Discover the newest EU member states:Slovenia [Archives:2004/749/Culture]

June 24 2004
Mount Triglav reigns over a dream world
Mount Triglav reigns over a dream world
Photo from archived article: photos/749/culture2_2
Photo from archived article: photos/749/culture2_2
By Irena Knehtl*
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

Slovenia is a relatively small country in area, half the size of Switzerland, tucked into a mountainous corner between Austria, Italy, Hungary and Adriatic Sea. Everything in Slovenia seems in abundance, the majestic Alps with their glacial valleys, rivers, and lakes, plenty of forests, mysterious karst, caves, the warm Adriatic Sea. Slovenia lies along the foothills of the eastern end of the Alps, at the very tip of the most northerly Mediterranean bay, open towards Hungary – and the south. It is a natural hub of European routes and meeting place of the Alpine, Panonian, Dinaric and Mediterranean worlds, each leaving its own mark, creating a countryside that is for the most green. It is a largely mountainous country, almost half of it covered with forests. Cultivated areas with pastures, fields, vineyards and orchards amount to over 43 percent. More than half of the population live in towns, most of which date from Roman times. The mountains tops are high, but the south-eastern parts slowly change into wide plateaus. The Julian Alps are the first mountain barrier separating the Mediterranean from continental Central Europe. As result there is no lack of rains and snow in this region and water can be found in all its forms. Slovenia is one of the most densely forested countries in Europe: a good million hectares are covered with forests. But the contrast of Slovenia's landscape surprises first time visitors, all within 20,273 square kilometers.

Peaceful and quiet, Slovenes are an integrated society. As one of the oldest and most diverse nation in Europe, Slovenia today is a modern, progressive democracy. Nearly 90 percent are Slovenes and about 10 percent are Italian, Hungarian, or others. Most Slovenes speak English, German or Italian as their second language. It has a population of 2 million and a GNP of USD 18.5 billion annually and conducts foreign trade worth more than 25 billion USD. Slovenia holds the strategic Adriatic seaport of Koper, and an economic zone that operates terminals and logistics distributions centers. Koper is also an important port for neighboring landlocked countries. It maintains intensive shipping and other logistical and transport links in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Cosmopolitan Capital City
Ljubljana, Slovenias attractive medieval capital, is very cosmopolitan. Its geographical position has governed its colorful past. A brisk migration of nations flowed through the Ljubljana gateway, part of the natural entrance from Central Europe to the Mediterranean, the Balkans and onwards, and the other way around. The city is dominated by an ancient castle and adorned with baroque buildings, architectural masterpieces, an atmospheric open market and art nouveau mansions. The city has a vivid artistic life, especially in the performing arts. Today, this vibrant city continues to assert its new role as a European capital. It is a city with a soul, embodies by the medieval Old Town, which sits comfortably in the shadow of an ancient hilltop caste. It lies on the bank of the Ljubljanica River and is scattered with bridges and parks. As a contrast to the heritage of the past, modern Ljubljana breathes a dynamic flair. Ljubljana University, with 43,000 students, and 41 research and educational institutes generate an outstanding research potential, whilst Ljubljana World Trade Center and the Ljubljana Fair & Exhibition grounds complement the city's business life.
During 12th century Herman de Carinthia, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and writer (ca. 1110 – 1154) became the most important translator of Arabic astronomical works into Latin and promoter of Arab culture in Europe. Among others he translated Kitab al-Madkal ila Elm Ahkam al-Nujum (Introduction into Astronomy) by Andalusian scholar Abu Mashar.

Mount Triglav Reigns
Above the Slovene Alps, one mountain visible from far around reigns supreme. In the classic period of Alpine climbing conquests some two hundred years ago, this mountain was as celebrated as Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn or Grossglockner even though it reaches “only” 2.864 meters above sea level. It is the eternally regal and powerful Mount Triglav. The famous English traveler Longstaff claimed that this mountain rules over a dream world and therefore has no equal. Slovenes consider it sacred and believe that every Slovene should climb Mount Triglav at least one in his or her lifetime. The name of the mountain literally means “three heads”, one to rule the sky, the second the earth, and third the underworld.

Geo-Strategic Position
Slovenia enjoys an extremely favorable geo-strategic position. It also has enjoyed steady and sustained economic development, and growth mostly stimulated by foreign demand. Moreover 60 percent of Slovenia's GDP was generated by the service sector during 2002, and the manufacturing sector is still of major importance. During 2003 Slovenian exports of goods and services totaled 11.3 billion USD. As an export oriented economy it increases its international trade both in terms of quantity and value. Its main trading partners were Germany, followed by Italy, Croatia, Austria, France, Russia and United Kingdom. During year 2003 attention was focused on the markets of Russia and Southeastern Europe. From its independence in 1991 Slovenia embarked on a period of sustained development grounded on quality, entrepreneurial spirit, motivation, human resources, internationalization, and the information society.

The Slovene Language
The Slovene language played the key role at all critical junctions of Slovene history. But the distillation of a modern Slovene consciousness during the nineteenth century was made possible by the works of France Preseren. When Slovenes were able to form a nation, it was Preseren's poetry they took as their touchstone. And again after reaching statehood, Slovenes turned to Preseren for their national anthem and sung:
God's blessing that every nation
Will live to see bright days
Birth when neat the sun's rotation
Dissent is banished from the earth
All will be kinfolk free
With neighbors none in enmity.

Slovenia offers:
Slovenia offers high quality products such as industrial and agricultural equipment, textiles, leather products, woods and wooden products, furniture, foodstuffs, glassware, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, white goods, electrical appliances, tires, electronics, sports equipment, foot ware, high quality leisure ware, steel products, industrial non-metallic products, equipment for the banking industry, airport fittings, tools, insulation materials, medical equipment. Slovenia also boasts expertise in the field of tourism, health spas and medicine.

Slovenia in Brief:
Independent state since 1991, 176th member of UN
President of the Republic: His Excellency Dr. Janez Dernovsek
Area: 20.256 km2
Population: 1,990,000 (90 percent ethnic Slovenes)
Capital: Ljubljana 261,826 inhabitants
Major towns: Maribor, Kranj, Velenje, Novo Mesto
Major port: Koper and economic trade zone 4,743,000 m2
Average rate of GDP growth: 4.1%
Founding member of WTO (World Trade Organization)

Useful Links:
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia:
Port of Koper:
Slovene Government Public Relations and Media Office:
Slovenian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency:
Slovenian Tourist Board:
A Guide to Virtual Slovenia:
Slovene/Yemeni Business Network:

Further Reading:
Dr. France Preseren, Poems,
Dr. Jozko Savli, The Slovenian State of Karantania and
Slovenia, Portray of An European Nation also on

*NOTE: The Author will during mid-July present investment and business opportunities in the Republic of Yemen to Slovene investors, entrepreneurs, businessmen, strategists, researchers and students at the World Slovene Summit covering broad exchange of ideas, entrepreneurship, appropriate technology and emerging market opportunities hosted by Slovene government in Ljubljana.