Some people wrongly consider Britain and USA to be the only beautiful places in the world. There are a large number of lovely countries where the tourists have still not yet reached in their millions. Slovenia is one such country which is diverse and beautiful. Hidden away in the very heart of Europe, Slovenia is where the Alps meet the Mediterrarean and the green forests and snow-capped mountains end up with the Adriatic coast.
With the dissolution of former Yogoslavia,Slovenian Parliament declared the independence of Slovenia on 26th June 1991, thus fructifying the dream of our ancestors.
Capital Ljubjlana around Christmas time- Photo by Anurag Chatrath
Some people call Slovenia-which has Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy as neighbours – a country “On the Sunny Side of Alps”. It is an Alpine country, as well as having tourist resorts at the Adriatic Sea, with healthy spas and a home to the famous Lipica horse-Lippizzaner. Some visitors call it “the best kept secret in Europe”, or “Europe in miniature”. The population of Slovenia is 2,055,496.
India was known to Slovene people many centuries ago. “India Koromandia” was pictured as a land of abundance in the old Slovene folk songs. The stories of the missionaries, sailors, soldiers and adventurers have kept alive the perceptions about India till this date.
Slovenia officially the Republic of Slovenia is a nation state in southern Central Europe at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. Four major European geographic units meet on the territory of Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinaric Mountains, the Pannonian Plain, and the Mediterranean, with a small portion of coastline along the Adriatic Sea It borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Hungary to the northeast. It covers 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.05 million. It is a parliamentary republic and a member of the European Union and NATO. Its capital and largest city is Ljubljana. Ljubjlana town has a population of 280,000.
Ljubjlana Railway Station (Photo by Anurag Chatrath)
The well known tour operating company Responsible Travel (www.responsible travel.com) has listed out the following ten reasons why one must visit Slovenia:
1. Slovenia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. In total, it is home to over 24,000 species of animal, 1% of all living beings and 2% of all land animals.
2. Slovenia is the third most wooded country in Europe (after Finland and Sweden). Almost 60% of all its territory is covered by forest. In recent decades, this share has only increased, as more than 200,000 trees are planted annually.
3. Emona, the Roman colony that once stood on the site of present-day Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, turns 2,000 in 2014. To mark the occasion, the capital will host numerous Roman-based festivals and exhibitions.
4. The geographical and climatic diversity and variety of Slovenia allows you to pick autumn fruits in the morning, take a swim in the Adriatic in the afternoon and go night skiing in the evening. For healthy, nature-filled breaks the Pokljuka Plateau, set in between Lakes Bled and Bohinj, is a real winter wonderland.
A stunning building in Ljubjlana. Photo by Anurag Chatrath
5. Slovenia is one of the most water-rich countries in Europe. Its rivers, streams and other watercourses measure 27,000km in total. Moreover, Slovenia has numerous thermal and mineral springs and lots of underground waters.
6. The oldest vine in the world grows in Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia. It is more than 400 years old and 25 litres of wine are still produced from its grapes annually.
7. Slovenia is home to around 3,000 churches, chapels and shrines, making it one of Europe’s top countries for sacral objects per capita.
8. It is one of the best countries in Europe for year-round activities.
Spend your winters skiing in the Julian Alps, sunbathe along the Mediterranean in the summer and try your hand at a long list of sports and activities in between!
9. Slovenia is a country famous for caves including the magnificent Postojna Caves, and the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Škocjan Caves. They are also one of the famous systems of limestone (karstic) caves in the world.
10. Some of the freshest fishing in Europe is found in Slovenia. It is a country with abundant water, making it the perfect destination for fishing. There are more than 45 watercourses over 25km long and many waterfalls, gorges and lakes.
