In the interest of expediency, here are some excerpts from the Lonely Planet – Central Europe chapter on Slovenia:
It’s a pint-sized place, with a surface area of just more than 20,000 sq km and 2 million people. But ‘good things come in small packages’, and never was that old chestnut more appropriate than in describing Slovenia.
Slovenia has been dubbed a lot of different things by its PR machine – ‘Europe in Miniature’, ‘The Sunny Side of the Alps’, ‘The Green Piece of Europe’ – and they’re all true.
Ljubljana (lyoob-lya-na) is by far Slovenia’s largest and most populous city. It is also the nation’s political, economic and cultural capital. As such, virtually everything of national importance begins, ends or is taking place in Ljubljana. In many ways the city does not feel like an industrious municipality of national importance but a pleasant, self- contented small town.
You might think that way too, especially in spring and summer when cafe tables fill the narrow streets of the Old Town and along the Ljubljanica River and
street musicians entertain passers-by. Then Ljubljana becomes a little Prague or Kraków.
Legacies of the Roman city of Emona – remnants of walls, dwellings, early churches, even a gilded statuette – can be seen everywhere. Ljubljana took its present form in the mid-12th century as Laibach under the Habsburgs, but it gained regional prominence in 1809, when it became the capital of Napoleon’s short-lived ‘Illyrian Provinces’.
Some fine art nouveau buildings filled up the holes left by a devastating earthquake in 1895, and architect Jože Plečnik continued the remake of the city up until WWII.
In recent years the city’s dynamic mayor, has doubled the number of pedestrian streets, extended a great swathe of the river embankment and spanned the Ljubljanica River with two new footbridges.
Come for all these things but come too for the Slovenes themselves – generous, broad-minded and welcoming.