Slovenia with its capital Ljubljana is a tiny jewel tucked between Vienna and Venice, a small-scale Alpine republic with a large-scale landscape. Slovenia is a peaceful, charming, and uncrowded corner of old Europe, from the Julian Alps rising to over almost 2900m (9000 feet) to its vineyard-covered hills and royal blue sea. The historic towns are unspoiled, the mountain valleys pristine, the hospitality superlative and the hiking opportunities endless, with beautiful trails everywhere, from the spectacular limestone peaks of Triglav National Park to ancient Piran on the deep blue sea Slovenian Coast.
Back in 1990, Slovenia became the first Yugoslav republic to hold free elections and vote in favour of independence. Efforts to secede gradually were rejected by Yugoslav authorities, and a series of confrontations between the Yugoslav army and the newly established Slovenian army followed. On June 25, 1991 Slovenia declared its independence and a 10-day war ensued, but facing fierce resistance from the Slovenian militia and its newly established Slovenian army, and with the world watching, the Yugoslav army backed down.
Thus, in 1991 cartographers around the world had to draw a new Central European state called Slovenia between the Pannonia plain and the Adriatic Sea. The country includes the high-mountain Eastern Alps, the western fringe of the Pannonia basin, the karstified Western Dinaric Mountain Range, and the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea’s coast in the Gulf of Trieste.
Slovenia is located on one of Europe’s major crossroads of ancient routes: from Vienna to Trieste and Venice through the Ljubljana Gate, and from Munich to Constantinople/Istanbul on the Tauern axis which joins the Balkan axis at the Sava River. No traces of war or terrorism, common to most of ex-Yugoslavia and some other Balkan states, can be found in Slovenia, due to its relatively calm divorce from Yugoslavia and Belgrade. Since then, the country has displayed exceptional peacefulness and economic stability.
Slovenia, which has slightly over two million people and occupies an area comparable in size to Massachusetts, Belgium or Israel, joined the European Union in May 2004. It is the only new member state of the EU, which has met the strict and demanding criteria for adoption of the Euro (see Practical Info / Banknotes & Coins) in a very short time of its EU membership, and is to introduce the European single currency on January 1, 2007.
Slovenia is a predominantly mountainous country, covered with vast forests; in Kočevski Rog visitors can walk in one of the last European primeval forests and admire giant trees, while hunters may come upon deer, wolves, lynxes and bears. The facts that the olive tree thrives in the Karst and coastal part of Slovenia, and that the climate-sensitive wine grape is grown in the whole territory of Slovenia make it clear that the sun is a major factor of the pleasant living environment. Sportsmen and tourists know Slovenia for its exceptional natural conditions: it takes less than an hour by car from the Alpine skiing courses to the warm Adriatic Sea. You are kindly invited to explore the Slovenia’s natural beauties, its cultural heritage and discover the enchanting hidden places on the Sunny Side of the Alps.
Fixed Public Holidays
January 1 and 2 – New Year
February 8 – Preseren Day, Slovene Culture Day
April 27 – National Resistance Day
May 1 and 2 – Labour Day
June 25 – Statehood Day
August 15 – Assumption
October 31 – Reformation Day
November 1 – All Saints
December 25 – Christmas
December 26 – Independence Day
Selected Holidays in Slovenia
Cultural Holiday, February 8th
The central Slovenian Cultural Holiday being also called the Prešeren’s Day has been solemnized since 1945. It was announced for the cultural holiday of Slovenian nation on February 1st, 1945, since 1991 it has been also a working free day.
During the central solemnity in Ljubljana, also state prizes for achievements in the field of arts’ creativity have been awarded. Beside the central solemnity in Ljubljana, there are also numerous other solemnities and cultural manifestations taking place elsewhere; many cultural institutions have the so called Day of Open Doors. Prizes are also awarded by the University of Ljubljana, these are meant for the students of individual faculties and academies for top achievements in the field of research and arts’ creativity.
During the past years, there have been literary appearances of our poets and writers at the Prešeren’s Monument, some Slovenian publishing houses organise literary meetings and present the novelties in the field of literature and science.