Ljubljana: This town is not only the political capitol of Slovenia, it is the cultural, musical and business capitol. It is full of great attractions – the Ljubljana Zoo, St. Nicholas Cathedral of Ljubljana, Ljubljana Castle, and historic Dragon Bridge, a remnant of the times when Slovenia was under Austria-Hungarian rule. Other Ljubljana attractions include the BTC Shopping District, the beautiful Congress Square and the Vodno mesto Atlantis. Some famous sites are:
- Illyrian Monument
- Robba Fountain
- Tivoli Castle
- Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
- National and University Library of Slovenia
- Dragon Bridge
- Triple Bridge
- St. Nicholas Cathedral
- Ljubljana Castle
- National Gallery of Slovenia
- National Museum of Slovenia
Bled: Slovenia has only one island but its uniqueness makes it more attractive than many an archipelago. Sheltered by picturesque mountains, the island reigns in the middle of an Alpine lake. Its charm has made it a symbol for centuries of a town to which guests from all over the world love to return. This town, which has already existed for a thousand years, is Bled.
(Photo source: Wikipedia)
The town, already famous at the beginning of the 20th century as the most beautiful health spa of the then Austrian empire, attracted the European aristocratic elite. After WWII, one of the most attractive state residences of the former regime was located in Bled. Many of the world’s most important people thus enjoyed the beauties of Bled. And now, for decades already, the pilgrims of the new age have been discovering this town. The total population of Bled as in 2002 was 5252.
Walking and coaching trails around the lake, traditional boats, ringing the island’s wishing bell, the castle treasures, the nearby ski pistes, mountain trails, golf courses, hunting, fishing, the casino, congress facilities – these are some of the many attractions of Bled.
On the island in the middle of the lake, the ancient Slavs worshipped Živa, goddess of love and fertility. Pilgrims later came to the church of St Mary on the island. A thousand years ago, on 10 April 1004, the town of Bled was mentioned for the first time when the Holy German emperor, Henry II, gifted it to the Bishop of Brixen. At that distant time, a Roman tower already stood at the top of the cliff rising vertically 100 m above the lake, and it still forms part of the mighty castle that now houses a museum collection. The town flourished in the Middle Ages due to pilgrims, and these were replaced in the 19th century by the first tourists. The Swiss hydropathist, Arnold Rikli, discovered that the gentle climate and the lake and thermal waters are a source of good health and well-being. The local people supplemented the health spa offer with guest houses and hotels.
Air fare: A return air ticket from New Delhi to Ljubjlana costs around Rs. 67,000/.
Weather: The maximum and minimum temperatures in Ljubljana in December are 4 and -1 degrees celsius and in August, which is the warmest month, these are 28 and 15 degrees celsius.
Slovenian Tourist Board: Dimičeva 13, 1000 Ljubljana
tel.: +386 1 589 85 50; fax: +386 1 589 85 60
e-mail: [email protected]; http://www.travel-slovenija.com/
Ljubljana’s airport – Joze Pucnik (LJU) is 20.40 kms from the city centre.
Some useful websites:
http://www.slovenia.info/ – The Official Travel Guide by Slovenian Tourist Board.
http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/ (Information in English on Slovenia)
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information:
15 suggested trips / Excursions in Slovenia:
1. A trip to the Škocjan caves, PORTOROŽ;
2. The city of Koper and Marezige village;
3. Vipavski Križ – jewel of historic and cultural heritage,
4. Ajdovščina’s Technical Heritage, AJDOVŠČINA
5. Excursion panorama by boat
6. Gora Plateau above Vipava Valley – Between Two Worlds
7. Idrija – on the Mercury Route, IDRIJA;
8. Lokavec – Village of Carters and Blacksmiths,
9. Postojna cave and Predjama castle
10. Šturje – Home Town of the First Slovenian Puppet Theatre, AJDOVŠČINA
11. Taste of the countryside;
12. Ljubljana – The capital city, PORTOROŽ
13. Idrija and Cerkno region;
14. Idrija and Vojsko – the highest village in Primorska region;
15. The bread my grandmother baked, ROGATEC;
102 Suggested Tours in Slovenia: For seeing a list of 102 suggested tours in Slovenia, please click at the following link: http://www.slovenia.info/en/Travelling-around-Slovenia.htm?potovanja_po_sloveniji=0&lng=2
Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia New Delhi: A – 5/4, Vasant Vihar
New Delhi 110 057, India
T: + 91 11/ 41662891; visa section: T: + 91 11/ 41662893; F: + 91 11 /41662895; E: vnd(at)gov.si
Ambassador H.E. Darja Bavdaž Kuret
(Text with inputs from the internet)
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