Once a significant part of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire, present-day Slovenia became an independent nation with the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991. It is bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Slovenia is renowned as a diligent, hard-working nation, part of the reason that it is the wealthiest of the new EU members. Slovenes constantly aim to prove themselves and to progress. Their toil and persistence has allowed many of its people to achieve at the global level. Slovenia boasts an exceptional number of top athletes particularly those involved in extreme sports, from mountaineering and speed skiing to ultra-marathon biking and competitive swimming.
Slovenia has a very well-developed network of cultural institutions, organizations and associations, comparable with the wealthiest and most progressive countries in Europe. The range of cultural events, festivals, concerts and exhibitions is enough to satisfy the most demanding of visitors. Ljubljana (the capital) is a vibrant, youthful city with a thrilling arts scene, a myriad of festivals and impressive architecture that runs the stylistic gamut from Renaissance to Art Nouveau.
Slovenia’s rich architectural heritage can be seen in both town and country. Well-preserved medieval town centers and more modern public buildings in various famous architectural styles will delight the most discerning architectural buff.
The unique features of rural architecture vary from region to region and are exemplified in open-air museums, castles, manor houses and palaces. The image of Slovenian towns and villages has emerged over centuries of pride, perseverance and hard work. The oldest well-preserved buildings include churches, monasteries and castles. Many date back to the Romanesque architectural period. Several Slovenian towns have well-preserved medieval town centers, which the country continually strives to maintain. Distinctive architectural features of the countryside include Karst houses, channeled roof tiles, old granaries and village wells.
The small size of the market means that many artistic and cultural activities in Slovenia enjoy significant support and subsidies from the government and funding from local authorities. Slovenes are well-attuned to natural beauty and historic preservation and the inclination is always to protect and preserve its treasures.
The focus of AiP’s current project in Slovenia is the Beškovnikova Homestead located in the hills of southeastern Slovenia in the town of Vitanje. Together with our partner, Etno-eko, we have a developed an intergenerational experience that gives travelers of all ages the opportunity to explore Slovenia’s rural traditions. Younger folks will spend their days with award-winning educator Tanja Gobec in learning traditional crafts and skills, including, yes, a morning’s work on the farm. Older teens, parents and grandparents will join conservation work at the homestead cottage, learning wood carving, decorative painting. But never fear, they too will have a turn at farm chores!
Learn even more about this wonderful country — be one of the first families to sign up for Adventures in Preservation’s project in Slovenia and get a copy of the Lonely Planet Slovenia guidebook free!