A country with spectacular mountains, thick forests and a short Adriatic coastline, Slovenia initially enjoyed substantial economic and political stability after gaining independence from Yugoslavia.
It was the only one of the former Yugoslav republics to be in the first wave of candidates for membership of the European Union, joining in 2004. In 2007 it became the first of the new EU member states to join the eurozone.
Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, 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 and largest city of Slovenia is Ljubljana.
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 metre high Mount Triglav. Slovenia’s Adriatic coastline stretches approximately 47 km from Italy to Croatia.
Around half of the country is covered by forests; the third most forested country in Europe, after Finland and Sweden.
The national flag of Slovenia features three equal horizontal bands of white, blue, and red, with the Slovenian coat of arms located in the upper hoist side of the flag centered in the white and blue bands. The coat of arms is a shield with the image of Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak, in white against a blue background at the centre; beneath it are two wavy blue lines representing the Adriatic Sea and local rivers, and above it are three six-pointed golden stars arranged in an inverted triangle which are taken from the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje, the great Slovenian dynastic house of the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
The flag’s colours are considered to be Pan-Slavic, but they actually come from the medieval coat of arms of the Duchy of Carniola, consisting of a blue eagle on a white background with a red-and-gold crescent. The colors of the flag were considered national colours before they were first arranged on a flag during the rise of nationalism in Europe. The existing tricolour was created during the Spring of Nations in 1848, when a group of students from Ljubljana took the colours from the Carniolan coat of arms, arranging them in such a way that it resembled the Russian national flag.
In 1945 a red star was officially placed on the flag of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, a constituent of the Socialist Yugoslavia. Following Slovenian independence from Yugoslavia, the red star was removed and the new coat of arms, designed by Marko Pogacnik, was added. The flag was officially adopted on June 27, 1991, following a long and controversial dispute about the coat of arms of the new Republic.
Zdravljica (A Toast) or Zdravica, written in 1844, is a poem by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren, considered the national poet of Slovenes. Zdravljica was first set to music in 1905 by the Slovene composer Stanko Premrl. Since 27 September 1989, its 7th stanza has been the national anthem of Slovenia.
Zdravljica is a drinking song. In it, the poet declares his belief in a free-thinking Slovene and Slavic political awareness. The poem has been interpreted as a promotion of the idea of a unified Slovenia, which the March Revolution in 1848 elevated into a national political programme.
Coat of Arms
The Slovenian coat of arms consists of a red bordered blue shield on which there is a stylised white mount Triglav. Under Triglav there are two bending lines that represent the sea and rivers, and above Triglav there are 3 golden, six-pointed stars, forming a triangle. The stars are taken from the coat of arms of the counts of Celje.
Triglav (Italian: Tricorno, German: Terglau) is the highest mountain in Slovenia and the highest peak of the Julian Alps. While its name, meaning “three-headed”, can describe its shape as seen from the Bohinj area, the mountain was most probably named after the Slavic god Triglav. The mountain is the preeminent symbol of the Slovene nation. A Slovene flag was unfurled from the summit of Triglav on 26 June 1991, the night of the declaration of independence of Slovenia from Yugoslavia.