Tiny Wiki : Fast loading, text only version of Wikipedia.

Slovenia



Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia (Republika Slovenija, ), is a country in Central Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy on the west, the Adriatic Sea on the southwest, Croatia on the south and east, Hungary on the northeast, and Austria on the north. The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana. Slovenia covers an area of 20,273 square kilometres and has a population of about 2 million. Around 40% of Slovenia's land mass is elevated land - mostly in the form of mountains and plateaus - which is located in the interior regions of the country. The highest point of Slovenia is the 2,864 metres (9,396 ft) high Mount Triglav, the lowest point is the Adriatic Sea at 0 metres. The majority of the population speaks Slovenian which is also the country's official language. Other local official languages are Hungarian and Italian.

Slovenia has been part of the Roman Empire; partly the Republic of Venice; the principality of Carantania (only modern Slovenia's northern part); the Holy Roman Empire; the Habsburg Monarchy; the Austrian Empire (later known as Austria-Hungary); the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (renamed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929); partly Kingdom of Italy; between the two World Wars occupied by Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Independent State of Croatia (1941–1945); and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1945 until independence in 1991.

Slovenia is a member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the Schengen area, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, NATO, UNESCO, WTO, and UN. Slovenia is a highly developed country.



History





Slavic ancestors of the present-day Slovenes settled in the area in the 6th century. The Slavic principality Carantania was formed in the 7th century. In 745, Carantania was incorporated into the Carolingian Empire, while Carantanians and other Slavs living in present Slovenia converted to Christianity. Carantania retained its internal independence until 828 when the local princes were deposed following the anti-Frankish rebellion of Ljudevit Posavski and replaced by a German (mostly Bavarian) ascendancy. Under Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia, Carantania, now ruled by a mixed Bavarian-Slav nobility, shortly emerged as a regional power, but was destroyed by the Hungarian invasions in the late 9th century.
Coat of arms of Carniola, a historical region within Austria-Hungary
Carantania was established again as an autonomous administrative unit in 976, when Emperor Otto I, "the Great", after deposing the Duke of Bavaria, Henry II, "the Quarreller", split the lands held by him and made Carinthia the sixth duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, but old Carantania never developed into a unified realm. In the century of the second millennium protecting marches were established at the south-eastern borders of the Empire, which in the course of time developed into duchies in their right: Styria, Carniola and Friuli, into which the Slovene Lands remained divided up to 1918. The Carantanian identity remained alive into the 12th century when it was slowly replaced by regional identities. The first mentions of a common Slovene ethnic identity, transcending regional boundaries, date from the 16th century.

During the 14th century, most of the Slovene Lands passed under the Habsburg rule. In the 15th century, the Habsburg domination was challenged by the Counts of Celje, but by the end of the century the great majority of Slovene-inhabited territories were incorporated into the Habsburg Monarchy. Most Slovenes lived in the region known as Inner Austria, forming the majority of the population of the Duchy of Carniola and the County of Gorizia and Gradisca, as well as of Lower Styria and southern Carinthia. Slovenes also inhabited most of the territory of the Imperial Free City of Trieste, although representing the minority of its population. Slovene majorities also existed in the Prekmurje region of the Kingdom of Hungary, and in Venetian Slovenia and north-western Istria, which were part of the Republic of Venice.

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.

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation spread throughout the Slovene Lands. During this period, the first books in the Slovene language were written by the Protestant preacher Primož Trubar and his followers, establishing the base for the development of the standard Slovene language. Although almost all Protestants were expelled from the Slovene Lands (with the exception of Prekmurje) by the beginning of the 17th century, they left a strong legacy in the tradition of Slovene culture, which was partially incorporated in the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 17th century. The Slovene cultural tradition was further reinforced in the Enlightenment period in the 18th century by the endeavours of the Zois Circle.

After a short French interim between 1805 and 1813, all Slovene Lands were included in the Austrian Empire. Slowly, a distinct Slovene national consciousness developed, and the quest for a political unification of all Slovenes became widespread. In 1848, a mass political and popular movement for the United Slovenia ('''') emerged as part of the Spring of Nations movement within the Austrian Empire.

