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définition - Slovenia

Slovenia (n.)

1.a mountainous republic in central Europe; formerly part of the Habsburg monarchy and Yugoslavia; achieved independence in 1991

2.(MeSH)Created 7 April 1992 as a result of the division of Yugoslavia.

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synonymes - Slovenia

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Slovenia (n.)

Slovenian

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Wikipedia

Slovenia

                   
Republic of Slovenia
Republika Slovenija
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: 7th stanza of Zdravljica,
melody by Stanko Premrl1
 
Zdravljica.ogg

Location of  Slovenia  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Slovenia  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
(and largest city)
Ljubljana
46°03′N 14°30′E / 46.05°N 14.5°E / 46.05; 14.5
Official language(s) Slovene2
Ethnic groups (2002) 83.1% Slovenes,
2.0% Serbs,
1.8% Croats,
1.1% Bosniaks, 12.0% others and unspecified[1]
Demonym Slovenian, Slovene
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
 -  President Danilo Türk
 -  Prime Minister Janez Janša
Legislature Parliament
 -  Upper house National Council
 -  Lower house National Assembly
Establishment
 -  Independence of SHS from Austria–Hungary 29 October 1918 
 -  Co-founded Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia) 4 December 1918 
 -  Yugoslavia becomes Republic 29 November 1943 
 -  Independence from Yugoslavia 25 June 1991[2] 
Area
 -  Total 20,273 km2 (153rd)
7,827 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.7[3]
Population
 -  2011 estimate 2,050,189[4] (145th)
 -  2002 census 1,964,036 
 -  Density 101[5]/km2 (106th)
262/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $57.892 billion[6] 
 -  Per capita $28,641[6] 
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $49.588 billion[6] 
 -  Per capita $24,533[6] 
Gini (2007) 28.4 (low
HDI (2011) increase 0.884 [7] (very high) (21st)
Currency Euro ()3 (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code SI
Internet TLD .si4
Calling code 386
1As defined by the Act Regulating the Coat-of-Arms, Flag and Anthem of the Republic of Slovenia and the Flag of the Slovene Nation ("Zakon o grbu, zastavi in himni Republike Slovenije ter o slovenski narodni zastavi") from 1994 and published on the web page of the National Assembly of Slovenia.[8][9][10]
2 Italian and Hungarian are recognised as official languages in the residential areas of the Italian or Hungarian national community.
3 Prior to 2007: Slovenian tolar.
4 Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Slovenia (Listeni/slˈvniə/ sloh-VEE-nee-ə, Slovene: Slovenija), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Republika Slovenija, About this sound [reˈpublika sloˈveːnija]) is a Slavic nation state,[11] situated in South-Central Europe,[11][Note 1] at the crossroad of main European cultural and trade routes.[16][17] It borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Hungary to the northeast.[18] It covers 20,273 square kilometres (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.05 million.[19] It is a parliamentary republic[20] and a member of the European Union and NATO.[21] Relative to its geography, history, economy, culture, and language, it is a very diverse country distinguished by a transitional character.[22] It is characterised by a high economic and social level.[23] Its capital and largest city is Ljubljana.[24]

The territory of Slovenia is mainly hilly or mountainous[25] and has a mosaic structure and an exceptionally high landscape[26] and biological[27][28] diversity, which are a result of natural attributes and the long-lasting presence of humans.[29] Four major European geographic units interweave here: the Alps, the Dinaric Alps, the Mediterranean, with a small portion of coastline along the Adriatic Sea, and the Pannonian Plain.[25][26] The climate is temperate and significantly influenced by the variety of territory, with a strong interaction of the continental climate, the sub-Mediterranean climate and Alpine climate across most of the country.[30] The country is one of the water-richest in Europe,[31] with a dense river network, a rich aquifer system, and significant karstic underground watercourses.[32] Over half of the territory is covered by forest.[33]

The settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven.[34] The Slavic, Germanic, Romance and Uralic linguistic and cultural groups meet here.[35][36][37] The dominant population is Slovene, although it has almost never been homogenous.[38] Slovene is the only official language throughout the country, whereas Italian and Hungarian are regional minority languages. Slovenia is a largely secularised country,[39] but its culture and identity have been significantly influenced by Roman Catholicism as well as Lutheranism.[40] The economy of Slovenia is small, open, export-oriented[41] and subsequently, heavily influenced by international circumstances.[42] It has been severely hurt by the European economic crisis, started in late 2000s.[43] The main economic field is services, followed by industry and construction.[44] Many Slovenians reach top sport successes, particularly in winter sports, water sports, mountaineering, and endurance sports.[45]

Historically, the current territory of Slovenia was part of many different state formations, including the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1918, the Slovenes exercised self-determination for the first time by co-founding the internationally unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, which merged into Yugoslavia. During World War II, Slovenia was occupied and annexed by Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Croatia,[46] only to emerge afterwards as a founding member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In June 1991, after the introduction of multi-party representative democracy, Slovenia became an independent country.[2] In 2004, it entered NATO and the European Union, in 2007 became the first former Communist country to join the Eurozone,[47] and in 2010 joined the OECD, a global association of high-income developed countries.[48]

Contents

  History

  Prehistory to Slavic settlement

  Remains of a Stone Age human residence were found in Potok Cave (center-left) on Mount Olševa in the 1920s and the 1930s. This marks the beginning of Paleolithic research in Slovenia.[49]

Slovene territory was inhabited in prehistoric times and there is evidence of human habitation around 250,000 years ago. A pierced cave bear bone, probably the oldest known musical instrument in the world, has been discovered in Divje Babe cave near Cerkno, dating from the Würm glacial age when the area was inhabited by Neanderthals,[50] and the oldest needle, pierced bones, bone points and other artifacts in Potok Cave, a high-elevation Aurignacian (36,000 – 25,000 BP BP) site on Mount Olševa,[51] belonging to the Cro-Magnon (modern human).[49] In the Ljubljana Marshes, the remains of pile dwellings, which existed in the region for over 4,500 years, from 5000 to 500 BC, now protected as UNESCO World Heritage Site, have been discovered,[52] as well as the oldest wooden wheel in the world, dated to between 5,100 and 5,350 years ago.[53] In the transition period between the Bronze age to the Iron age, the Urnfield culture flourished. Archeological remains dating from the Hallstatt period have been found particularly in southeastern Slovenia, among them a number of situlas in Novo Mesto, the "Town of Situlas".[54]

In the Iron Age, present-day Slovenia was inhabited by Illyrian and Celtic tribes until the 1st century BC, when the Romans conquered the region establishing the provinces of Pannonia and Noricum. What is now western Slovenia was included directly under Roman Italia as part of the X region Venetia et Histria. The Romans established posts at Emona (Ljubljana), Poetovio (Ptuj) and Celeia (Celje) and constructed trade and military roads that ran across Slovene territory from Italy to Pannonia. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the area was exposed to invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes during their incursions into Italy. After the departure of the last Germanic tribe – the Lombards – to Italy in 568, the Slavs from the East began to dominate the area with aid from Avars. After the successful resistance against the nomadic Asian Avar rule (from 623 to 626), the Slavic people united with King Samo’s tribal confederation. The confederation fell apart in 658 and the Slavic people, located in present-day Carinthia, formed the independent duchy of Carantania.[55] Other parts of Slovenia were again ruled by Avars before Charlemagne's victory over them in 803.

  The Middle Ages to Early Modern Period

  The installation of the Dukes in Carinthia, carried out in an ancient ritual in Slovene until 1414.

In the mid-8th century, Carantania became a vassal duchy under the rule of the Bavarians, who began spreading Christianity. Three decades later, the Carantanians were incorporated, together with the Bavarians, into the Carolingian Empire. During the same period Carniola, too, came under the Franks, and was Christianized from Aquileia. Following the anti-Frankish rebellion of Ljudevit Posavski at the beginning of the 9th century, the Franks removed the Carantanian princes, replacing them with their own border dukes. Consequently, the Frankish feudal system reached the Slovene territory.

  The Freising Manuscripts, dating from the 10th century, most probably written in upper Carinthia, are the oldest surviving documents in Slovene.

