Official name: Republic of Slovenia
Area: 20,253 square kilometers (7,820 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Mount Triglav (2,864 meters/9,396 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern
Time zone: 1 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 163 kilometers (101 miles) from north to south; 248 kilometers (154 miles) from east to west
Land boundaries: 1,165 kilometers (724 miles) total boundary length; Austria 330 kilometers (205 miles); Hungary 102 kilometers (63 miles); Croatia 501 kilometers (311 miles); Italy 232 kilometers (144 miles)
Coastline: 46.6 kilometers (29 miles)
Territorial sea limits: Not available
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
Slovenia lies at the northwestern end of the Balkan Peninsula, at the intersection of Central Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Balkans. It covers an area (20,253 square kilometers/7,820 square miles) slightly greater than the state of New Jersey.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Slovenia has no territories or dependencies.
The average January and July temperatures in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, are –1°C (30°F) and 20°C (68°F), respectively. Each year, Ljubljana experiences about 90 days that are colder than 0°C (32°F) and about 61 days that are hotter than 25°C (77°F). Ljubljana receives about 139 centimeters (55 inches) of rain each year, with 28 percent of the total occurring between April and June.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
Slovenia has a short coastline on the Adriatic Sea in the southwest, but the Alps are the dominant topographic feature throughout most of the country, especially in the north and south. In the east is the Pannonian Plain.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Slovenia has only about 47 kilometers (29 miles) of coastline, all of which is on the Gulf of Venice at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
The sea around Cape Madonna near Piran reaches depths of 37 meters (120 feet) and is a national marine reserve.
Slovenia's only beaches are near Koper; the coast between Izola and Piran is lined with steep cliffs that reach up to 80 meters (260 feet).
6 INLAND LAKES
Slovenia's largest lake is Lake Cerknišco, which covers 24 square kilometers (9.3 square miles) and, as a karst lake, fills and drains periodically. Slovenia also has seventy-eight mineral and thermal springs, mostly situated in the Pannonian Plain.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
Formed at the confluence of the Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka Rivers, the Sava River is the central waterway and the longest river in Slovenia, flowing through the country for 221 kilometers (137 miles). Its tributaries include the Trziska Bistrica, Savinja, Ljubljanica, and Krka Rivers. After the Sava, the largest rivers in Slovenia are the Drava and the Mura, both in the northeast. All of these rivers arise in the Alps throughout Slovenia, Austria, and Italy; they travel southeast into Croatia and eventually reach the Danube.
There are no deserts in Slovenia.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
Occupying the east and northeast region of Slovenia is the Pannonian Plain, which includes wide valley basins, alluvial plains, sandy dunes, and low, rolling hills. There are flat depressions in the limestone hills of the Dinaric Alps in the southwest. South of the northern Alps, the rough terrain of the west changes to hilly areas interspersed with flat valleys.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
The sharp peaks and ridges of the mountains in northern and northwestern Slovenia resemble the higher Austrian Alps to the north. The Julian Alps, which occupy the northwestern third of the country, are the highest of Slovenia's three alpine ranges and among the most rugged in Europe. Many summits here exceed 1,800 meters (5,900 feet), including Mount Triglav (2,864 meters/9,396 feet), the country's highest peak. The Karawanken Mountains run along the border with Austria; Mount Stol (2,236 meters/7,336 feet) is the highest peak in this system. The Kamnik-Savinja range lies south of the Karawankens. The ridges of mountains are less defined to the east. The Dinaric Alps run parallel to the coast in the southwest, with heights ranging from 700 meters (2,300 feet) to over 2,200 meters (7,200 feet).
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
There are many cliffs and depressions in Slovenia's rocky karst area. Slovenia has about sixty-five hundred karst caves; the largest of these is Postojna Cave, which extends for 19 kilometers (12 miles). Zupanova Cave, a small karst cave just southeast of Ljubljana, is filled with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
The Kras Plateau in the west extends eastward into the limestone ranges of the Dinaric Alps. Frequently referred to as karst or karstland, this region contains underground drainage channels formed by the long-term seepage of water down through the soluble limestone. This erosion has resulted in extensive caves, caverns, and underground streams.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
Completed in 1971, a sluice at the entrance to the Karlovica Cave at Lake Cerknišco keeps the lake filled for at least six months of the year, aiding both the tourism and fishing industries. A dam built on the Drava River near the city of Ptuj in the northeastern part of the country created the largest reservoir in Slovenia. One of the most famous features of Ljubljana is the triple bridge that spans the Ljubljanica River in the heart of the capital city.
DID YOU KNOW?
The irregular limestone terrain known as karst gets its name from the Kras Plateau in Slovenia. Beginning in the Middle Ages with an ancient word for stone ( karra ), the term was transformed from the Slovenian grast to the Croatian kras to the German karst , which became its final form.
14 FURTHER READING
Brân, Zoë. After Yugoslavia . Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet, 2001.
Fallon, Steve. Slovenia . Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Planet, 1998.
Natek, Karel. Discover Slovenia . Translated by Martin Cregeen. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva Zalozba, 1999.
Slovene Government . http://www.sigov.si/vrs/ang/ang-text/index-ang.html (accessed April 16, 2003).
Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia: Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Slovenia 2000 . http://www.gov.si/zrs/ (accessed April 16, 2003).