Map showing Yugoslavia in 1919 in the aftermath of World War I before the treaties of Neuilly, Trianon and Rapallo (note that this map does not reflect any internationally established borders or armistice lines – it only reflect opinion of the researchers from London Geographical Institute about issue how final borders will look after Paris Peace Conference).

Between 1848 and 1918, numerous institutions (including theatres and publishing houses, as well as political, financial and cultural organisations) were founded in the so-called Slovene National Awakening. Despite their political and institutional fragmentation and lack of proper political representation, the Slovenes were able to establish a functioning and integrated national infrastructure. During this period, the town of Ljubljana, the capital of Carniola, emerged as the undisputed centre of all Slovene Lands, while the Slovenes developed an internationally comparable literature and culture. Nevertheless, the Slovene national question remained unsolved, so the political élite started looking towards other Slavic nations in Austria-Hungary and the Balkans in order to engage in a common political action against German and Hungarian hegemony. The idea of a common political entity of all South Slavs, known as Yugoslavia, emerged.

During World War I, after the Italian attack on Austria-Hungary in 1915, the Italian front opened, and some of the most important battles (the Battles of the Isonzo) were fought along the river Soča and on the Kras Plateau in the Slovenian Littoral.

With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, the Slovenes initially joined the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, which just a few months later merged into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The western part of the Slovene Lands (the Slovenian Littoral and western districts of Inner Carniola) was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy and became known under the name of Julian March. In 1920, in the Carinthian Plebiscite, the majority of Carinthian Slovenes voted to remain in Austria. Although the Slovenes in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia were submitted to an intolerant centralist policy trying to eradicate a distinct Slovene national consciousness, they were still better off than Slovenes in Italy, Austria and Hungary, who became victims of policies of forced assimilation and violent persecution. As a reaction to the fascist violence of the Italian State in the Julian March, the organisation TIGR, was founded in 1927. In 1929, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was renamed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

On 6 April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis Powers. Slovenia was divided between Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Horthy's Hungary and several villages given to the Independent State of Croatia. Soon, a liberation movement under the Communist leadership emerged. Due to political assassinations carried out by the Communist guerrillas as well as the pre-existing radical anti-Communism of the conservative circles of the Slovenian society, a civil war between Slovenes broke out in the Italian-occupied south-eastern Slovenia (known as Province of Ljubljana) in spring of 1942. The two fighting factions were the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People and the Axis-sponsored anti-communist militia, the Slovene Home Guard, initially formed to protect villages from attacks by partisans. The Slovene partisan guerrillas managed to liberate large portions of the Slovene lands, making a contribution to the defeat of Nazism.

Following the re-establishment of Yugoslavia at the end of World War II, Slovenia became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, declared on 29 November 1945. A socialist state was established, but because of the Tito-Stalin split, 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, including access to the sea. From the 1950s, the Socialist Republic of Slovenia enjoyed a relatively wide autonomy. In 1990, Slovenia abandoned its socialist infrastructure, the first free and democratic elections were held, and the DEMOS coalition defeated the former Communist parties. The state reconstituted itself as Republic of Slovenia. In December 1990, the overwhelming majority of Slovenian citizens voted for independence, which was declared on 25 June 1991. A Ten-Day War followed in which the Slovenians rejected Yugoslav military interference. After 1990, a stable democratic system evolved, with economic liberalisation and gradual growth of prosperity. Slovenia joined NATO on 29 March 2004 and the European Union on 1 May 2004. Slovenia was the first post-Communist country to hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first six months of 2008.

Politics



National Assembly


As a young independent republic, Slovenia pursued economic stabilisation and further political openness, while emphasising its Western outlook and central European heritage. Today, with a growing regional profile, a participant in the SFOR peacekeeping deployment in Bosnia and the KFOR deployment in Kosovo, and a charter World Trade Organization member, Slovenia plays a role on the world stage quite out of proportion to its small size.

