Attractions of Slovenia
Slovenia is one of the smallest European countries, but it occupies not the last place according to its natural diversity and the richness of its history, which makes the country one of the most interesting tourist regions of the Balkan Peninsula. The Adriatic coast neighbours with ski resorts of the Julian Alps (Julijske Alpe), balneotherapeutic health resorts (Dolenjske Toplice, Rogaska Slatina, Strunjan, Portorož, Catež) are interspersed with picturesque cities in the Medieval style (Ljublana, Cele, Maribor), and picturesque mountainous valleys, lakes with the cleanest water, fantastic waterfalls and deep caves are a real paradise for lovers of the virgin nature. A great many Slovenian places of interest are included into the UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
In Slovenia there are a lot of possibilities for active rest which as it can be said are unlimited – rafting, climbing ice waterfalls, a lot of mountain ski resorts, ice skating on the frozen lake Bled, warm Adriatic waters, the national park Triglav – all this allows choosing your holiday according to your own taste.
Upper Karniolia (Verkhnjaja Karniolija).
Upper Karniolia or Gorenjske is the area of the picturesque Julian Alps covered in virgin forests, the region of the cleanest lakes and pastoral landscapes. Around the highest Slovenian mount peak – mountain Triglav (2863 meters above the sea level) there spreads out the national park of the same name, occupying 4% of the whole territory of the country. This is the only wildlife reserve of the Julian Alps, where such well-known ski resorts as Bled, Kranjska Gora and Bohinj are situated. In the place of Planica, a ski jump has been built (one of the largest in the world). Picturesque valleys of Sava-Dolinka and Planica, the Lake Yasna, the waterfalls in Tamare, the Botanical garden “Alpinum Juliana”, church of the Assumption (1510), the Russian orthodox church and Lizneck’s Museum look very inviting.
The largest city of Upper Karniolia is the city of Kranj, situated at the foot of the Alpine ranges of Savinija and Kamnik.
Lower Karniolia (Nizhnjaja Karniolija).
Lower Karniolia or Dolenjske is one of the most original Slovenian corners. The administrative centre of the region is the city of Novo-Mesto (lies 70 km from Ljubljana). Being founded in 1365, the city has retained a lot of historical sites – the church of St. Nicolas, Franciscan church of St. Leonard (XV century), square Glavnij Torg with the Townhall, surrounded by a lot of Medieval houses, the ancient Gymnasium (1746), as well as the Dolenjske Museum and many other Medieval buildings.
Otocec, situated 6 kilometers from Novo-Mesto, attracts tourists by its Castle on the Island (now it is turned into a luxurious hotel), Stichna Abbey (1136) which is the most ancient monastery of Slovenia, the Castle of Bogensperk.
In the place of Ribnica, it is worth seeing the church of St. Stefan (XIX century) and the Ethnographic Museum, situated in the partly preserved castle of the XIII century. The place of Soteska is famous for its ruins of an enormous castle (1231). Not far from it, there lies the first Slovenian balneotherapeutic health resort - Dolenjske Toplice (XIII century) with the Castle of Zuzemberg (1293), as well as hot springs under the name of Smarjeske-Toplice, which were first mentioned in the documents of 1392.
The town of Kostanjevica-na-Krki, which was given its city status in 1252, is considered to be the most ancient town in Slovenia. It is widely known for its Art gallery by Bozidar Jakac and its castle-monastery, dated by 1234.
This vast south-western region of Slovenia includes Idrija (which is famous for its bones laces), Karst, the valley of the river Soci and a part of the Adriatic coast – Istrija. Primorska is one of the most popular tourist area of the country, which gives a splendid opportunity both for mountain skiing (by the way, on the territories of three countries at once – Slovenia, Austria and Italy), and white water rafting, and having a rest on sea beaches of the Adriatic.
The main city of Istrija is an industrial and seaport town of Koper. A popular resort of the country – the town of Piran – is regarded as the treasure of the whole Adriatic. The city of Portorož has been renowned for its casino and beautiful sandy beaches since the XIX century. On the borders of Austria, Italy and Slovenia there lies a mountain ski resort Bovec – the highest mountain Slovenian resort.
Cerkno appears to be a small town, but in fact it is one of the mountain ski centres of the country. Its pistes of Crni-Vrkha, equipped with four elevating machines and two cable roads, are situated at the height of 1291 meters.
