to each other.
The most popular city
Piran is one of the most well-known towns on Slovenia’s Adriatic coast, full of Gothic and medieval architecture, that was influenced by the style of Venice, which it tries to mirror. The city is perched on a hill and has numerous stairwells that decent right on the beach.
The other two coastal towns, Koper and Izola, are under an hour’s drive away.
What is Slovenia famous for?
Slovenia’s coast is also famous for its vineyards. Brda and the Valley of Vipava are the main places where Slovenian wine is produced. Not only that you’ll have the chance to do some authentic wine tasting when visiting it, but you’ll be greeted by green rustic sceneries.
This part of the land has pleasant weather all year-round which makes it a perfect tourist destination for those who love spending time outdoors. Just make sure to bring hiking shoes. If you move a little inland you’ll get to discover the Karst region, which is famous for its caves and natural tunnels. The Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO heritage site, were created by the Reka river, and they form an underground canyon, which is actually Europe’s biggest canyon. Križna Cave delights its visitors with its underwater lakes.
On the surface, in the fields of the Karst, you can find the Lipica Stud Farm which is very appreciated by Slovenians and people all over the world for its white horses. In fact, locals all over the country strive to protect the authentic countryside, while allowing tourists to visit it.
Over 850 farms have their doors open to the public and gently educate travelers about organic farming, traditional dishes, and protecting the wild. Families with children have a lot to win from spending their vacation with a local family in the countryside of Slovenia.
Covering about a quarter of Slovenia’s territory, these lands have a mystical feel about them. Slovenia’s water is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world. 13 spas and health resorts are found among medieval castles, monasteries, vineyards, and rolling hills, in the middle of nature. This part of the country will inspire you to treasure your body and mind.
For thousands of years, thermal water has been said to have medicinal properties. While enjoying a relaxing day at the spa, take advantage of the local food made with organic, sustainable ingredients.
The Alps that run through Slovenia are tourist-friendly, and they allow hiking, skiing, kayaking, and much more. The beauty of the Alps is renowned. Home of the Triglav National Park, the mountains are a conservation area for cultural heritage and local biodiversity. Even though it’s open to the public, tourists are asked to follow the guidelines and restrictions in order to help preserve this natural monument. For example, the beautiful Kozjak waterfall on Soča river, must not be used for bathing, in order to preserve its pristine waters and not disturb the ecosystem.
The Alps are the perfect location for tourists to understand the connection between the natural world and the locals, the respect they have for it, and their continued devotion to protecting it.
Slovenia bares an impressive history that brought it to the borders the country has today. You will be fascinated not only by the places you visit but also by the stories people have to tell, dating from different historical eras. Locals are very friendly and they are looking forward to foreigners visiting their beautiful country. The dishes in the Slovenian cuisine should also be on your to-try list as they can bring you to taste flavors you never experienced before. Open yourself to an incredible experience as you visit Slovenia and you will want to come back for more!