The Slovenian head of state is the president, who is elected by popular vote every five years. The executive branch is headed by the prime minister and the council of ministers or cabinet, who are elected by the National Assembly.

The bicameral Parliament of Slovenia is characterised by an asymmetric duality, as the Constitution does not accord equal powers to both chambers. It consists of the National Assembly ('), and the National Council ('). The National Assembly has ninety members, 88 of which are elected by all the citizens in a system of proportional representation, while two are elected by the indigenous Hungarian and Italian minorities. Elections take place every four years. It is the supreme representative and legislative institution, exercising legislative and electoral powers as well as control over the Executive and the Judiciary. The National Council has forty members, appointed to represent social, economic, professional and local interest groups. Among its best-known powers is the authority of the "postponing veto"—it can demand that the Parliament re-discusses a certain piece of legislation.

Slovenian Parliament

The government, most of the Slovenian polity, shares a common view of the desirability of a close association with the West, specifically of membership in both the European Union and NATO. For all the apparent bitterness that divides left and right wings, there are few fundamental philosophical differences between them in the area of public policy. Slovenian society is built on consensus, which has converged on a social-democrat model. Political differences tend to have their roots in the roles that groups and individuals played during the years of communist rule and the struggle for independence.The Slovenians have pursued internal economic restructuring with caution. The first phase of privatisation (socially owned property under the SFRY system) is now complete, and sales of remaining large state holdings are planned for next year. Trade has been diversified toward the West (trade with EU countries make up 66% of total trade in 2000) and the growing markets of central and eastern Europe. Manufacturing accounts for most employment, with machinery and other manufactured products comprising the major exports. Labor force surveys put unemployment at approximately 6.6% (Dec. 2000), with 106,153 registrations for unemployment assistance. Inflation has remained below double-digit levels, 6.1% (1999) and 8.9% (2000). Gross domestic product grew by about 4.8% in 2000 and is expected to post a slightly lower rate of 4.5% in 2001, as export demand lags. The currency is stable, fully convertible, and backed by substantial reserves. The economy provides citizens with a good standard of living.

Administrative divisions




right
The traditional regions of Slovenia based on the former four Habsburg crown lands (Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, and the Littoral) are the following:



Statistical regions


Statistical regions

The 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.


Municipalities




Slovenia is divided into 210 local municipalities, eleven of which have urban status.

Tourism




The Central European nation of Slovenia offers tourists a wide variety of landscapes in a small space: Alpine in the northwest, Mediterranean in the southwest, Pannonian in the northeast and Dinaric in the southeast.
Logarska ValleyHotel Palace in Portorož
Triglav Lakes valley
The nation's capital, Ljubljana, proudly shows its Baroque and Art Nouveau influence, and the work of native born architect Jože Plečnik. Other attractions include the Julian Alps with the picturesque Lake Bled in Bled and Soča valley, as well as the nation's highest peak, Mount Triglav. Perhaps even more famous is Slovenia's karst named after the Karst plateau in southwestern Slovenia. More than 28 million visitors have visited Postojna Cave, while a 15-minute ride from it are Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Further in the same direction is the coast of the Adriatic Sea, with a jewel of Venetian Gothic, Piran. The hills around the nation's second-largest city, Maribor, are renowned for their wine-making. Even though Slovenes tend to consume most of the wine they produce, some brands like Ljutomer have made their appearance abroad. Geology has made the northeastern part of the country rich with spas, with Rogaška Slatina being perhaps its most prominent site.

Triglav National Park (Slovene: Triglavski narodni park) is a national park located in Slovenia. It was named after mount Triglav, a national symbol of Slovenia.
Triglav is situated almost in the middle of the national park. From it the valleys spread out radially, supplying water to two large river systems having their sources in the Julian Alps: the Soča and the Sava, flowing to the Adriatic and Black Sea, respectively.

