- The official name of the country is Republika Slovenija, translated as the Republic of Slovenia.
- Geography. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It is one of the most water-rich countries in Europe. It touches the Alps and borders the Mediterranean. It is an active seismic zone.
- Flora. Over half of the territory is covered by forest, mostly pines, beech and oak. It is the third most forested country in Europe. There are also many different kinds of meadow plants and wildflowers, including many beautiful species of wild orchids, Crane's-bill, Worts, Mallows, Bastard Balm, Bog Bean, Dog's Mercury, Cow-wheat, Bellflowers, Sweet William, Meadow Clary, Gentian, Helleborn, Creeping Jenny, Monkey Flower, Tormentil, Oxlip, Hyacinth, Cowslip, Wintergreen, Buttercup, Celandine, Squill, Mignonette, Red Champion, Nightshade, Goldenrod, Lady's-tresses, Colt's-foot, Clover, Valerian, Germander Speedwell, Periwinkle, Dog Violet, Primrose, Star-of-Bethlehem, Sorrel, Herb Paris, Grass of Parnassus, Loosestrife, Snake's-head Fritillary, Avens, Ground Ivy, Lady's Bedstraw, Globeflowers, Clematis, Flax, Knotweed, Herb Robert, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Ragged Robin, Toadflax, Haquetia, Dead-nettle, Scabious, Iris, Strawberry, Chicory, Sundew, Silverweed, Pinks, Rue, Pyramidal Bugle, and many varieties of Lillies. There are also many varieties of fungi.
- Fauna. The country contains 24,000 animal species, including marmots, Alpine ibex, chamois, deer, roe deer, boar, hares, edible dormouse, Eurasian lynx, European wild cats, foxes, European jackal, hedgehogs, martens, vipers, grass snakes, wolves, brown bears, Carniolan honey bee, olm, bottlenose dolphin, tawny owl, long-eared owl, eagle owl, hawks, short-toed eagles, ravens, crows, magpies, black and green woodpeckers, white stork, chickens, pigs, dogs, sheep, goats, cattle, Lipizzan horse, marble trout, and wels catfish.
- Capital. Slovenia's capital and largest city is Ljubljana. Around 2000 BCE, the Ljubljana Marshes were settled by people living in pile dwellings. The city boasts many festivals, bridges, museums, and parks. The symbol of the city is the Ljubljana Dragon.
- Language. Slovene is the official language throughout the country, and there are many different dialects. It is a South Slavic language related to Croatian and Serbian. Italian and Hungarian are co-official regional minority languages in the areas where Italian and Hungarian minorities live. Romani, the language of the Roma (Gypsy) is a legally protected language in Slovenia.
- History. There is evidence of human habitation of the area of Slovenia as far back as 250,000 years ago. The area was inhabited and/or invaded, in turn, by Illyrian and Celtic tribes, the Ancient Romans, Huns and Germanic tribes, Slavs and Avars, Barvarians, Franks, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Hungarians, Austria, Poland, Turks. It finally became part of Yugoslavia. During World War II Slovenia was divided up between several Facist states. Yugoslavia was reestablished after the war, and then became a Soviet bloc country. In 1991 Slovenia became independent.
- Archeology. A pierced cave bear bone, dating from somewhere between 42,500 CE and 44,000, was found in 1995 in Divje Babe cave near Cerkno, is possibly the oldest musical instrument discovered in the world. Pierced bones, bone points and a needle belonging to the Cro-Magnon were found in Potok Cave. The remains of 4500 year old pile dwellings were found in the Ljubijana Marshes. The Ljubljana Marshes Wooden Wheel, the oldest wooden wheel in the world, showing that wooden wheels appeared almost simultaneously in Mesopotamia and Europe.
- Bled Island. On the Bled island, archaeologists have discovered traces of prehistoric (11th to 8th centuries BCE) and Slavic (9th to 10th century) settlements. According to legend the temple of the ancient Slavic goddess Živa once stood in the place of the present Baroque church. In the early Middle Ages an Old Slavic cult area probably stood at the location of the present day church. The present church dates from the 17th century when it was renovated after one of several earthquakes.
- Idrija Mercury Mine. The Idrija Mercury mining site is of world importance, the second largest mercury mine in the world.
- Food. Slovenian cuisine is a mixture of Central European, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisine. It is divided into town, farmhouse, cottage, castle, parsonage and monastic cuisine. Most traditional Slovene dishes are one-pot dishes, such as ričet, jota (Istrian stew), mineštra (minestrone soup), žganci (buckwheat spoonbread). Other common foods include bujta repa, prekmurska gibanica pastry, Pršut prosciutto, and potica (nut roll).
- Music. Harmony singing is traditional in Slovenia, sometimes up to eight part singing in some regions. Traditional instruments include Styrian harmonica (the oldest type of accordion), fiddle, clarinet, zither, flute, alpine brass instruments and cimbalon (dulcimer). The most well known type of Slovenian folk music is the polka.
- Sports. Slovenia is most successful in the sports of handball, basketball, volleyball, football (soccer), ice hockey, rowing, swimming, tennis, boxing and athletics. Also popular are tennis, mountaineering, skiing, and biking. Since 1992, Slovenia has won 22 Olympic medals (three of them gold) and 19 Paralympic medals (three of them gold).
- Etymology. Slovene is from the German, from "Slovene", from the German "Slowene", originally "Slav." Where the word "Slav" came from is a matter of great debate. Many reseachers believe that the word originated as a river name, perhaps from the Latin "cluere" meaning to cleanse. One theory is that it came from the Old Church Slavonic "Sloveninu", probably related to "slovo" meaning speech, suggesting a group of people who spoke the same language. Another theory is that it is related to "-slav" in personal names, from the Byzantine "sklábos", meaning glory. Some scholars believe "sláva" once indicated that one was a practicer of a common Slavic religion. Another thought is that it is from the Proto-Indo-European '(s)lawos" meaning people. Or it may come from the Indo-European "sleu" meaning marsh. Another theory is that it may be from the Latin "slav" meaning a person who is the property of another.
© Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption Including Neighboring Countries
FRUA is a service-marked acronym of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption in use since 1994. It and the full organizational name, Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption, are not to be used to describe any organization or service not related to FRUA, without permission.