The Magyar invasion of the Pannonian Plain in the late 9th century effectively isolated the Slovene-inhabited territory from western Slavs. Thus, the Slavs of Carantania and of Carniola began developing into an independent Slovene ethnic group. After the victory of Emperor Otto I over the Magyars in 955, Slovene territory was divided into a number of border regions of the Holy Roman Empire. Carantania, being the most important, was elevated into the Duchy of Carinthia in 976. In the late Middle Ages the historic provinces of Carniola, Styria, Carinthia, Gorizia, Trieste and Istria developed from the border regions and incorporated into the medieval German state. The consolidation and formation of these historical lands took place in a long period between the 11th and 14th century being led by a number of important feudal families such as the Dukes of Spannheim, the Counts of Gorizia, the Counts of Celje and finally the House of Habsburg. In a parallel process, an intensive German colonization significantly diminished the extent of Slovene-speaking areas; by the 15th century, the Slovene ethnic territory was reduced to its present size.[56]

In the 14th century, most of the territory of Slovenia was taken over by the Habsburgs. The counts of Celje, a feudal family from this area who in 1436 acquired the title of state princes, were their powerful competitors for some time. This large dynasty, important at a European political level, had its seat in Slovene territory but died out in 1456. Its numerous large estates subsequently became the property of the Habsburgs, who retained control of the area right up until the beginning of the 20th century.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the Slovene Lands suffered a serious economic and demographic setback because of the Turkish raids. In 1515, a peasant revolt spread across nearly the whole Slovene territory and in 1572-3 the Croatian-Slovenian peasant revolt wrought havoc throughout the wider region. Uprisings, which often met with bloody defeats, continued throughout the 17th century.[56]

  Reformation and emergence of national identity

  Protestant preacher Primož Trubar, author of the first book in Slovene

The first mentions of a common Slovene ethnic identity, transcending regional boundaries, date from the 16th century,[57] when the Protestant Reformation spread throughout the Slovene Lands. During this period, the first books in Slovene were written by the Protestant preacher Primož Trubar and his followers, establishing the base for the development of standard Slovene. In the second half of the 16th century, numerous books were printed in Slovene, including an integral translation of the Bible by Jurij Dalmatin.

At the beginning of the 17th century, Protestantism was suppressed by the Habsburg-sponsored Counter Reformation, which introduced the new aesthetics of Baroque culture. The Enlightenment in the Habsburg monarchy brought significant social and cultural progress to the Slovene people. It hastened economic development and facilitated the appearance of a middle class. Under the reign of Maria Theresa and Emperor Joseph II (1765–1790) many reforms were undertaken in the administration and society, including land reforms, the modernization of the Church and compulsory primary education in Slovene (1774). The start of cultural-linguistic activities by Slovene intellectuals of the time brought about a national revival and the birth of the Slovene nation in the modern sense of the word. Before the Napoleonic Wars, some secular literature in Slovene emerged. During the same period, the first history of the Slovene Lands as an ethnic unity was written by Anton Tomaž Linhart, while Jernej Kopitar compiled the first comprehensive grammar of Slovene.[56]

  Peter Kozler's map of the Slovene Lands, designed during the Spring of Nations in 1848, became the symbol of the quest for a United Slovenia.

Between 1809 and 1813, Slovenia was part of the Illyrian Provinces, an autonomous province of the Napoleonic French Empire, with Ljubljana as the capital. Although the French rule was short-lived, it significantly contributed to the raise of national consciousness and political awareness of the Slovenes. After the fall of Napoleon, all Slovene Lands were once again included in the Austrian Empire. Gradually, a distinct Slovene national consciousness developed, and the quest for a political unification of all Slovenes became widespread. In the 1820s and 1840s, the interest in Slovene language and folklore grew enormously, with numerous philologists advancing the first steps towards a standardization of the language. Illyrian movement, Pan-Slavic and Austro-Slavic ideas gained importance. However, the intellectual circle around the philologist Matija Čop and the Romantic poet France Prešeren was influential in affirming the idea of Slovene linguistic and cultural individuality, refusing the idea of merging the Slovenes into a wider Slavic nation.

In 1840s, the Slovene national movement developed far beyond literary expression.[58] In 1848, the first Slovene national political program, called United Slovenia (Zedinjena Slovenija), was written in the context of the Spring of Nations movement within the Austrian Empire.[59] It demanded a unification of all Slovene-speaking territories in an autonomous kingdom, named Slovenija,[59] within the empire and an official status for the Slovene language.[60] Although the project failed,[59] it served as an important platform of Slovene political activity in the following decades,[61] particularly in at the turn of 1860s and 1870s, when mass Slovene rallies, named tabori, were organised.[62] The conflict between Slovene and German nationalists deepened.[63] In 1866, some Slovenes were left to Italy,[63] and in 1867, some remained in the Hungarian part of the Austria-Hungary. This significantly affected the nation and led to further radicalisation of the Slovene national movement.[64] In 1890s, the first Slovene political parties were established. All of them were loyal to Austria, but they were also espousing a common South Slavic cause.[63]

After 1848, Slovenes, who were still mostly farmers, enjoyed for the first time personal freedom. This brought economic insecurity, leading many to urban centres.[63] The construction of railroads began and industry developed considerably.[citation needed] After 1880, due to economic circumstances, hundreds of thousands of Slovenes emigrated to other countries,[63] mostly to the United States, but also to South America, Germany, Egypt, and to larger cities in the Austria-Hungary, especially Zagreb and Vienna. It has been calculated that around 300,000 Slovenes or one in six emigrated between 1880 and 1910. Despite this, the Slovene population increased significantly[63] and became as socially differentiated as in other European nations.[citation needed] Literacy was exceptionally high, at 80 to 90 percent.[63]

  World War I

  The village of Renče in the lower Vipava Valley, severely damaged during the Battles of the Isonzo

World War I resulted in heavy casualties for Slovenes, particularly on the twelve Battles of the Isonzo, which took place in what is nowadays Slovenia's western border area. Hundreds of thousands of Slovene conscripts were drafted in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and over 30,000 of them lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands of Slovenes from Gorizia and Gradisca were resettled in refugee camps in Italy and Austria. While the refugees in Austria received a decent treatment, the Slovene refugees in Italian camps were treated as state enemies, and several thousands died of malnutrition and diseases between 1915 and 1918.[65] Entire areas of the Slovenian Littoral were destroyed.

  In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia

  The proclamation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs at Congress Square in Ljubljana on 20 October 1918

The Slovene People's Party launched a movement for self-determination, demanding the creation of a semi-independent South Slavic state under Habsburg rule. The proposal was picked up by most Slovene parties, and a mass mobilization of Slovene civil society, known as the Declaration Movement, followed.[66] This proposal was rejected by the Austrian political elites, but following the dissolution of Austro-Hungarian Empire in the aftermath of the First World War, a National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs took power in Zagreb on 6 October 1918. On 29 October independence was declared by a national gathering in Ljubljana, and by the Croatian parliament, declaring the establishment of the new State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs.

On 1 December 1918 the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs merged with Serbia, becoming part of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, itself being renamed in 1929 to Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The main territory of Slovenia, being the most industrialized and westernized among other less developed parts of Yugoslavia became the main center of industrial production: in comparison to Serbia, for example, in Slovenia the industrial production was four times greater and even twenty-two times greater than in Yugoslav Macedonia. The interwar period brought a further industrialization in Slovenia, with a rapid economic growth in the 1920s followed by a relatively successful economic adjustment to the 1929 economic crisis.

Following a plebiscite in October 1920, Slovene-speaking southern Carinthia was ceded to Austria. With the Treaty of Trianon, on the other hand, Kingdom of Yugoslavia was awarded the Slovene-inhabited Prekmurje region, formerly part of Austro-Hungary, as well.

Slovenes whose territory fell under the rule of neighboring states Italy, Austria and Hungary, were subjected to policies of forced assimilation, and in case of Fascist Italy, violent Fascist Italianization.