The proposal for conservation dates back to the year 1908, and was realised in 1924. Then, on the initiative taken by the Nature Protection Section of the Slovene Museum Society together with the Slovene Mountaineering Society, a twenty year lease was taken out on the Triglav Lakes Valley area, some 14km². It was destined to become an Alpine Protection Park, however permanent conservation was not possible at that time.In 1961, after many years of effort, the protection was renewed (this time on a permanent basis) and somewhat enlarged, embracing around 20km². The protected area was officially designated as the Triglav National Park. Under this act, however, all objectives of a true national park were not attained and for this reason over the next two decades, new proposals for the extension and rearrangement of the protection were put forward. Finally, in 1981, a rearrangement was achieved and the park was given a new concept and enlarged to 838km² – the area it continues to cover to this day.

Geography





Satellite image of Slovenia

Slovenia is situated in Central Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean . 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 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 or more above sea level.

Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinarides, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean. Slovenia's highest peak is Triglav (); the country's average height above sea level is . Although on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, near the Mediterranean, most of Slovenia is in the Black Sea drainage basin. The geographical centre of Slovenia is at the coordinates 46°07'11.8" N and 14°48'55.2" E. It lies in Spodnja Slivna near Vače in the municipality of Litija. Slovenia's coastline measures .





Around half of the country () is covered by forests; the third most forested country in Europe, after Finland and Sweden. Remnants of primeval forests are still to be found, the largest in the Kočevje area. Grassland covers and fields and gardens (). There are of orchards and of vineyards. There is a Continental climate in the northeast, a severe Alpine climate in the high mountain regions, and a sub-Mediterranean climate in the coastal region. Yet there is a strong interaction between these three climatic systems across most of the country. This variety is also reflected in climatic variability over time and is an important factor determining the impact of global climate change in the country.

Natural regions



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:
* the Alps (visokogorske Alpe)
* the Prealpine Hills (predalpsko hribovje)
* the Ljubljana Basin (Ljubljanska kotlina)
* Submediterranean (Littoral) Slovenia (submediteranska - primorska Slovenija)
* the Dinaric Karst of inner Slovenia (dinarski kras notranje Slovenije)
* Subpannonian Slovenia (subpanonska Slovenija)

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). These are often quite interwoven.

Protected areas of Slovenia include national parks, regional parks, and nature parks. Under the Wild Birds Directive, 26 sites totalling roughly 25% of the nation's land are "Special Protected Areas"; the Natura 2000 proposal would increase the totals to 260 sites and 32% of national territory.

Biodiversity





Although Slovenia is a small country, there is an exceptionally wide variety of habitats. In the north of Slovenia are the Alps (namely, Julian Alps, Karavanke, Kamnik Alps), and in the south stand the Dinaric Alps. There is also a small area of the Pannonian plain and a Littoral Region. Much of southwestern Slovenia is characterised by Classical Karst, a very rich, often unexplored underground habitat containing diverse flora and fauna.

About 54% of the country is covered by forests. 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. The tree line is at 1,700 to 1,800 metres (or 5,575 to 5,900ft).

Pine trees also grow on the Kras plateau. Only one third of Kras is now covered by pine forest. Before that Kras was covered by oak forest. It is said that most of the forest was chopped down long ago to provide the wooden piles on which the city of Venice now stands. The Kras and White Carniola are known for the proteus. The lime/linden tree, also common in Slovenian forests, is a national symbol.

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.

The country's fauna includes marmots, Alpine ibex, and chamois. There are numerous deer, roe deer, boar, and hares. The edible dormouse is often found in the Slovenian beech forests. Hunting these animals is a long tradition and is well described in the book ''The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola'' (Slava vojvodine Kranjske, 1689), written by Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641–1693). Some important carnivores include the Eurasian lynx (reintroduced to the Kočevje area in 1973), European wild cats, foxes (especially the red fox), and jackal. There are also hedgehogs, martens, and snakes such as vipers and grass snakes. As of March 2005, Slovenia also has a limited population of wolves and around four hundred brown bears.

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. Other birds include (both Black and Green) Woodpeckers and the White Stork, which nests in Prekmurje.

The indigenous Slovenian fish is the marble trout or marmorata (''Salmo marmoratus''). Extensive breeding programmes have been introduced to repopulate the marble trout into lakes and streams invaded by non-indigenous species of trout.