Small towns can also be of a particular interest for tourists – Ajdovscina (in the place of the Roman fortress Kastra) and Vipava (the winemaking capital of Primorska). It is worth visiting the medieval village of Stanel, seeing the ancient castle in Dobrovo, ancient churches in Kojsko (XVIII century) and in Vedrijane (XVI century) and the urban city bearing the name of Nova-Gorica.
Bela-Kraina is a region not large in size, situated on the border with Croatia, in the south-eastern part of the country. In the region city of Metlika it is worth seeing the church of St. Nicolas (XIII century), the former residence Komenda (the commander of Teutonic Knights), the Local History Museum, situated in an ancient castle, as well as the Fire-fighting Museum. 2 kilometers from Metlika, there is the place of Rosaliica with three miniature churches (XII century), in one of them – in the church of the Virgin – there is the most ancient organ in the country (1753).
The town of Crnomelj, nestled on a high plateau, is not rich in outstanding sights, but the church of Holy Spirit (1487) where the excavations are now being held, the church of St. Peter (1228), the ruins of Mitkhra temple (III century), as well as the Culture centre where the first parliament of the free Republic of Slovenia seated, are also worth seeing.
This largest region of the country is considered to be the land of brewers, wine-makers and glass-blowers. Staerska amazes its tourists by the beauty of its cities, hot thermal springs, as well as snow-peaked slopes of the Savinjskije and Kamnisskie Alps.
Cele is one of the most ancient Slovenian cities, known since the antique times. In its neighbourhood, in Slovenska-Bystrice, there is an ancient castle and numerous churches, the reserves of Golt, Logarska-Dolina, Plenjava, Robanov-Kot and Smekovec-Komen, and in the valley Savinja there is the reserve of Lucka-Bela. In Gorini-Grad you can see the largest Slovenian temple – the parish church of St. Melkhior and St. Fortunat (1752-1761), in Nazarje – the castle of Vrbovec, in the reserve of Logarska-Dolina – the waterfalls of Rinja, in Velenje – the castle with a museum (XIII century). Also in the neighbourhood of Cele there lies a city-museum Ptuj which is very interesting to visit.
In the north-eastern region of Prekmurje, Fino-Ugric and Slavic cultures have mixed with each other, which is reflected on the numerous temples and ancient castles. The most interesting places to visit are: in Murska-Sobota – churches and the castle, in Martjanci – the church of St. Martin, in Moravske-Toplice, Lendave, Banovci, Terme Zrece and Radenci – hot springs, in Jerusalem - the miracle-working church of the Virgin. Sport lovers will like the Olympic ski centre Rogla (the height 1 517 meters) with eleven elevating machines and ten kilometers of mountain ski pistes.
Resort complexes of Rogaska Slatina, Dobrna, Lasko, Zrece, Strunjan, Catez are known far from the borders of Slovenia. Castle complexes in Otocec, Dobrovo, Mokrice, Vinice attract tourists from all over the world as well. Besides, the castles of Lokskij, Strmoljskij, Grm, Khaasberg, Blejskij, Kranjskij, Sneznik, Zaprice, Pescerny, Kromsberk, Laskij and Turjakskij are also interesting.
Relatively sparsely inhibited Slovenian region of Notranjska is famous for its forested mountains, in which a great many coves are “hidden”. It is here that two well-known natural sights of the country are situated – the world known caves Postojnska-Jama and Skocjan. These caves, included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list, are mainly visited by tourists from Ljubljana.
In a very huge cave Postojnska-Jama (fifty kilometers west of Ljubljana), there harbors unique representatives of Slovenian fauna – blind olms. And nine kilometers from Postojna, on a high cliff, there lies an ancient castle Predjama (XIII-XVI centuries) with the whole system of grottoes and subterranean galleries.
In the vicinity, there is the most beautiful plateau Nanos with the church of the Virgin (XV century), tower Ravbar and castle Khaasberg, and cave Planinska Jama as well (depth 6156 meters).
Thirty kilometers south-west of Sezana, between Koper and Postojna, there lie the caves of Skocjan, preserved practically undisturbed – the waters of the river Notranjska, over which at the height of 5 meters there lies the bridge Khanke, those caves suddenly disappear in caverns, discovered in 1885.
Nearby, we can see not less exotic than Skocjan caves Vilennica – one of the first European caves where the general public was allowed to go. Here there is one of the “tourist Meccas” of Slovenia – village Lipica, with its world famous stud farm where horse of elite species are bred.