  Fascist Italianization of Littoral Slovenes and resistance

  The Narodni dom, the Community Hall of ethnic Slovenes in Trieste, burned down by the Fascist squads in June 1920, became the symbol of Fascist Italianization.

The Slovenes living under territories annexed to Italy in 1920 (Slovenian Littoral) lacked any minorirty protection under international or domestic law.[67] Clashes between the local Slovene population on one side and the Italian authorities and Fascist squads on the other started already in 1920, culminating with the burning of the Narodni dom, the Slovenian National Hall of Trieste. After the Fascist takeover in 1922, a policy of violent Fascist Italianization followed, seeking to eradicate the Slovene middle class and the intelligentsia. Education in Slovene was abolished in 1923, Slovene surnames and personal names were Italianized between 1926 and 1932. By 1927, all Slovene associations were banned and all public use of Slovene was prohibited. Police violence was carried out against opponents of the Fascist regime. By the mid 1930s, around 70.000 Slovenes had fled the region, mostly to Yugoslavia and South America.

After the complete destruction of all Slovene minority organizations in Italy, the militant anti-fascist organizations TIGR was formed in 1927 in order to fight Fascist violence. Acts of anti-Fascist guerrilla continued throughout the late 1920s and 1930s.

  World War II and aftermath

  The Triglav cap was the most characteristic part of the Slovene Partisans uniform

On 6 April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis Powers. Slovenia was divided among the occupying powers: Fascist Italy occupied southern Slovenia and Ljubljana, Nazi Germany got northern and eastern Slovenia, while Horthy's Hungary was awarded the Prekmurje region. Some villages in Lower Carniola were annexed by the Independent State of Croatia.[46]

The Nazis started a policy of violent Germanisation. During the war, tens of thousands of Slovenes were resettled or chased away, imprisoned, or transported to labor, internment and extermination camps.[68] Many were sent into exile to Nedić's Serbia and Croatia. The numbers of Slovenes drafted to the German military and paramilitary formations has been estimated at 150,000 men and women,[69] almost a quarter of them lost their lives on various European battlefields, mostly on the Eastern Front.[citation needed] The Italian occupation authority in the Province of Ljubljana left Slovenes a significant cultural autonomy. The Province was annexed to Italy and the Fascist system was systematically introduced in the region.

In the summer of 1941, a resistance movement led by the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation, emerged in both the Italian and in the German occupation zones.[70] The resistance, pluralistic at the beginning, was gradually taken over by the Communist Party, as in the rest of occupied Yugoslavia.[70] Contrary to elsewhere in Yugoslavia, where on the freed territories the political life was organized by the military itself, the Slovene Partisans were subordinated to the civil political authority of the Front.[71] The guerilla warfare mostly took place in the Italian occupation zone. The Italian Army reacted[citation needed] with brutal repression, which included war crimes against the civilian population, including summary executions of civilians and destruction of whole villages. More than 30,000 Slovenes (around 7,5% of the whole population of the Province) were interned into the Rab and the Gonars concentration camps.[72][73][74]

  German soldiers executing a civilian near Medvode in Upper Carniola, in late August 1941

In the summer of 1942, a civil war between Slovenes broke out. The two fighting factions were the Slovenian Partisans and the Italian-sponsored anti-communist militia, known as the White Guard, later re-organized under Nazi command as the Slovene Home Guard. Small units of Slovenian Chetniks also existed in Lower Carniola and Styria. The Partisans were under the command of the Liberation Front (OF) and Tito's Yugoslav resistance, while the Slovenian Covenant served as the political arm of the anti-Communist militia.[citation needed] The civil war was mostly restricted to the Province of Ljubljana, where more than 80% of the Slovene anti-partisan units were active. Between 1943-1945, smaller anti-Communist militia existed in parts of the Slovenian Littoral and in Upper Carniola, while they were virtually non-existent in the rest of the country. By 1945, the total number of Slovene anti-Communist militamen reached 17,500.[75]

Immediately after the war, some 12,000 members of the Slovene Home Guard were killed in the Kočevski Rog massacres, while thousands of anti-communist civilians were killed in the first year after the war.[76] In addition, hundreds of ethnic Italians from the Julian March were killed by the Yugoslav Army and partisan forces in the Foibe massacres; some 27,000 Istrian Italians fled Slovenian Istria from Communist persecution in the so-called Istrian exodus. Members of the ethnic German minority either fled or were expelled from Slovenia.

The overall number of World War II casualties in Slovenia is estimated at 97,000. The number includes about 14,000 people, who were killed or died for other war-related reasons immediately after the end of the war,[76][77] and the tiny Jewish community, which was nearly annihilated in the Holocaust.[78][77] In addition, tens of thousands of the Slovenes left their homeland soon after the end of the war. Most of them settled in Argentina, Canada, Australia and in the USA.

  The socialist period

Following the re-establishment of Yugoslavia during World War II, Slovenia became part of Federal Yugoslavia. A socialist state was established, but because of the Tito-Stalin split in 1948, economic and personal freedoms were broader than in the Eastern Bloc. In 1947, Italy ceded most of the Julian March to Yugoslavia, and Slovenia thus regained the Slovenian Littoral. From the 1950s, Slovenia enjoyed a relatively wide autonomy.

Between 1945 and 1948, a wave of political repressions took place in Slovenia and in Yugoslavia. By 1947, all private property had been nationalised. Between 1949 and 1953, a forced collectivisation was attempted. After its failure, a policy of gradual liberalisation followed. A new economic policy, known as workers self-management started to be implemented under the advice and supervision of the main theorist of the Yugoslav Communist Party, the Slovene Edvard Kardelj. In 1956, Josip Broz Tito, together with other leaders, founded the Non-Aligned Movement.

Slovenia's economy developed rapidly, particularly in the 1950s when the country was strongly industrialised. Despite restrictive economic and social legislation within Yugoslavia, Slovenia managed to preserve a high level of economic development with a skilled workforce, working discipline and organisation.[citation needed] After the economic reform and further economic decentralisation of Yugoslavia in 1965 and 1966 Slovenia was approaching a market economy. Its domestic product was 2.5 times the average, which strengthened national confidence among the Slovenes. After the death of Tito in 1980, the economic and political situation in Yugoslavia became very strained.[56] Political disputes around economic measures were echoed in the public sentiment, as many Slovenians felt they were being economically exploited, having to sustain an expensive and inefficient federal administration.[citation needed]

  Democracy and independence

The first clear demand for Slovene independence was made in 1987 by a group of intellectuals in the 57th edition of the magazine Nova revija. Demands for democratisation and increase of Slovenian independence were sparked off. A mass democratic movement, coordinated by the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, pushed the Communists in the direction of democratic reforms. These revolutionary events in Slovenia pre-dated by almost one year the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, but went largely unnoticed by international observers. In September 1989, numerous constitutional amendments were passed, which introduced parliamentary democracy to Slovenia.[79][80] On 7 March 1990, the Slovenian Assembly changed the official name of the state to the Republic of Slovenia.[81][82] In April 1990, the first democratic election in Slovenia took place and the united opposition movement DEMOS led by Jože Pučnik emerged victorious.