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

Domestic animals originating in Slovenia include the Carniolan honeybee, the indigenous Karst Shepherd and the Lipizzan horse. The exploration of various cave systems has yielded discoveries of many cave-dwelling insects and other organisms.

Slovenia is a veritable cornucopia of forest, cavern and mountain-dwelling wildlife. Many species that are endangered or can no longer be found in other parts of Europe can still be found here.

Economy





Ljubljana, the Economic and Administrative capital of Slovenia

Slovenia has a high-income developed economy which enjoys the second highest GDP per capita of the new member states in the European Union, at $29,472 in 2008, or 93% of the EU average. Slovenia today is a developed country that enjoys prosperity and stability, as well as a GDP per capita substantially higher than that of the other transitioning economies of Central Europe. It benefits from a well-educated and productive work force, and its political and economic institutions are vigorous and effective.

Although Slovenia has taken a cautious, deliberate approach to economic management and reform, with heavy emphasis on achieving consensus before proceeding, its overall record is one of success. Slovenia's trade is orientated towards other EU countries, mainly Germany, Austria, Italy, and France. 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. Slovenia's economy is highly dependent on foreign trade. Trade equals about 120 % of GDP (exports and imports combined). About two-thirds of Slovenia's trade is with EU members.This high level of openness makes it extremely sensitive to economic conditions in its main trading partners and changes in its international price competitiveness. However, despite the economic slowdown in Europe in 2001–03, Slovenia maintained 3% GDP growth. Keeping labour costs in line with productivity is thus a key challenge for Slovenia's economic well-being, and Slovenian firms have responded by specialising in mid- to high-tech manufacturing. Industry and construction comprise over one-third of GDP. As in most industrial economies, services make up an increasing share of output (57.1%), notably in financial services.

Despite economic success, Slovenia faces some challenges. A big portion of the economy remains in state hands and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia is one of the lowest in the EU per capita. Taxes are relatively high, the labor market is seen as inflexible, and industries are losing sales to China, India, and elsewhere.

During the 2000s, privatisations were seen in the banking, telecommunications, and public utility sectors. Restrictions on foreign investment are being dismantled, and foreign direct investment (FDI) is expected to increase. Slovenia is the economic front-runner of the countries that joined the European Union in 2004, was the first new member which adopted the euro on 1 January 2007 and held the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2008.

Transport





Railways



Slovenian Railways operates 1,229km of standard gauge tracks, 331km as double track, and reaches all regions of the country. It is well connected to every surrounding country reflecting the fact that Slovenia used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later of Yugoslavia. Rail network of Slovenia

Electrification is provided by a 3kV DC system and covers about 503km. The remainder of the former Yugoslavian railroads that have been electrified operate with 25 kV AC system, thus trains to Zagreb will be switching engines at Dobova until dual system engines are available.

Highways




The first highway in Slovenia, the A1, was opened in 1970. It connects Vrhnika and Postojna. Constructed under the liberal minded government of Stane Kavčič their development plan envisioned a modern highway network spanning Slovenia and connecting the republic to Italy and Austria. After the liberal fraction of the Communist Party of Slovenia was deposed, expansion of the Slovenian highway network came to a halt. In the 90s the new country started the 'National Programme of Highway Construction', effectively re-using the old communist plans. Since then about 400km of motorways, expressways and similar roads have been completed, easing automotive transport across the country and providing a much better road service between eastern and western Europe. This has provide a boost to the national economy, encouraging the development of transportation and export industries.
Črni Kal Viaduct on the A1 motorway
There are two types of highways in Slovenia. Avtocesta (abbr. AC) are dual carriage way motorways with a speed limit of 130km/h. They have green road signs as in Italy, Croatia and other countries near by. A hitra cesta (HC) is a secondary road, also a dual carriageway, but without an emergency lane. They have a speed limit of 100km/h and have blue road signs.

