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Hay-rack A bee-hive 'Kurent' Stork Planina pri Sevnici

If hay is drying on the hayrack, you're in Slovenia

Across Slovenia stand double kozolci or toplarji hayracks that are a remarkable element of Slovenian folk architecture. Once used for storing produce and drying hay, with their picturesque appearance they still give a special stamp to Slovenia’s cultural landscape.


If we're in Slovenia, we're not "we"

In Slovenia, the dual grammatical number has special significance. Slovene is one of the few languages that have a special grammatical number denoting two persons or two things. Slovene is the official language of less than two million people, while Italian and Hungarian are also official languages in regions with ethnic minorities. Although Slovenes are proud of and sensitive about their language, they are also good foreign language speakers, and almost anywhere in Slovenia you can easily communicate in English, German, and Italian.


If it’s the Carniolan honey bee, its hive is a work of art

The tradition of beekeeping in Slovenia is over 600 years old. The Carniolan honey bee or Carnie, an indiginous Slovenian species known today throughout the world, is famous for its calmness, hardiness, and exceptional gathering zeal. In the past, Slovenian beekeepers decorated the front panels of their beehives with religious, historical, and especially humourous motifs. Preserved beehive panels comprise a unique gallery of Slovenian folk art.


If it is a victory, the victor is probably Slovene

Slovenia is a nation of athletes and outstanding sport achievements. According to the number of medals won per capita, Slovenia ranks very high on the global scale. Slovenes have also attracted international attention by undertaking extreme sport challenges: skiing down Mount Everest, swimming the longest rivers of the world, circling the earth by ultra-light plane, setting new climbing routes on the most demanding mountains in the world, discovering Slovenia’s Karst shafts which are among the deepest in the world, etc.


If you are in Slovenia, forests are always really close

With almost 60% of land covered with forests, Slovenia is among Europe’s most wooded countries. The vast expanses of forests are a genuine biotic park of Europe. Less than 0.004% of the Earth’s surface is home to 1 per cent of all known species of living beings and at least every fiftieth continental species, including several endemic or indigenous Slovenian species.


If it’s spring, the kurenti have heralded it

In Slovenia, the spring carnival season is marked throughout the country by very special costumes. In Ptujsko polje, the Kurenti, original Slovenian masqueraders in sheep skins with long red tongues, maces in their hands, and cowbells hanging from their belts drive away the winter and herald the spring. Another unique group of Slovenian figures are the Cerkljansko Laufarji who wear elaborate masks made from linden wood and go from house to house to foretell a good harvest.


If you see a stork, it has probably nested in Slovenia

With regard to the diversity of bird life, Slovenia is an exceptionally rich country. Apart from a number of local bird species, many migratory birds spend the winter around Slovenian lakes and protected salt pans along the coast. The Pomurje region in the north east is the land of the white stork, which nests on chimneys and telephone poles across the Pannonian Plain, and along the Mura River. There are more than three hundred nesting sites of the white stork in Slovenia.


If you look up, you're certain to catch a glimpse of a small church

Many travellers in Slovenia are amazed by the number of small churches perched on hilltops. Many experts also believe that such a number of churches built outside settlements cannot be found anywhere else in Europe. Sacral buildings account for one third of all the monuments of Slovenia’s cultural heritage. Among them, naturally, are churches such as those at pilgrimage sites in Ptujska Gora , Sveta Gora nad Solkanom near Nova Gorica , Brezje, and elsewhere in Slovenia. Monasteries . also make great tourist attractions. The ones best known are the Cistercian monastery in Stična and the Pleterje Charterhouse; also well worth visiting is the restored Carthusian monastery in Žiče possibly Slovenia’s oldest village. Wherever the highways or byways take you in Slovenia, you will find castles, manors or remains of castles . The most important castles have been restored as museums and art galleries, and some have even been converted to first-class hotels. Some areas boast so many remains of former castle splendour that you might think you've suddenly found yourself in some other famous European 'valley of castles'.




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Date: 28.12.2007