On 23 December 1990, more than 88% of the electorate voted for a sovereign and independent Slovenia.[83][84] On 25 June, Slovenia became independent[2] through the passage of appropriate legal documents.[85] On 27 June in the early morning, the Yugoslav People's Army dispatched its forces to prevent further measures for the establishment of a new country, which led to the Ten-Day War.[86][87] On 7 July, the Brijuni Agreement was signed, implementing a truce and a three-month halt of the enforcement of Slovenia's independence.[88] In the end of month, the last soldiers of the Yugoslav Army left Slovenia. In December 1991, a new constitution was adopted,[85] followed in 1992 by the laws on denationalisation and privatization.[89] The members of the European Union recognised Slovenia as an independent state on 15 January 1992, and the United Nations accepted it as a member on 22 May 1992.[90]

Slovenia joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. Slovenia has one Commissioner in the European Commission, and seven Slovene parliamentarians were elected to the European Parliament at elections on 13 June 2004. In 2004 Slovenia also joined NATO. Slovenia subsequently succeeded in meeting the Maastricht criteria and joined the Eurozone (the first transition country to do so) on 1 January 2007. It was the first post-Communist country to hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first six months of 2008. On 21 July 2010, it became member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

  Politics

  Danilo Türk, the President of Slovenia since 2007, speaking at a ceremony on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Ljubljana from Nazi German occupation, in May 2010

Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy republic with a multi-party system. The head of state is the president, who is elected by popular vote and thus has an important integrative role.[91] He is elected for five years and at maximum for two consecutive terms. He has mainly a representative role and is the commander-in-chief of the Slovenian military forces.[92] The executive and administrative authority in Slovenia is held by the Government of Slovenia (Vlada Republike Slovenije),[93] headed by the Prime Minister and the council of ministers or cabinet, who are elected by the National Assembly (Državni zbor Republike Slovenije). The legislative authority is held by the bicameral Parliament of Slovenia, characterised by an asymmetric duality.[94] The bulk of power is concentrated in the National Assembly, which consists of ninety members. Of those, 88 are elected by all the citizens in a system of proportional representation, whereas two are elected by the registered members of the autochthonous Hungarian and Italian minorities. Election takes place every four years. The National Council (Državni svet Republike Slovenije), consisting of forty members, appointed to represent social, economic, professional and local interest groups, has a limited advisory and control power.[94]

Consensus is the core value of Slovenia's political system.[91] Media in Slovenia for the most part operate free from direct political pressures.[95] France Bučar, one of the founding fathers of Slovenian democracy and independence, described in June 2012 the democracy in Slovenia as very weak, with the power concentrated in the hands of a few people, as in the time of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia before 1991, and the current politics only a continuation of the work of the Communist Party of Slovenia, until 1989 the sole legal party in the country. He opined that the Slovenian Parliament was only a formal institution.[96]

Between 1992 and 2004, the Slovenian political scene was characterized by the rule of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, which carried out much of the economic and political transformation of the country.[citation needed] The party's president Janez Drnovšek, who served as Prime Minister between 1992 and 2002, was one of the most influential Slovenian politicians of the 1990s,[97] alongside the Slovenian President Milan Kučan (served between 1990 and 2002),[98] who has been credited for the initiation of the transition from communism to multiparty democracy.[99]

The 2004 election brought to power the right wing coalition, led by Janez Janša of the Slovenian Democratic Party.[100] The Liberal Democracy quickly lost much of its influence. After the left-wing coalition headed by the Social Democrat Borut Pahor won the election by a narrow margin in 2008,[101] Slovenia entered a spiral of spending and overborrowing,[102] a string of affairs,[103] and was unable to implement reforms that would help towards economic recovery.[104] In September 2011, Pahor's government was ousted with a vote of no confidence, and was replaced in February 2012 by a right-leaning government led by Janša.[102][104]

  Judiciary

Judicial powers in Slovenia are executed by judges, who are elected by the National Assembly. Judicial power in Slovenia is implemented by courts with general responsibilities and specialised courts that deal with matters relating to specific legal areas. The State Prosecutor is an independent state authority responsible for prosecuting cases brought against those suspected of committing criminal offences. The Constitutional Court, composed of nine judges elected for nine year terms, decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution; all laws and regulations must conform with the general principles of international law and with ratified international agreements.[56]

  Military

The Slovenian Armed Forces provide military defence independently or within an alliance, in accordance with international agreements. Since conscription was abolished in 2003, it is organized as a fully professional standing army.[105] The Commander-in-Chief is the President of the Republic of Slovenia, while operational command is in the domain of the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces. In 2008, military spending was an estimated 1.5% of the country's GDP.[106] Since joining NATO, the Slovenian Armed Forces have taken an even more active part in supporting international peace. Their activities comprise the participation of Slovenian Armed Forces members in peace support operations and humanitarian activities. Among others, Slovenian soldiers are a part of international forces serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.[107]

According to the 2012 Global Peace Index, Slovenia is one of the world's most peaceful countries.[108]

  Administrative divisions

Officially, Slovenia is subdivided into 211 municipalities (eleven of which have the status of urban municipalities). The municipalities are the only body of local autonomy in Slovenia. Besides, there also exist 62 administrative districts, officially called "Administrative Units" (upravne enote), which are not a body of local self-government, but territorial sub-units of government administration. The Administrative Units are named after their capital, and are headed by a Head of the Unit (načelnik upravne enote), appointed by the Minister of Public Administration. Each municipality is headed by a Mayor (župan), elected every 4 years by popular vote, and a Municipal Council (občinski svet). In the majority of the municipalities, the municipal council is elected through the system of proportional representation; only few smaller municipalities use the plurality voting system. In the urban municipalities, the municipal councils are called Town (or City) Councils.[109] Every municipality also has a Head of the Municipal Administration (načelnik občinske uprave), appointed by the Mayor, who is responsible for the functioning of the local administration.[109]

Despite the lack of any intermediate unit between the municipalities and the State, regional identity is strong in Slovenia. The traditional regions of Slovenia, based on the former four Habsburg crown lands (Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, and the Littoral), are the following:

  Traditional regions
English name Native name Largest town
Slovenian Littoral Primorska Koper/Capodistria
Upper Carniola Gorenjska Kranj
Inner Carniola Notranjska Postojna
Lower Carniola Dolenjska Novo Mesto
Carinthia Koroška Ravne na Koroškem
Styria Štajerska Maribor
Prekmurje Prekmurje Murska Sobota
  Statistical regions

Ljubljana was historically the administrative center of Carniola. However, from the mid-19th century onward, it has not been considered part of any of the three subdivisions of Carniola (Upper, Lower and Inner Carniola).[citation needed] Nowadays, it is not considered part of any of the traditional historical regions of Slovenia.[citation needed]

For statistical reasons, Slovenia is also subdivided into 12 statistical regions, which have no administrative function. These are further subdivided into two macroregions for the purpose of the Regional policy of the European Union.[110] These two macroregions are:

  • East Slovenia (Vzhodna Slovenija – SI01), which groups the regions of Pomurska, Podravska, Koroška, Savinjska, Zasavska, Spodnjeposavska, Jugovzhodna Slovenija and Notranjsko-kraška.
  • West Slovenia (Zahodna Slovenija – SI02), which groups the regions of Osrednjeslovenska, Gorenjska, Goriška and Obalno-kraška.

  Geography

  Topographic map of Slovenia

Slovenia is situated in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. It lies between latitudes 45° and 47° N, and longitudes 13° and 17° E. The 15th meridian east almost corresponds to the middle line of the country in the direction west-east.[111] The Geometrical Centre of the Republic of Slovenia is located at coordinates 46°07'11.8" N and 14°48'55.2" E.[112] It lies in Slivna in the Municipality of Litija.[113] Slovenia's highest peak is Triglav (2,864 m/9,396 ft); the country's average height above sea level is 557 m (1,827 ft).

Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean. Although on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, near the Mediterranean, most of Slovenia is in the Black Sea drainage basin. The Alps—including the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karavanke chain, as well as the Pohorje massif—dominate Northern Slovenia along its long border with Austria. Slovenia's Adriatic coastline stretches approximately 47 km (29 mi)[114] from Italy to Croatia. The term "Karst topography" refers to that of southwestern Slovenia's Kras Plateau, a limestone region of underground rivers, gorges, and caves, between Ljubljana and the Mediterranean. On the Pannonian plain to the East and Northeast, toward the Croatian and Hungarian borders, the landscape is essentially flat. However, the majority of Slovenian terrain is hilly or mountainous, with around 90% of the surface 200 m (656 ft) or more above sea level.

Over 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. The areas are covered mostly by beech, fir-beech and beech-oak forests and have a relatively high production capacity.[115] Remnants of primeval forests are still to be found, the largest in the Kočevje area. Grassland covers 5,593 km2 (2,159 sq mi) and fields and gardens (954 km2/368 sq mi). There are 363 km2 (140 sq mi) of orchards and 216 km2 (83 sq mi) of vineyards.