Since the 1st June 2008 highway users in Slovenia have been required to buy a vignette. This tax is being investigated by the EU Commission as it is felt that a yearly tax of 55 Euros is unfair upon holiday makers and other non Slovenian users of the highway system. The government has suggested meeting these criticisms by introducing the option of buying a 10 day pass.

As of 2008 159km of Highway is under construction in Slovenia. Out of this total 94km shall be opened during the year and work shall begin upon a further 10km.

Ports and harbours



Port of Koper by night

Until the end of World War I the main Austrian imperial port of Trieste (Slovene: Trst, German: Triest) was the main port in Slovenia. As the city stood surrounded by territory inhabited by Slovenes and its population being a third Slovene, it was hoped that it would, based on Wilson's 14 points, form a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. But after the city fell to Italy and remained under Italy after World War II which was finalised in the London Memorandum of Understanding of 1954 the Slovenian government saw the need for a new port. Thus the Port of Koper was established in 1957 and opened to international trade in 1958.
The port has since been much expanded, and in 2007 more than 15 million tonnes of cargo passed through it, making it the second biggest port in the North Eastern Adriatic after Trieste and before Rijeka. Further development and expansion of the port in Koper now depends largely on the construction of the third pier and on the opening of a second rail track between Koper and the Slovene rail network to ease the transport of goods from the port to the rest of Slovenia and Europe. This work still needs to be announced by the national government and local authorities, with whom the provision of these new facilities largely rests.

Air Force Base in Cerklje ob Krki

Airports



Slovenia has 3 international airports of any note. Ljubljana airport is by far the busiest airport in the country with connections to many major European destinations. More than 1.5 million passengers pass through per annum and 22,000 tonnes of cargo is moved per year. The second largest international airport serves Maribor.
However, this has struggled since Slovenian independence due to economic changes in the Maribor region. Only 30,000 passengers passed through in 2007. There is also a small international airport in Sečovlje on the Slovene littoral, near the resort town of Portorož, which only serves small private aircraft.
Slovenia has also an active Air Force Base in Cerklje ob Krki Airbase.

Communications



The use of internet in Slovenia is widespread; according to official polls in the first quarter of 2008, 58% citizens between the ages 10 and 74 were internet users, which is above Europe's average. In the same period, 59% households (85% of which through broadband) and 97% companies with 10 or more employed (84% of those through broadband) had internet access. The country's top-level domain is .si. It is administered by ARNES, the Academic and Research Network of Slovenia. Other major providers are Telekom Slovenije (under the trademark SiOL), UPC Telemach, AMIS and T-2. Slovenian internet service providers provide ADSL; ITU G.992.5, VDSL, SHDSL, VDSL2 and FTTH.

Demographics






Slovenia's main ethnic group is Slovene (83%). Ethnic groups from other parts of the former Yugoslavia (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Montenegrin) form 5.3%, and the Hungarian, Albanian, Roma, Italian and other minorities form 2.8% of the population. Ethnic affiliation of 8.9% was either undeclared or unknown.

Life expectancy in 2003 was 72.2 years for men and 80 years for women. Slovenia ranks number 4 on the list of countries by suicide rate.

With 99 inhabitants per square kilometre (256/sqmi), Slovenia ranks low among the European countries in population density (compared to 320/km² (829/sqmi) for the Netherlands or 195/km² (505/sqmi) for Italy). The Notranjska-Kras statistical region has the lowest population density while the Central Slovenian statistical region has the highest. Approximately 51% of the population lives in urban areas and 49% in rural areas.



The official language is Slovene, which is a member of the South Slavic language group. Hungarian and Italian enjoy the status of official languages in the ethnically mixed regions along the Hungarian and Italian borders.

By religion, Slovenes are traditionally largely Roman Catholic (57.8% according to the 2002 Census).

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 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".

Culture








Slovenia's first book was printed by the Protestant reformer Primož Trubar (1508–1586). It was actually two books, Catechismus (a catechism) and Abecedarium, which were published in 1550 in Tübingen, Germany.