Valentine’s Day, February 14th
At the end of the eighties and in the nineties of this century, from North America and Western Europe, celebration of Valentine’s Day, holiday of all being in love, spread also to our country. Formerly, this was a holiday of young people, fiances who exchanged their presents on this day. Mostly, these were sweets. The Valentine’s Day also has its holiday colour, which is red and a symbol, which is a heart.
The fact that some »foreign« solemnity gradually comes to the Slovenian cultural area and gains its adherents is in fact nothing bad. Bad and negative are at least two things: with the holiday we take over and even exceed its present (gift) contents and we do not try to find some of our special contents. And finally, in our country we don’t know much about celebrating Valentine’s which is something completely different and above all with very rich and long history. So we can easily play in Casino Online Slovenia on this day.
According to the old folk calendar and belief, St. Valentine brings the key of roots every year. In short, the first announcer of waking up the nature although it is still far away from the springtime. But this first »spring announcer« is in Slovenia known also as the day when birds are having their wedding feast. In some places, e.g. in Bela Krajina St. Valentine was worshipped also as protector of cattle. In Prlekija, housewives baked special flat cakes in the form of small birds and put them among boughs of bushes and trees. Children used to go from house to house on Valentine’s and search for good things which were put in the boughs. In some places, they were told that they had to go barefoot to the bushes on this day if they wanted to see the wedding feast of the birds…and between the boughs, there were surprises for them, from small birds made of white bread paste, to gibanice (moving cakes) and other kinds of food.
Christmas and Easter belong to the biggest Christian feasts. For both of them, we can speak of the customs and habits of a ceratin period and not only of solemnity of a certain day.
At the time of Easter, we speak about the customs of the Easter time or period where a week before the Easter has a great meaning. This is the Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is a feast day of the Church being dedicated to the memory of the Christ’s entrance to Jerusalem. Riding a she-ass, he was expected by a huge mass of the Jerusalems greeting him with olive tree branches. Celebrating this feast was always very solemn. Like all customs and habits, these also changed. In the past centuries, in many places of Europe and also in our places, people used to lead a Palm donkey ridden by an actor representing the Christ.
Today, the solemnity is connected with Palm Sunday processions and blessing of buckets of young greenery, tight up and knitted into bundles. These have different names in Slovenia (beganica, boganica, presnec, prajtelj, potica, pegelj etc.) which indicates the hypothesis that these bundles had formerly been a kind of pastry, decorated by young greeneries and plants. This, of course leads us to far past, in any case into the period before Christ when human used to bring gifts to supernatural forces at the time of awakening nature and in this way he was suposed to ensure good crops and health.
The richness of forms, sizes and technological solutions of Slovenian bundles is extraordinry. The youngest ones are the Ljubljana bundles which are composed of varicoloured plane parts and some evergreen plants. In the thirties of the 20th Century, they were manufactured by inhabitants from the edge of the city for the citizens of Ljubljana and they offered them on the market. Some examples of decoration of bundles are known already from the years of the first World War, but the real bloom of this home craft was in the mentioned years. Today, the Ljubljana bundles are a rarity in the palette of this creative richness in Slovenia.
Labour’s Day, May 1st
The International Workers’ Day was first celebrated on May 1st 1890 for the victims of demonstrations in Chicago where workers were fighting for eight hour’s working day.
The first solemnities of this working class feast were also on the Slovenian ethnical territory already in 1890 in Ljubljana, Trst/Trieste, Celovec/Klagenfurt and Maribor. It was announced as a state holiday on April 22nd 1945. In 1949, it became a two days’ holiday, in 1973 its name was changed into Labour’s Day and as such it has remained until now.
The forms of celebrating this feast were very different through the history. The feast was celebrated already on the evening before, by bonfires and building up Maypoles. Usual were also political and celebration (cultural) meetings at different excursion points nearby the cities. The workers organised processions and reveilles in the early morning hours. They were dressed in best clothes wearing red carnations in their buttonholes. The first celebrations or manifestations were connected with public proclamations of workers’ demands. After the Second World War until the middle of the fifties, huge military parades were characteristic for celebration the 1st May. These parades had also its civil part with presentation of different economic and other achievements, being shown in processions or on trucks. This model of celebrating was brought to Slovenia from the former Soviet Union and attracted masses of spectators every year.
With the time, also celebrating the 1st May began to step away from its pomposity and meeting eagerness. The holiday became more and more connected with excursions and various entertaining sports’ events.
