June 25 – Statehood Day in Slovenia

Posted June 25, 2013

When I was a kid, there was a nation called Yugoslavia on our maps and globes.

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was created out of the old Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It existed most of the twentieth century (the 1900s), although it was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy during World War II. After the Nazi's (and the other Axis powers) lost the war, Yugoslavia was reinstated as a Communist nation, under the names the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia and then the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

But modern globes and maps have no trace of Yugoslavia. Instead, where that nation used to be are Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Slovenia. Seven small countries arising from just one country that was smaller than the U.S. state of Colorado!

Learn about Slovenia

Slovenia (which is a bit smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey) has a bit of the Alps in the northern part of the country and a bit of shoreline along the Adriatic Sea. More than half of the country is forested, making the nation one of the most forested in Europe. Like Croatia, Slovenia has some of that awesome “Karst topography,” which means that an ancient bed of limestone has eroded into an area with underground rivers, gorges, and caves.

One of my favorite-looking cities in the world is Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana. I don't mean I like how the buildings and bridges of the city look—although they're perfectly wonderful, I'm sure!—but rather that I love the look of the name! If you want to hear how this city name is pronounced, listen to this

Alpine ibex
Even though it is pretty tiny, Slovenia has a lot of diversity of animals, due mostly to all the different sorts of landforms and the various altitudes. The wildlife in the country include everything from marmots, Alpine ibex, and chamois in the high mountains, to deer, roe deer, boar, edible dormouse, and hares, in the hills; from the strange olm in the caves to the bottlenose dolphin in the nearby Adriatic; from the Eurasian lynx to the red fox and European jackal —and my favorite, the adorable hedgehog!

Not just the animals are varied: the Slovene people have absorbed influences from all over, and the culture is a bit of a mash-up of various traditions. Here is a New York Times slide show about Slovenia. 

And this tourism video is titled Slovenia: Diversity to Discover.

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Check out my Pinterest pages on June holidayshistorical anniversaries in June, and June birthdays.

And here are my Pinterest pages on July holidayshistorical anniversaries in July, and July birthdays.

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