The central part of the country, namely Carniola (which existed as a part of Austria-Hungary until the early 20th century) was ethnographically and historically well-described in the book ''The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola'' (''Die Ehre deß Herzogthums Crain'', ''Slava vojvodine Kranjske''), published in 1689 by Baron Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641–1693).

Some of Slovenia's greatest authors were the poets France Prešeren (1800–1849), Oton Župančič, Srečko Kosovel, Edvard Kocbek and Dane Zajc, as well as the writer and playwright Ivan Cankar (1876–1918). Boris Pahor, Evald Flisar, Drago Jančar, Alojz Rebula, Tomaž Šalamun and Aleš Debeljak are some of the leading names of contemporary Slovene literature.

The most important Slovene painters include Jurij Šubic and Anton Ažbe in late 19th century. Ivana Kobilca, Rihard Jakopič, Ivan Grohar worked in the beginning of 20th century while Avgust Černigoj, Lojze Spacal, Anton Gojmir Kos, Riko Debenjak, Marij Pregelj, exceptional Gabrijel Stupica, Janez Bernik worked mostly in the second part of 20. century. Contemporary artists are Emerik Bernard, Metka Krašovec, Ivo Prančič, Gustav Gnamuš, group IRWIN and Marko Peljhan. Zoran Mušič, who worked in Paris and Venice, obtained world fame.

Some important Slovene sculptors were Fran Berneker, Lojze Dolinar, Zdenko Kalin, Slavko Tihec, Janez Boljka and now Jakov Brdar and Mirsad Begić. The most famed Slovene architects were Jože Plečnik and Max Fabiani and later Edo Ravnikar and Milan Mihelič.

Slovenia is a homeland of numerous musicians and composers, including Renaissance composer Jacobus Gallus (1550–1591), who greatly influenced Central European classical music, and the violin virtuoso Giuseppe Tartini. In the twentieth 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, Lačni Franz, New Swing Quartet, DJ Umek, Valentino Kanzyani, Siddharta, Big Foot Mama,Terrafolk, Katalena, Magnifico and others.

Slovene cinema has more than a century-long tradition with Karol Grossmann, Janko Ravnik, Ferdo Delak, France Štiglic, Mirko Grobler, Igor Pretnar, France Kosmač, Jože Pogačnik, Matjaž Klopčič, Jane Kavčič, Jože Gale, Boštjan Hladnik and Karpo Godina as its most established filmmakers. Contemporary film directors Janez Burger, Jan Cvitkovič, Damjan Kozole, Janez Lapajne and Maja Weiss are the most notable representatives of the so-called "Renaissance of Slovenian cinema".

Famous Slovene scholars include the chemist and Nobel prize laureate Friderik - Fritz Pregl, physicist Joseph Stefan, psychologist and anthropologist Anton Trstenjak, philosophers Slavoj Žižek and Milan Komar, linguist Franc Miklošič, physician Anton Marko Plenčič, mathematician Jurij Vega, sociologist Thomas Luckmann, theologian Anton Strle and rocket engineer Herman Potočnik.

Education







The Slovenian education system consists of:
* pre-school education
* basic education (single structure of primary and lower secondary education)
* (upper) secondary education: vocational and technical education, secondary general education
* higher vocational education
* higher education

Specific parts of the system:
* adult education
* music and dance education
* special needs education
* programmes in ethnically and linguistically mixed areas

Currently there are three public universities in Slovenia:
* University of Ljubljana
* University of Maribor
* University of Primorska

In addition, there is the private University of Nova Gorica.

The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Slovenia's education as the 12th best in the world, being significantly higher than the OECD average.

Primary school


Children first enter primary schooling at about the age of 6 and finish at about the age of 14. Each group of children born in the same year form one grade or class in primary school which lasts until the end of primary school. Each grade or year is divided into 2 terms. Once or twice per term, children have holidays: Autumn, Christmas, winter and May first holidays; each holiday is approximately one week long. At summer time, school ends on 24 June (except in the last/ninth grade, where it ends one week earlier), followed by a holiday of more than two months. The next school year starts on the 1 September.

Slovenia
Source: Wikipedia