Martin’s Day, November 11th
In the modern world St. Martin’s or Martinmas is a feast which is mostly connected with new wine. In the days around St. Martin’s the must is changed into wine. It is often said that on this day »the must christens the wine« which is, of course only unknownness of general historical and cultural particularities.
In some places, there is a habit that must or wine is blessed on this day which is something completely different from the christening which means acceptance of the new born to the community of the Christians and nothing else. The customs and habits on St. Martin’s show that this feast has a lot of older roots that the Christian ones. Martinmas is also called autumn carnival. Our »grand« predecessors would celebrate this feast as a thanksgiving day for good harvest. So they also had pork and sausages, great feasts and entertainments, followed by drinking wine. In short, this was a feast at the end of good or less good harvest. The Church placed St. Martin to the place of former celebration before Christ. St. Martin took over numerous characteristics of the period before Christ.
From the older periods, there prevailed some habits which are connected with more or less provided tables as the form of celebrating the end of the harvest. Among the dishes, popular is St. Martin’s goose which is probably the rest of some ancient cult animal. But the goose in our customs and habits is not only a delicious dish on St. Martin’s day. In the past, they used to predict the weather by it or its chest bone. In Goriška Brda there was a habit that houswives made a »Martinec« on the evening before St. Martin’s. They sticked small branches of laurel, juniper, basinthe, lavender and rosemary into a bigger apple. If the apple dried nicely they thought the harvest would be good the following year. If the apple was rotten, this was a bad sign for the following vintage.
Reformation Day, Oktober 31st
Reformation Day has been a holiday and working free day since 1991. It is dedicated to the memory of religious renewal movement in the 16th century which lead to the formation of protestantism and to the division in the western Christianity.
For Slovenes, this movement has an extraordinary meaning as this means the time of the first Slovenian book (1550) and endeavours for the development of the literary language. Beside the Catechism by Primož Trubar (1550) and the Dalmatin’s Bible (1584), the protestant writers contributed numerous works to our lingual and wider cultural treasury, all being of religious contents. The aspiration for issuing religious works had several motifs at protestant writers. They offered a much needed »device« for religious ceremonies and also for the lessons of the Evangelian doctrines. With this, they raised the educational level of the Slovenes and took care of clean, nice and to all Slovenes understandable language.
Of course, the Protestant Movement in Slovenia had also other dimmensions in the field of social, above all religious and church life. Reformators abolished several feasts, they abandoned pilgrimage, and changes were also in the relationship towards the folk poem and other areas of spiritual life.
Christmas, December 25th
The customs of the Christmas time have a variegated picture and a whole palette of forms. A detailed analysis of individual acts and also forms has shown that many of them go back to the period before Christ, to the pagan ancient time and associate with the ancient cult of the departed. This is also the case with the Christmas bread, baking of which belongs to the oldest signs of this feast. But on this narrow segment, there are many creative differences. In spite of this, they have something in common, namely that the Christmas bread must stay on the table for the whole period of Christmas time, when you can play in pravi denar casino.
In many places, they used to bake three different loafs of bread, in some places even four. Very often, these loafs were festively decorated by paper and flower decorations and above all by decorations made of paste. Beside the name »Božičnik« or also »Božič« (Christmas) for this bread is in Slovenia also known the name like »Poprtnik« or »Poprtnjak«. There are also other names known for it: »Mižnik«, »Pomižnik«, »Stolnik«, strong bread or »Kopa«. The last one come from Carynthia from Podjune where the »Kopa« was put together from three loafs, put one on another and covered by a tablecloth. The »Kopa« on the table was decorated by pictures and crib and on the edges of the table were put: blasting powder, blessed water, blessed wood of Palm Sunday bundle and a small bowl filled with different cereals. In other Slovenian places there was a habit to put also tools and devices for working in the field together with the bread »Božičnik« under the table.
Everything that was on the table and under it, was not a rest of some prechristian sacrificial cults. It was meant for the departed, it means the rest of belief in the cult of predecessors which was very much present in our family environments in the nights of the winter bonfires.
Banknotes & Coins
Euro in Slovenia
By acceding to the EU (1 May 2004), Slovenia committed itself to adopting the single European currency – the Euro. Even though this commitment is already part of the Accession Treaty, Slovenia as a new member state was obliged to conduct its economic and monetary policies so as to meet the convergence criteria as soon as possible and therefore be prepared for the introduction of the Euro.
