A Brief History of Slovenia

  • Slovenia has a turbulent history, having been absorbed into most of the great European empires. The Romans conquered Slovenia in 10 BC. Roman rule collapsed in the fifth century AD and in the sixth century AD the Slavs arrived. In the eighth century Slovenia came under the domination of the Franks of central Europe and in the ninth century was absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire. Meanwhile, missionaries converted Slovenia to Christianity. In the 10th to 13th centuries Slovenia remained under German domination. the Habsburg dynasty came into control in the early fourteenth century. The Slovene lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the latter’s dissolution at the end of World War I. (There was a brief Napoleonic interlude)
  • In 1918, the Slovenes joined the Serbs and Croats in forming a new multinational state, which was ruled by a Serbian king and named Yugoslavia in 1929.
  • After World War II, Trieste was placed under Anglo-American control and in 1954 it was awarded to Italy. Slovenia became a republic of the renewed Yugoslavia, which though Communist, distanced itself from Moscow’s rule. Following on from Gorbachev's perestroika and a short, ten day war with Serbia, Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia on 25th June 1991. Like many eastern European countries Slovenia faced a painful transition from Communism to Capitalism during the 1990s.

Is Slovenia in the EU?

Slovenia became a member of the EU and NATO in 2004. In 2007 Slovenia joined the Eurozone.

Facts and Factoids

  • In 2020 the population of Slovenia was just over 2 million.
  • Mount Triglav, towering to a height of 2863 metres, is the highest peak in the Slovenian Alps. It is also represented on Slovenia’s national coat of arms. You cannot call yourself a true Slovenian until you have scaled it at least once.
  • There are plenty of rural traditions here. 1 in 20 people keep bees
  • Hayricks are a unique cultural symbol of Slovenia and the country is known as the 'Land of Hayricks'.

Is Slovenia a Safe Country to Visit?

  • Slovenia is said to be the safest country in Eastern Europe. Violent crime is generally very low - there is, as always, some petty theft and bag snatching.

Is Slovenia a Poor Country?

Slovenia’s GDP is low compared to most of Europe, but is at the top of the list when compared only to other countries of the former communist bloc and relatively high compared to the rest of the world

What is There to See and Do in Slovenia?

  • Tourism is a flourishing industry in Slovenia.
  • Slovenia is largely a mountainous republic, with more than half of its total area covered in forest. 53.6 %of Slovenia is protected land, a higher percentage than any other country on Earth except Venezuela. So outside Ljubljana most of the attraction is in outdoor activities. Kranjska Gora is the cheapest ski resort in Europe.
  • Slovenia markets itself as 'The Sunny Side of the Alps'. It does get quite a lot of sun. But it's in the mountains - so it rains a lot too.
  • Slovenia has a tiny coastline - just 24 miles, but there are a few beaches available. The resort town of Portorož has the only large sandy beach. Piran has a gorgeous Venetian town - another must-see.
  • Ljubljana - today's capital - is small, elegant and beautiful.
  • Lake Bled, with its cobalt lake, is a must-see, nestled in the Julian Alps.
  • Postojna Cave is the country’s most visited attraction. It’s one of my first experiences of stalagmites and stalactites and has been discovered long enough that it’s known as the cradle of speleobiology. I’m told this is partly because it’s home to the endangered Proteus anguinus, a blind salamander known as “the human fish” because of its pinkish skin colour. But I didn’t see one. It also boasts the first underground train in a cave.

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