  Geology

Slovenia is in a rather active seismic zone because of its position to the south of the Eurasian Plate.[116] Thus the country is at the junction of three important tectonic zones: the Alps to the north, the Dinaric Alps to the south and the Pannonian Basin to the east.[116] Scientists have been able to identify 60 destructive earthquakes in the past. Additionally, a network of seismic stations is active throughout the country.[116] Many parts of Slovenia have a carbonate ground, and an extensive subterranean system has developed.

  Natural regions

  Landscape types in Slovenia
  Alpine landscape
  Panonnian landscape
  Dinaric landscape
  Mediterranean landscape

The first regionalisations of Slovenia were made by geographers Anton Melik (1935–1936) and Svetozar Ilešič (1968). The newer regionalisation by Ivan Gams divides Slovenia in the following macroregions:

According to a newer natural geographic regionalisation, the country consists of four macroregions. These are the Alpine, the Mediterranean, the Dinaric, and the Pannonian landscapes. Macroregions are defined according to major relief units (the Alps, the Pannonian plain, the Dinaric mountains) and climate types (submediterranean, temperate continental, mountain climate).[117] These are often quite interwoven.

Protected areas of Slovenia include national parks, regional parks, and nature parks, the largest of which is Triglav National Park. There are 286 Natura 2000 designated protected areas, which comprise 36% of the country's land area, the largest percentage among European Union states.[118] Additionally, according to Yale University's Environmental Performance Index, Slovenia is considered a "strong performer" in environmental protection efforts.[119]

Alpine landscape: Krnica Valley near Kranjska Gora  
Pre-Alpine landscape: the village of Labinje near Cerkno  
Ljubljana Marshes, southernmost part of the Ljubljana Basin  
Submediterranean Slovenia: the Brda Hills  
Dinaric Slovenia: Cerknica Polje  
Pannonian Slovenia: the village of Noršinci in Prekmurje  

  Climate

  Different types of clouds in the Julian Alps (northwestern Slovenia), as seen from the top of Mangart in September 2007

Slovenia is located in temperate latitudes. The climate is also influenced by the variety of relief, and the influence of the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. In the Northeast, the continental climate type with greatest difference between winter and summer temperatures prevails. In the coastal region, there is sub-Mediterranean climate. The effect of the sea on the temperature rates is visible also up the Soča valley, while a severe Alpine climate is present in the high mountain regions. There is a strong interaction between these three climatic systems across most of the country.[120][121]

Precipitation varies across the country as well, with over 3500 mm in some Western regions and dropping down to 800 mm in Prekmurje. Snow is quite frequent in winter and the record snow cover in Ljubljana was recorded in 1952 at 146 cm.

Compared to Western Europe, Slovenia is not very windy, because it lies in the slipstream of the Alps. The average wind speeds are lower than in the plains of the nearby countries. Due to the rugged terrain, local vertical winds with daily periods are present. Besides these, there are three winds of particular regional importance: the bora, the jugo, and the foehn. The jugo and the bora are characteristic of the Littoral. Whereas jugo is humid and warm, bora is usually cold and gusty. The foehn is typical of the Alpine regions in the north of Slovenia. Generally present in Slovenia are the northeast wind, the southeast wind and the north wind.[122]

  Waters

The territory of Slovenia mainly (16,423 square kilometres or 6,341 square miles, i.e. 81%) belongs to the Black Sea basin, and a smaller part (16,423 square kilometres or 6,341 square miles, i.e. 19%) belongs to the Adriatic Sea basin. These two parts are divided into smaller units in regard to their central rivers, the Mura River basin, the Drava River basin, the Sava River basin with Kolpa River basin, and the basin of the Adriatic rivers.[123]

  Biodiversity

  Olm can be found in Postojna cave and others caves in country

Slovenia is distinguished by an exceptionally wide variety of habitats,[28] due to the contact of geological units and biogeographical regions, but also due to human influences. The country contains 24,000 animal species, accounting for 1% of the world's organisms despite its small size (0.004% of the Earth's surface area).[124] Around 12.5% of the territory is protected with different protection categories, and 35.5% within the Natura 2000 ecological network.[125] Despite this, because of pollution and environmental degradation, diversity has been in decline.

Slovenia is the third most forested country in Europe, with 58.5% of the territory covered by forests.[126] The forests are an important natural resource, but logging is kept to a minimum, as Slovenians also value their forests for the preservation of natural diversity, for enriching the soil and cleansing the water and air, for the social and economic benefits of recreation and tourism, and for the natural beauty they give to the Slovenian landscape. In the interior of the country are typical Central European forests, predominantly oak and beech. In the mountains, spruce, fir, and pine are more common. Pine trees also grow on the Kras plateau, although only one third of the region is now covered by pine forest. The lime/linden tree, also common in Slovenian forests, is a national symbol.The tree line is at 1,700 to 1,800 metres (or 5,575 to 5,900 ft).[127] The fauna includes marmots, Alpine ibex, and chamois. There are numerous deer, roe deer, boar, and hares.[128] The edible dormouse is often found in the Slovenian beech forests. Trapping these animals is a long tradition and is a part of the Slovenian national identity.[129] Some important carnivores include the Eurasian lynx (reintroduced to the Kočevje area in 1973), European wild cats, foxes (especially the red fox), and European jackal.[130] There are also hedgehogs, martens, and snakes such as vipers and grass snakes. According to recent estimates, Slovenia also has up to 50 wolves and about 450 brown bears.[131][132]

  Carniolan honey bee is native to Slovenia and is a subspecies of the Western honey bee.

In the Alps, flowers such as Daphne blagayana, various gentians (Gentiana clusii, Gentiana froelichi), Primula auricula, edelweiss (the symbol of Slovene mountaineering), Cypripedium calceolus, Fritillaria meleagris (snake's head fritillary), and Pulsatilla grandis are found.[citation needed]

Slovenia is home to an exceptionally diverse number of cave species, with a few tens of endemic species.[28] Among the cave vertebrates, the only known is the olm, living in Karst and White Carniola.[citation needed]

  A modern Lipizzan

The only regular species of cetaceans found in the northern Adriatic sea is the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).[133]

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.[134] Other birds include (both Black and Green) Woodpeckers and the White Stork, which nests mainly in Prekmurje.[citation needed]

There are thirteen domestic animals native to Slovenia,[135] of eight species (hen, pig, dog, horse, sheep, goat, honey bee, and cattle).[136] Among these are the Karst Shepherd,[137] the Carniolan honeybee, and the Lipizzan horse.[136] They have been preserved ex situ and in situ.[138] The marble trout or marmorata (Salmo marmoratus) is an indigenous Slovenian fish.[139] Extensive breeding programmes have been introduced to repopulate the marble trout into lakes and streams invaded by non-indigenous species of trout. Slovenia is also home to the wels catfish.

  Economy

  Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ljubljana
  Graphical depiction of Slovenia's product exports in 28 color coded categories.

Slovenia has a developed economy and is per capita the richest of Slavic states.[140] Almost two thirds of people are employed in services, and over one third in industry and construction.[141] Slovenia benefits from a well-educated workforce, well-developed infrastructure, and its position at the crossroad of major trade routes.[43] On the other hand, the level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia is one of the lowest in the EU per capita,[43] and the labour productivity and the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy is still significantly below the EU average.[142][143] Taxes are relatively high, the labor market is seen by business interests as being inflexible, and industries are losing sales to China, India, and elsewhere.[144]

Slovenia's economy is highly dependent on foreign trade, oriented towards other EU countries, mainly Germany, Austria, Italy, and France.[145] This is the result of a wholesale reorientation of trade toward the West and the growing markets of central and eastern Europe in the face of the collapse of its Yugoslav markets. High level of openness makes Slovenia extremely sensitive to economic conditions in its main trading partners and changes in its international price competitiveness.[citation needed] The main industries are motor vehicles, electric and electronic equipment, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and fuels.[43][43] There is a big difference in prosperity between the regions. The economically most prosperous statistical regions are the Central Slovenia and the Slovenian Littoral, while the poorest are the Mura, the Central Sava and the Carinthia.[146]

  Since 2007 Slovenia is part of a monetary union, the Eurozone (dark blue)

