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Affectionately known as the “Country on the Sunny Side of the Alps,” Slovenia is a compact country with big things to offer. Its mediaeval cities are filled with reminders of its repressive past; the majestic Alps, Adriatic Sea, craggy caves and impenetrable forests form unforgettable natural landscapes; and culture abounds in the country’s capital. Combining a heady mix of natural beauty and old world charm, Slovenia captivates its visitors at all times of the year.
Slovenia is a fairly new country, gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 but carrying a long history of struggle and oppression that dates back to the 6th century. At this time, Slavic tribes inhabited the area of present-day Slovenia and formed the independent principality of Karantanija. This independence was short-lived and a cycle of oppression began in the 9th century, when the Franks took over. The rule later fell into the hands of the Austrian Habsburgs, who largely dominated the country until 1918, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed. Slovenia then joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – later named Yugoslavia – which brought on political and economic turmoil, kick-starting the country’s desire to break free, which was eventually won in 1991.
Coming a long way from its rich and harrowing past, Slovenia today takes pride in its mediaeval towns, Baroque palaces, eclectic architecture and vibrant culture. Its cities are awash with remnants of its unforgotten history, from the imposing Ljubljana Castle to the Dragon Bridge built during the late Austro-Hungarian Empire. While preserving its heritage, Slovenia has also embraced a cosmopolitanism that is alive in its diverse cities and conveyed by its friendly locals.
Experience a true taste of Slovenia in its capital and largest city, Ljubljana, where you’ll be met with an infusion of history and culture in its animated squares, historic old town, and abounding art galleries and museums. The city’s architecture encompasses a mix of Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau styles, and the river Ljubljana adds a natural charm.
Kissing the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia has the scope to both surprise and satisfy with its postcard-perfect natural surroundings. This evergreen country is crammed with fascinating caves and shafts dying to be explored, as well as refreshing lakes, waterfalls and springs providing the perfect backdrop for scenic photographs. Postojna Cave is an underground labyrinth of stalagmites and stalactites where visitors can admire the craggy surroundings aboard a cave train. Lake Bled is an idyllic paradise at the foot of the Julian Alps that deserves a visit in its own right. Also littered with lush forests and parks, Slovenia is truly “the Green Piece of Europe.”
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