Country info » The Country and Its People

The Country and Its People

 

Geographical characteristics, climate

The Republic of Slovenia lies at the heart of Europe, where the Alps and the Mediterranean meet the Pannonian plains and the mysterious Karst.

In Slovenia, the sun shines approximately 2,000 hours per year. And there is plenty of snow in winter. The average temperatures are -2°C in January and 21°C in July.

Green is the dominant colour. There are many woods and forests in Slovenia - covering more than half of the country - and numerous preserved and protected plant and animal species. In one of the last primeval forests of the Kočevje area, it is possible to hike through for days without ever emerging onto the plain.

As a small, beautiful and picturesque country, Slovenia makes a great tourist destination. You can ski in the morning and surrender yourself to the luxury of the Adriatic Sea in the afternoon.

Slovenia has 46.6 km of sea coast - one inch per inhabitant.

The highest mountain is called Triglav - the name meaning "three-heads" - and it is 2864m high. The mountain is a true national symbol, featured on the national coat of arms and the flag.

It is very easy to get here as the country is connected with the rest of the world by a modern highway network, railway system, international airport and seaports.

People (distribution, density)

Slovenia has a population of 1,964,036, of which 83.06% are Slovenes (2002 census). In Slovenia there are also two national minority communities of Italians and Hungarians. They are considered indigenous minorities, and their rights are protected under the Constitution.

Other ethnic groups include Croats, Serbs, Bosnians (Muslims), Yugoslavs, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Albanians. The status and special rights of Gypsy communities living in Slovenia are determined by statute.

Slovenia is approximately 50% urban and 50% rural.

Population density is 99.7 inhabitants per km2, which is much lower than in the majority of other European states. People have mainly settled the river valleys and transport routes, where long ago Slovenian towns began to emerge, whilst the mountainous and forested areas remain unpopulated.

Language

The country's official language is Slovene, which makes use of the Latin alphabet.

The Slovenian language has played a special role throughout Slovenian history. It is still considered one of the foundations of national identity. In spite of various influences, it has preserved its special linguistic features - the most notable being the archaic dual form. This is the grammatical number used for two people or things in all inflected parts of speech.

Even a limited proficiency in Slovene will make your trip both easier and more rewarding. It will save you time finding what you want, be it a hotel room, a special dish on the menu or an item you want to buy.

Religion

The majority of Slovenes (almost 60%) are Roman Catholics, although there more than 40 other religious communities, spiritual groups, societies and associations registered in Slovenia.

The Office for Religious Communities
Its activities include maintaining a register of active religious communities and providing information on the relevant legislation.

Slovenes abroad
There are indigenous Slovenian minorities in Italy, Austria and in Hungary. Between 250,000 and 400,000 Slovenes (depending on whether second and subsequent generations are counted) live outside the country, in other continents and in EU countries.

Slovenian Genealogy
Useful page when looking for Slovenian ancestors, doing genealogical research on Slovenian roots from abroad; searching for names, etc.

Food and Drink

Slovenia is also known for its great wines and delicious traditional food.

Recipes
Slovenian food is a feast for the gourmet. Many restaurants offer a wide range of traditional national dishes, as well as international dishes like pizza, pasta and oriental dishes. The coast affords excellent seafood, including shellfish and the Adriatic bluefish.

One recent eating trend in Slovenia is the "slow food movement". A typical "slow food" meal takes place in a restaurant or at a private home among a group of family members or close friends. There are usually eight or more courses, the emphasis being on local produce, old-style recipes and a relaxed pace, with a different wine to accompany each course.

Wines
Slovenia lies on the southern slopes of the Alps and touches the Mediterranean, so it enjoys the best of both worlds, as well as climatic uncertainties from both North and South. However, the tradition of wine production is very long, going back at least to the time of the Roman Empire.

Nowadays, 38 vine varieties are grown in 14 wine districts. This, together with the natural conditions mentioned above, provides a very rich diversity of taste, smell and colour in the different wines. With the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, wild mushrooms, dairy products and fresh pasta available here, vegetarians are sure to enjoy their time in Slovenia, too.

Holidays

1st and 2nd January New Year
8th February Prešeren Day, Slovenian Cultural Holiday
  Easter Sunday and Monday
27th April Day of Uprising Against Occupation
1st and 2nd May Labour Day
  Whit Sunday
25th June National Day
15th August Assumption Day
17th August Slovenians in Prekmurje Incorporated into the Mother Nation
15th September Restoration of the Primorska Region to the Motherland
31st October Reformation Day
1st November All Souls' Day
23rd November Rudolf Maister Day
25th December Christmas
26th December Independence and Unity Day