Although Slovenia comprised only about one-thirteenth of Yugoslavia's total population, it was the most productive of the Yugoslav republics, accounting for one-fifth of its GDP and one-third of its exports.[147] After it gained independence, it has taken a cautious, deliberate approach to economic management and reform, with heavy emphasis on achieving consensus before proceeding.[citation needed] Despite the economic slowdown in Europe in 2001–03, Slovenia maintained 3% GDP growth. Since that time, it has vigorously pursued diversification of its trade with the West and integration into Western and transatlantic institutions. Although a large portion of economy remains in state hands,[citation needed] during the 2000s (decade), privatisation was seen in the banking, telecommunications, and public utility sectors. The country acceeded to the European Union in 2004, and was in the beginning of 2007 the first new member to introduce the euro as its currency, replacing the tolar. Since 2010, it has been member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.[43]

In the late 2000s economic crisis, Slovenian economy suffered a severe setback. In 2009, the Slovenian GDP per capita shrunk by 7.9%, which was the biggest fall in the European Union after the Baltic countries and Finland.[citation needed] After a slow recovery thanks to the export,[148] since the last quarter of 2011, it has again recorded recession.[149] This has been attributed to the fall in domestic consumption, and the slowdown in export growth.[149] The reasons for the decrease in domestic consumption have been multiple: the fiscal austerity, the freeze on budget expenditure in the final months of last year,[150] the failure of the efforts to implement economic reforms, inappropriate financing, and the decrease of export.[151] In addition, the construction industry was severely hit in 2010 and 2011.[149] The total national debt of Slovenia at the end of September 2011 amounted to 15,884 million euros or 44.4% of GDP.[152] An increasing burden for the Slovenian economy has been the rapid ageing of population.[153]

  Energetics

In 2011 electricity production was 14.144 GWh, electricity consumption was 12.602 GWh. Electricity production by source: hydro 3.361 GWh, thermal 4.883 GWh, nuclear 5.899 GWh.

Current investments: new 600 MW block of Šoštanj thermal power plant is in construction and will be finished by 2014. New 39.5 MW HE Krško hydro power plant will be finished this year. By 2018 41.5 MW HE Brežice and 30.5 MW HE Mokrice hydro power plants will be built on Sava river. Construction of 10 hydro power plants on the Sava river with a cumulative capacity of 338 MW is planned to be finished by 2030. Big pumped storage hydro power plant Kozjak on Drava river is in planning stage.

Renewable energy in Slovenia: at the end of 2011 at least 87 MWp of photovoltaic modules were installed and 22 MW of biogas powerplants. There is a plan and obligation that at least 500 MW of wind power will be installed by 2020. Solar hot water heating is gaining popularity in Slovenia.

  Tourism

  Piran, a port town in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran
  Lake Bled, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Slovenia

Slovenia offers tourists a wide variety of natural and cultural amenities. Different forms of tourism have developed. The tourist gravitational area is considerably large, however the tourist market is small. There has been no large-scale tourism and no acute environmental pressures.[154]

The nation's capital, Ljubljana, has many important Baroque and Vienna Secession buildings, with several important works of the native born architect Jože Plečnik.[155]

At the North-Western corner of the country lie the Julian Alps with the picturesque Lake Bled and the Soča Valley, as well as the nation's highest peak, Mount Triglav in the middle of Triglav National Park. Other mountain ranges include Kamnik–Savinja Alps, Karavanke and Pohorje, popular with skiers and hikers.[156]

The Karst Plateau in the Slovenian Littoral gave its name to karst, a landscape shaped by water dissolving the carbonate bedrock, forming caves. The best-known caves are Postojna Cave, with more than 28 million visitors, and the UNESCO-listed Škocjan Caves. The region of Slovenian Istria meets the Adriatic Sea, where the most important historical monument is the Venetian Gothic Mediterranean town of Piran while the settlement of Portorož attracts crowds in summer.[157]

The hills around Slovenia's second-largest town, Maribor, are renowned for their wine-making. The northeastern part of the country is rich with spas,[158] with Rogaška Slatina, Radenci, Čatež ob Savi, Dobrna, and Moravske Toplice growing in importance in the last two decades.[159]

Other popular tourist destinations include the historic cities of Ptuj and Škofja Loka, and several castles, such as the Predjama Castle.[160][161]

Important parts of tourism in Slovenia include congress and gambling tourism. Slovenia is the country with the highest percentage of casinos per 1,000 inhabitants in the European Union.[162] Perla in Nova Gorica is the largest casino in the region.[163]

Most of foreign tourists to Slovenia come from Italy, followed by Austrians, Germans, Croatians and UK residents.[164] European tourists create more than 90% of Slovenia's tourist income.

  Transport

  Črni Kal Viaduct on the A1 motorway

The location at the junction of major geographic units and the area being traversed by major rivers have been the reasons for the intersection of the main transport routes in Slovenia. Their course was established already in the Antiquity. A particular geographic advantage in recent times has been the location of the intersection of the Pan-European transport corridors V (the fastest link between the North Adriatic, and Central and Eastern Europe) and X (linking Central Europe with the Balkans) in the country. This gives it a special position in the European social, economic and cultural integration and restructuring.[165]

With the share of over 80%, the road freight and passenger transport constitutes the largest part of transport in Slovenia.[166] Personal cars are much more popular than public road passenger transport, which has significantly declined.[166][167] Slovenia has a very high highway and motorway density compared to the European Union average.[168] The highway system, the construction of which has speedied up after 1994,[169] slowly but steadily transforms Slovenia into a large conurbation.[170] Other state roads have been rapidly deteriorating due to neglection and the overall increase in traffic.[168]

The existing Slovenian rails, which were mostly built in the 19th century, are out-of-date and can't compete with the motorway network.[171] The maintenance and modernisation of the Slovenian railway network has been neglected due to the lack of financial assets.[172] Due to the out-of-date infrastructure, the share of the railway freight transport has been in decline in Slovenia.[173] The railway passenger transport has been recovering after a large drop in the 1990s.[174] The Pan-European railway corridors V and X, and several other major European rail lines intersect in Slovenia.[172] All international transit trains in Slovenia drive through the Ljubljana Railway Hub.[175]

The major Slovenian port is the Port of Koper. It is the largest Northern Adriatic port in terms of container transport,[176] with almost 590,000 TEUs annually[177] and lines to all major world ports.[178][179] It is much closer to destinations east of the Suez than the ports of Northern Europe.[178] In addition, the maritime passenger traffic mostly takes place in Koper.[180] Two smaller ports used for the international passenger transport as well as cargo transport are located in Izola and Piran. Passenger transport mainly takes place with Italy and Croatia.[181] Splošna plovba,[182] the only Slovenian shipping company, transports freight and is active only in foreign ports.[180]

The air transport in Slovenia is quite low,[173] but has significantly grown since 1991.[183] Of the three international airports in Slovenia, the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport in the central part of the country is by far the busiest,[183] with connections to many major European destinations.[184] The Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport is located in the eastern part of the country and the Portorož Airport in the western part.[183] The state-owned Adria Airways is the largest Slovenian airline.[183] Since 2003, several new carriers have entered the market, mainly low-cost airlines.[168] The only Slovenian military airport is the Cerklje ob Krki Air Base in the southwestern part of the country.[185] There are also 12 public airports in Slovenia.[183]

  Demographics

Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1921 1,054,919
1931 1,144,298 +8.5%
1948 1,391,873 +21.6%
1953 1,466,425 +5.4%
1961 1,591,523 +8.5%
1971 1,727,137 +8.5%
1981 1,891,864 +9.5%
1991 1,913,355 +1.1%
2002 1,964,036 +2.6%
2011 2,050,189 +4.4%
Ethnic composition of Slovenia
(according to the 2002 census)[1]
Slovene
  
83.06%
Serb
  
1.98%
Croat
  
1.81%
Bosniak
  
1.10%
other minorities
  
4.85%
undeclared or unknown
  
8.9%

With 101 inhabitants per square kilometre (262/sq mi), Slovenia ranks low among the European countries in population density (compared to 402/km² (1042/sq mi) for the Netherlands or 195/km² (505/sq mi) for Italy). The Notranjska-Kras statistical region has the lowest population density while the Central Slovenian statistical region has the highest.[186]