According to the convergence report of the European Commission and the European Central Bank, issued on 16 May 2006, Slovenia meets the criteria to adopt the Euro. The political decision to enlarge the Euro-Zone was taken at the EU summit in Brussels on 15 and 16 June, while the legal basis for Slovenia’s entry to the elite economic and monetary union was finalised by EU finance ministers at their meeting in July.
On 1 January 2007 Slovenia becomes the first new EU member state to introduce the Euro, and the thirteenth country to join the Euro-Zone.
Key Dates of the Euro Introduction Plan
28 June 2004
ERM II entry
On 28 June 2004 Slovenia entered the Exchange Rate Mechanism ERM II. The aim of ERM II entry is to ensure the stability of the SIT/EUR exchange rate in agreement with the competent European institutions.
1 March 2006
Beginning of the dual display of prices
Prices of goods and services are designated in Tolars (SIT) as well as Euros in line with the national Act on informative double pricing. In this way consumers should get used to prices in Euros. The informative double price tags, which are also designed to help prevent unjustified price hikes and consequently inflation, will be mandatory for 16 months, until the end of June 2007.
15 and 16 June 2006
Start of pre-entry period
After the European Commission and European Central Bank published their Euro convergence reports for Slovenia in May 2006; the EU summit voted favourably on admitting Slovenia to the Euro zone on 16 June 2006.
1 January 2007
Introduction of the Euro
The date of the introduction of the Euro in Slovenia.
1 January 2007 – 14 January 2007
Dual circulation period
The Euro becomes the Slovenian currency, although payments in Tolar (SIT) banknotes and coins will still be possible.
1 January 2007 – 1 March 2007
Cash changeover at banks without commission
After this period it will be possible to exchange Tolar (SIT) banknotes at the Bank of Slovenia without a time limit and free of charge, while the exchange of Tolar (SIT) coins will be possible until the end of 2016; all deposit money including money in transaction accounts will be automatically converted into euros on 1 January 2007.
Border formalities are minimal and correspond to European standards. To cross the border, a valid passport will suffice for a visit not longer than three months. Citizens of European Union and some other European countries may cross the border using a valid personal identity document; however, their visit may not extend beyond thirty days. All those who need visas to visit Slovenia can get them at the Slovene Embassy or Consulate in their country.
For dogs and cats, it is necessary to present a certificate of vaccination against rabies which must be at least thirty days old but no older than six months. A veterinarian’s certificate of health must be no more than ten days old.
Bringing in Items
Bringing in of Items by Foreign Persons
According to currently valid regulations, foreign travellers are considered foreign physical persons who are in Slovenia temporarily for tourist, vacation, sport, study, health, family, or other reasons.
In addition to personal luggage, foreign travellers may bring in certain items which they require during their temporary stay in Slovenia without paying import taxes.
In the Statute on Temporarily Imported Goods, items are listed which the traveller must declare orally at the border crossing.
These items include:
personal jewellery, fine fur items, two cameras, one movie camera (16 mm) or video camera, one pair of binoculars, one portable musical instrument, one portable phonograph, one portable radio with or without cassette player, one portable reel-to-reel tape recorder, one cassette recorder, one portable typewriter, one electronic pocket calculator, camping equipment, one moped, one item of sports equipment for each of various sports, sport boat with or without motor, sport fishing equipment, diving equipment with accessories, one hunting weapon with appropriate amount of ammunition, personal motor vehicle with or without trailer, truck with foreign registration, motorhome, travel trailer, yacht, sailboat, or other boat.
In addition to the goods listed above, a traveller may bring other items intended for personal use; however, he must declare these items in writing.
Temporarily imported items must be returned abroad. This regulation does not apply to travel trailers, yachts, and other boats, which may remain in storage under customs supervision with authorized companies.
In the event of the breakdown or damage to items temporarily brought into the country (including vehicles), spare parts may be imported without payment of import duties on the condition that the damaged parts are surrendered to the nearest customs office or returned abroad under customs supervision.
Slovene and foreign citizens crossing the borders of Slovenia may take or bring with them no more than 500,000 SIT per person in Slovene currency or securities.