Slovenia is officially known as the Republic of Slovenia and called Slovenija by its residents. Slovenia takes its name from the Slovenes, the group of South Slavs who originally settled the area.
Eighty-seven percent of the population considers itself Slovene, while Hungarians and Italians constitute significant groups and have the status of indigenous minorities under the Slovenian Constitution, guaranteeing them seats in the National Assembly.
There are other minority groups, most of whom immigrated, for economic reasons, from other regions of the former Yugoslavia after World War II. Slovenia is situated in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula and is bordered by Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Italy and the Adriatic Sea to the west.
The Adriatic coast of Slovenia is about 39 miles 50 kilometers in length, running from the border with Italy to the border with Croatia. Slovenia's Kras plateau, between central Slovenia and the Italian frontier, is an interesting area of unusual geological formations, underground rivers, caves, and gorges. Three main rivers located in the northeast, the Mura, the Drava, and the Sava, provide valuable sources of water. On the Pannonian plain to the east and northeast, near the borders with Hungary and Croatia, the landscape is primarily flat.
Nevertheless, the majority of the country is hilly to mountainous with about ninety percent of its land at least feet meters above sea level. Slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, Slovenia is approximately 7, square miles 20, square kilometers in area. Areas along the coast enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate while those in the mountains to the north have cold winters and rainy summers.
The plateaus to the east, where Ljubljana is located, have a mild, more moderate climate with warm to hot summers and cold winters. InSlovenia had an overall population of about 1, with an overall population density of people per square mile 97 per square kilometer.
The majority of the population was ethnically Slovene, a Slavic group.
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The rest of the population was made up of Croats 2. Almost half of all Slovenes live in urban areas, mostly in Ljubljana and Maribor, the two largest cities, with the rest of the population distributed throughout rural areas.
The official language of the republic, Slovene, is a Slavic language. About 7 percent of the population speaks Serbo-Croatian.
Most Slovenes speak at least two languages. Unlike other Slavic cultures, the Slovenes have been greatly influenced by German and Austrian cultures, a result of centuries of rule by the Austrian Habsburgs. Italian influence is evident in the regions that border Italy.
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These non-Slavic influences are reflected in the Slovene language, which is written in the Latin alphabet, while most Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet. The variety of dialects is also a result of the shared borders with four different nations.
During the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Slovenia's language, which Slovenia had been considered a peasant language compared to the more prestigious German, was used by political and religious factions as an instrument of propaganda. Although initially a political tool, Slovene eventually gained a new level of prestige and provided a linguistic identity that helped shape Slovenia's national identity.
Two important national symbols are the linden tree and the chamois, a European antelope, both of which are abundant throughout the country.
Slovenia's flag consists of three horizontal bands of white on the top, blue, and then red on the bottom with a shield in the upper left.
On the shield are three white mountain peaks with three gold six-pointed stars above them. The stars were taken from the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje, the Slovenian dynastic house of the late fourteenth—early fifteenth centuries. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation.
Starting in the sixth century C. This independent state persisted until the latter part of the eighth century when it was absorbed into the Frankish empire.
Communist partisans, under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, fiercely resisted the German, Italian, and Hungarian occupation, leading to the establishment of a socialist Yugoslavia toward the end of the war. During the postwar Communist period, Slovenia was the most prosperous region of Yugoslavia. After Tito's death inserious disagreements and unrest among Yugoslavia's regions began to grow, and the central government in Belgrade sought to further strengthen its control.
The local Slovene government resisted and in Septemberthe General Assembly of the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia adopted an amendment to its constitution asserting the right of Slovenia to secede from Yugoslavia. On 25 Junethe Republic of Slovenia declared its independence.
A bloodless tenday war with Yugoslavia followed, ending in the withdrawal of Belgrade's forces and official recognition of Slovenia's status as an independent republic. As a newly independent state, Slovenia has sought economic stabilization and governmental reorganization, emphasizing its central European heritage and its role as a bridge between eastern and western Europe.
With its increased regional profile, including its status as a nonpermanent member of the United Nations Security Council and as a charter member of the World Trade Organization, Slovenia plays an important role in world politics considering its small size. Under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Slovenia was a part of the Austrian crown lands of Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria, except for a minority of Slovenes living under the republic of Venice.
During the Napoleonic Wars, when Slovenia was part of the Illyrian Provinces, a period of relative liberal rule helped fuel the growth of Slovene and Slav nationalism, which ultimately triumphed at the end of World War I. Despite forced transfers during World War II, most Slovenes have managed to remain in Slovenia, and in Istria, the Slovenian-speaking area of Italy on the Adriatic coast, also joined the republic. More than 87 percent of the population identifies itself as Slovene although minorities are an integral part of the society.
Although Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia from tothe country has always identified strongly with central Europe, maintaining a balance between its Slavic culture and language and Western influences. The ethnic conflicts and civil unrest that have plagued other regions of the former Yugoslavia in the s and early twenty-first century, have been avoided in Slovenia.