According to the 2002 census, Slovenia's main ethnic group are the Slovenes (83%). At least 13% of the population were immigrants from other parts of Former Yugoslavia and their descendants.[187] They have settled mainly in cities and suburbanised areas.[188] Relatively small but protected by the Constitution of Slovenia are the Hungarian and the Italian national community.[189][190][191] A special position is held by the autochthonous and geographically dispersed Roma ethnic community.[192][193]

Slovenia is among the European countries with the most pronounced ageing of population, ascribable to a low birth rate and increasing life expectancy.[194] Almost all Slovenian inhabitants older than 64 are retired, with no significant difference between the genders.[195] The working-age group is diminishing in spite of immigration.[196] The proposal to raise the retirement age from the current 57 for women and 58 for men was rejected in a referendum in 2011.[153] In addition, the difference among the genders regarding life expectancy is still significant.[195] In 2007, it was 74.6 years for men and 81.8 years for women.[197]

In 2009, the suicide rate in Slovenia was 22 per 100,000 persons per year, which places Slovenia among the highest ranked European countries in this regard.[198] Nonetheless, from 2000 until 2010, the rate has decreased for about 30%. The differences between regions and the genders are pronounced.[199]

  Urbanization

Depending on definition, between 65% and 79% of people live in urban areas.[200] The only large town is the capital, Ljubljana. Other, medium-sized towns include Maribor, Celje, and Kranj.[201][202] Overall, there are eleven urban municipalities in Slovenia.


  Languages

  Bilingual Slovene-Italian edition of the Slovenian passport

The official language in Slovenia is Slovene, which is a member of the South Slavic language group. In 2002, Slovene was the native language of around 88% of Slovenia's population according to the census, with more than 92% of the Slovenian population speaking it in their home environment.[203][204] This places Slovenia among the most homogeneous countries in the EU in terms of the share of speakers of predominant mother tongue.[205] Slovene is sometimes characterized as the most diverse Slavic language in terms of dialects,[206] with different degrees of mutual intelligibility.[citation needed] Accounts of the number of dialects range from as few as seven[207][208][209] dialects, often considered dialect groups or dialect bases that are further subdivided into as many as 50 dialects.[210] Other sources characterize the number of dialects as nine[211] or eight.[212]

Regarding the knowledge of foreign languages, Slovenia is ranked among the top European countries. The most often taught foreign languages are English, German, Italian, French and Spanish. As of 2007, 92% of the population between the age of 25 and 64 spoke at least one foreign language and around 71.8% of them spoke at least two foreign languages, which was the highest percentage in the European Union.[213] According to the Eurobarometer survey, as of 2005 the majority of Slovenes could speak Serbo-Croatian (61%) and English (56%).[214] A reported 45% of Slovenes could speak German, which was one of the highest percentages outside German-speaking countries.[214] Italian is widely spoken on the Slovenian Coast and in some other areas of the Slovenian Littoral. Around 15% of Slovenians can speak Italian, which is (according to the Eurobarometer pool) the third highest percentage in the European Union, after Italy and Malta.[215]

  Languages of the minorities and ex-Yugoslav languages

Hungarian and Italian enjoy the status of official languages in the ethnically mixed regions along the Hungarian and Italian borders. In 2002, around 0.2% of the Slovenian population spoke Italian and around 0.4% spoke Hungarian as their native language. Romani,[216] spoken in 2002 as the native language by 0.2% of people, is a legally protected language in Slovenia. These people mainly belong to the geographically dispersed and marginalized Roma community.[217] German, which used to be the largest minority language in Slovenia prior to World War II (around 4% of the population in 1921), is now the native language of only around 0.08% of the population, the majority of whom are more than 60 years old.[204] Gottscheerish or Granish, the traditional German dialect of Gottschee County, is now facing extinction.[218]

A significant number of Slovenian population speak a variant of Serbo-Croatian (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian or Montenegrin) as their native language. These are mostly immigrants who moved to Slovenia from other former Yugoslav republics from the 1960s to the late 1980s, and their descendants. 0,4% of the Slovenian population declared themselves as native speakers of Albanian and 0,2% as native speakers of Macedonian in 2002.[204] Czech, which used to be the fourth largest minority language in Slovenia prior to World War II (after German, Hungarian and Serbo-Croatian), is now the native language of a few hundred Slovenian residents.[204]

  Religion

  The Basilica of the Virgin Mary in Brezje, also known as the Slovenian National Shrine, is the most visited Roman Catholic pilgrimage church in Slovenia.

Traditionally, Slovenes are predominantly Roman Catholic. Before World War II, 97% of Slovenes declared as Roman Catholics, around 2.5% were Lutheran, and only around 0.5% belonged to other denominations. Catholicism was an important feature of both social and political life in pre-Communist Slovenia. After 1945, the country underwent a process of gradual but steady secularization. After a decade of severe persecution of religions, the Communist regime adopted a policy of relative tolerance towards the churches, but limited their social functioning. After 1990, the Roman Catholic Church regained some of its former influence, but Slovenia remains a largely secularized society. According to the 2002 census, 57.8% of the population is Roman Catholic. As elsewhere in Europe, affiliation with Roman Catholicism is dropping: in 1991, 71.6% were self-declared Catholics, which means a drop of more than 1% annually.[219] The vast majority of Slovenian Catholics belong to the Latin Rite. A small number of Greek Catholics live in the White Carniola region.[220]

  Lutheran church in Bodonci in the Prekmurje region

Despite a relatively small number of Protestants (less than 1% in 2002), the Protestant legacy is important because of its historical significance, given that the Slovene standard language and Slovene literature were established by the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Nowadays, a significant Lutheran minority lives in the easternmost region of Prekmurje, where they represent around a fifth of the population and are headed by a bishop with the seat in Murska Sobota.[221]

Besides these two Christian denominations, a small Jewish community has also been historically present. Despite the losses suffered during the Holocaust, Judaism still numbers a few hundred adherents, mostly living in Ljubljana, site of the sole remaining active synagogue in the country.[222]

According to the 2002 census, Islam is the second largest religious denomination with around 2.4% of the population. Most Slovenian Muslims came from Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia.[223] The third largest denomination, with around 2.2% of the population, is Orthodox Christianity, with most adherents belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church while a minority belongs to the Macedonian and other Orthodox churches.

In the 2002, around 10% of Slovenes declared themselves as atheists, another 10% professed no specific denomination, and around 16% decided not answer the question about their religious affiliation. According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[224] 37% of Slovenian citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 46% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 16% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".

  Immigration

Around 12% of the inhabitants of Slovenia were born abroad.[225] According to data from 2008, there were around 100,000 non-EU citizens living in Slovenia, or around 5% of the overall population of the country.[226] The highest number came from Bosnia-Herzegovina, followed by immigrants from Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia and Kosovo. The number of people migrating to Slovenia has been steadily rising from 1995;[227] and has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Since Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, the yearly inflow of immigrants has doubled by 2006 and tripled by 2009.[228] In 2007, Slovenia was one of the countries with the fastest growth of net migration rate in the European Union.[227]

  Education

Universities in Ljubljana and Maribor

Responsibility for educational oversight at primary and secondary level in Slovenia lies with the Ministry of Education and Sports. After non-compulsory pre-school education, children enter the nine-year primary school at the age of six.[229] Primary school is divided into three periods, each of three years. In the academic year 2006–2007 there were 166,000 pupils enrolled in elementary education and more than 13,225 teachers, giving a ratio of one teacher per 12 pupils and 20 pupils per class.[230]

After completing elementary school, nearly all children (more than 98 per cent) go on to secondary education, either vocational, technical or general secondary programmes (gimnazija). The latter concludes with matura, the final exam that allows the graduates to enter a university. 84 per cent of secondary school graduates go on to tertiary education.[230] Currently there are three public universities in Slovenia, in Ljubljana,[231] Maribor[232] and in Primorska (Littoral) region.[233] In addition, there is a private University of Nova Gorica[234] and an international EMUNI University.[235] According to the ARWU rating, the University of Ljubljana ranks among 500 best universities in the world.[236]

The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Slovenia's education as the 12th best in the world and 4th best in the European Union, being significantly higher than the OECD average.[237] According to the 1991 census there is 99.6 per cent literacy in Slovenia. Among people aged 25 to 64, 12 per cent have attended higher education, whilst on average Slovenes have 9.6 years of formal education. Lifelong learning is also increasing.[230] According to an OECD report, 83% of adults ages 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high school degree, well above the OECD average of 74%; among 25-34 year-olds, the rate is 93%.[238]

  Culture

  The Sower (1907), produced by the impressionist painter and musician Ivan Grohar, became a metaphor for the Slovenes[239][240] and was a reflection of the transition from a rural to an urban culture.[241]

Slovene literature, founded in the 16th century by Primož Trubar and other Protestant Reformers, achieved its highest level with the Romantic poet France Prešeren (1800–1849). In the 20th century, it went through several periods. The beginning of the century was marked by the authors of the Slovene Modernism, with the most influential Slovene writer and playwright, Ivan Cankar. It was then followed by expressionism (Srečko Kosovel) and social realism (Ciril Kosmač) before World War II, the poetry of resistance and revolution (Karel Destovnik Kajuh) during the war, and intimism (Poems of the Four, 1953), post-war modernism (Edvard Kocbek), and existentialism (Dane Zajc) after the war.

In all times of the Slovenian history, visual arts have been regionally diverse and have significantly shaped the Slovenian culture and landscape.[242] In the late 18th and the 19th century, they were marked by Neoclassicism (Matevž Langus), Biedermeier (Giuseppe Tominz) and Romanticism (Mihael Stroj). Alojz Gangl started a renewal of Slovene sculpture. In the late 19th century, Ivana Kobilca painted her realistic paintings and organised the first Slovene art exhibition. In the beginning of the 20th century, the painter Rihard Jakopič, the sculptor Franc Berneker, and others created in an impressionist manner. Max Fabiani, and in the mid-war period, Jože Plečnik and Ivan Vurnik, introduced modern architecture in Slovenia.[243] Gojmir Anton Kos was a highly-esteemed realist painter and photographer in the mid-war period. During World War II, Božidar Jakac created numerous graphics, and contributed to the post-war establishment of the Academy of Visual Arts in Ljubljana. In the second half of the 20th century, the architects Edvard Ravnikar and Marko Mušič merged the national and universal style. A number of conceptual visual art groups formed, among them OHO, Group 69, IRWIN, and others. Nowadays, the Slovene visual arts are diverse, based on tradition, reflect the influence of neighbouring nations and are intertwinned with modern European movements.[244] A number of illustrators, painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects are active in Slovenia. The most prestigious institutions exhibiting works of Slovene visual artists are the National Gallery of Slovenia and the Museum of Modern Art, both located in Ljubljana.

Slovenia is a homeland of numerous musicians and composers, including Renaissance composer Jacobus Gallus (1550–1591), who greatly influenced Central European classical music, the Baroque composer Janez Krstnik Dolar (ca. 1620–1673), and the violin virtuoso Giuseppe Tartini. In the 20th century, Bojan Adamič was a renowned film music composer and Ivo Petrić (born 16 June 1931) is a composer of European classical music. Contemporary popular musicians have been Slavko Avsenik, Laibach, Vlado Kreslin, Pero Lovšin, Pankrti, Zoran Predin, Oto Pestner, Lačni Franz, Helena Blagne, DJ Umek, Valentino Kanzyani, Siddharta, Big Foot Mama, Terrafolk, Magnifico and others.

Slovene cinema has more than a century-long tradition with Karol Grossmann, France Štiglic, Igor Pretnar, Jože Pogačnik, Matjaž Klopčič, Boštjan Hladnik and Karpo Godina as its most established filmmakers. Contemporary film directors Jan Cvitkovič, Damjan Kozole, and Janez Lapajne are among the most notable representatives of the so-called "Renaissance of Slovenian cinema".

  Cuisine

  Prekmurska gibanica is a typical pastry of the Prekmurje region.

Slovenian cuisine is a mixture of three great regional cuisines, Central European cuisine (especially Austrian and Hungarian), Mediterranean cuisine and Balkan cuisine. Historically, Slovenian cuisine was divided into town, farmhouse, cottage, castle, parsonage and monastic cuisine. Due to the variety of Slovenian cultural and natural landscapes, there are more than 40 distinct regional cuisines.

Slovenian national dishes include bujta repa, ričet, prekmurska gibanica, nut roll (potica), žganci, Istrian stew (jota), minestrone (mineštra), prosciutto (pršut). There is a variety of sausages in Slovenian cuisine, the best known of which is Kranjska klobasa. kranjska klobasa and žlikrofi.

Soups are a relatively recent invention in Slovenian cuisine, but there are over 100.[citation needed] Earlier there were various kinds of porridge, stew and one-pot meals. The most common meat soups are beef and chicken soup. Meat-based soups were served only on Sundays and feast days; more frequently in more prosperous country or town households.[citation needed]

  Sport

  Petra Majdič, cross-country skiing bronze winner in the 2010 Olympics, as well as Terry Fox Award winner for personal achievements

Slovenia is a natural sports venue, with many Slovenians actively practicing sport.[245] A variety of sports are played in Slovenia on a professional level,[45] with top international successes in handball, basketball, volleyball, association football, ice hockey, rowing, Swimming, tennis, boxing and athletics. Prior to World War II, gymnastics and fencing used to be the most popular sports in Slovenia, with champions like Leon Štukelj and Miroslav Cerar gaining Olympic medals for Slovenia. Association football gained popularity in the interwar period. After 1945, basketball, handball and volleyball have become popular among Slovenians, and from the mid 1970s onward, winter sports. Since 1992, Slovenian sportspeople have won 22 Olympic medals, including three gold medals, and 19 Paralympic medals, also three of them gold.

Individual sports are also very popular in Slovenia, including tennis and mountaineering, which are two of the most widespread sporting activities in Slovenia. Several Slovenian extreme and endurance sportsmen have gained an international reputation, including the mountaineer Tomaž Humar, the mountain skier Davo Karničar, the ultramaraton swimmer Martin Strel and the ultracyclist Jure Robič. Past and current winter sports Slovenian champions include Alpine skiers, such as Mateja Svet, Bojan Križaj, and Tina Maze, the cross-country skier Petra Majdič, and ski jumpers, such as Primož Peterka. Boxing has gained popularity since Dejan Zavec won the IBF Welterweight World Champion title in 2009.

Since the major international success of the national football team, qualifying for two FIFA World Cups and one UEFA European Football Championship, football has become increasingly popular, as well. Slovenian past and current football stars include Branko Oblak and Zlatko Zahovič. The national basketball team has qualified for eight Eurobaskets, including a 4th place finish in 2009, and two FIBA World Championship appearances. Notable Slovenian basketball players include Jure Zdovc, Peter Vilfan, and Ivo Daneu. Slovenia will be the host of European basketball championship in 2013, having previously hosted the final round of 1970 FIBA World Championship. The national ice hockey team has qualified for six Ice Hockey World Championships.

  See also

  Notes

  1. ^ Slovenia's placement within the regional classification schemes for Europe is controversial.[11] It is most often placed in Central Europe but sometimes in Southeastern Europe or elsewhere.[11] Examples include the United Nations Statistics Division (Southern Europe),[12] The World Factbook (Central Europe),[13] Encarta ("south central Europe")[14] and Peter J. Katzenstein ("no way to decide")[15]

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  Further reading

  • Stanić, Stane, Slovenia (London, Flint River Press, 1994).
  • Oto Luthar (ed), The Land Between: A history of Slovenia. With contributions by Oto Luthar, Igor Grdina, Marjeta Šašel Kos, Petra Svoljšak, Peter Kos, Dušan Kos, Peter Štih, Alja Brglez and Martin Pogačar (Frankfurt am Main etc., Peter Lang, 2008).

  External links

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