Conscious of its unique position as a bridge between east and west, Slovenia is developing its identity as a newly independent republic while maintaining a balanced relationship with the different cultures of its neighbors.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space Slovenia's towns have many well-preserved buildings representing various styles of architecture dating from the s on. Fine examples of Roman-esque architecture can be found throughout Slovenia, including the church at Sticna Abbey and Podsreda Castle. Architecture from the late Gothic period also survives. Many buildings in older sections of Slovenia's towns are in the Italian Baroque style, particularly in Ljubljana. After a serious earthquake inextensive sections of Ljubljana were rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style.
Throughout Slovenia the focus of town life revolves around the older city centers, squares, churches, and marketplaces. Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Slovenia has a rich culinary tradition that is a product of both its climate and its location at the crossroads of central Europe. Slovene culinary heritage is reflective of Mediterranean, Alpine, and Eastern European cultures. Although every region in Slovenia has its own specialties, most of Slovenia's oldest traditional dishes are made using flour, buckwheat, or barley, as well as potatoes and cabbage.
The town of Idrija, west of Ljubljana, is known for its idrija zlikrofi, spiced potato balls wrapped in thinly rolled dough, and zeljsevka, rolled yeast dough with herb filling. The town of Murska Sobota, Slovenia's northernmost city, is famous for its prekmurska gibanica, a pastry filled with cottage cheese, poppy seeds, walnuts, and apple.
Slovenia also produces a variety of wines, an activity dating back to the days when the country was a part of the Roman Empire. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. There are some particular dishes prepared for special occasions including potica, a dessert with a variety of fillings, and braided loaves of traditional bread for Christmas.
In country towns the slaughtering of a pig, all parts of which are used to make a variety of pork products, is still a major event.
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After its independence from Yugoslavia inSlovenia went through a period of transition as it adjusted to economic changes as a new, small republic moving away from socialism. Although the first few years were difficult, Slovenia has now emerged as one of the strongest economies among the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe.
The economic outlook, however, remained unclear in the early twenty-first century as the rate of inflation hovered around 10 percent with unemployment at Slovenia's loss of its markets in the former Yugoslavia, which once accounted for 30 percent of its exports, has caused the country to modernize its factories and production methods as it seeks to attract foreign investment.
Slovenia's growth rate in was estimated at 3. Land Tenure and Property. Primogeniture, inheritance by the oldest son, historically determined land distribution in Slovenia. Land and property were kept intact and passed down through families, a tradition that helped limit land fragmentation, which was common in other parts of the Balkans.
Despite its years under Yugoslavia's socialist government, Slovenia's strong tradition of family-owned property helped it maintain its distribution of property. Agricultural land, accounting for almost 43 percent of the territory, and forests, covering more than half, make Slovenia the "greenest" country in Europe next to Finland.
Nevertheless, 52 percent of Slovenes live in urban areas in small houses and apartment buildings. Formerly state-owned farms and land have been reprivatized. Among the numerous commercial activities in Slovenia, many cater to tourism. Slovenia's proximity to the Alps and the Mediterranean, along with its climate, makes it a popular tourist destination.
The business derived from tourist hotels, ski resorts, golf courses, and horseback-riding centers provides employment for a growing number of Slovenes. Major industries include the production of electrical equipment, processed food, paper and paper products, chemicals, textiles, metal and wood products, and electricity.
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Other important industries include the manufacturing of shoes, skis, and furniture. Coal mines and steel mills continue to operate and new factories, such as the French Renault car assembly plant, reflect recent foreign investment in Slovenia.
Germany is Slovenia's most important trading partner both for exports and imports.
Other important trading partners include Croatia, Italy, France, and Austria. Exports include chemical products, food and live animals, furniture, machinery, and transportation equipment.
Slovenia imports manufactured products and consumer goods. In the process of privatizing state-owned businesses was begun and many Slovenes have taken advantage of these changes to become owners of or shareholders in companies.
A large section of the population works in the tourism industry, but only one out of ten people work in agriculture. Many Slovenes, however, pursue small-scale agricultural activities, such as beekeeping and grape growing, as side businesses.
Social Stratification Classes and Castes. According to the census, 87 percent of people are Slovenes. There are approximately 8, ethnic Hungarians, 3, Italians, and 2, Gypsies living in Slovenia.
The Hungarian and Italian populations are recognized by the government as indigenous minorities and are protected under the constitution. The Gypsies, however, are viewed with suspicion and are frequently targets of ethnic discrimination. Despite government attempts, past and present, to provide employment and increase school attendance among Gypsies, most of them continue to hold on to their nomadic way of life, shunning mainstream education and jobs.
Since the start of civil unrest in other regions of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia has become a refuge for those escaping from both violence and poor economic conditions. There are also several thousand migrants from Croatia who enter Slovenia every day to work. The peasants, who once accounted for a large part of the population, decreased dramatically in numbers during the post-World War II era as Slovenia, along with the rest of Yugoslavia, underwent a rapid transformation from an agricultural to an industrial society.
By the early s, over half of agricultural workers were women. Postwar industrialization created a new class of workers, including government employees who achieved desirable positions through education and political connections. A small intellectual caste has been present in Slovenia since the nineteenth century. A large section of Slovenia's population is now a part of the well-educated, urban-dwelling middle class.
Extreme class differences between rich and poor are not present. Symbols of Social Stratification.
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