Slovenia is a republic in Central Europe, bordering Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Adriatic. On May 1, 2004, the country was one of the ten accession countries that became members of the European Union. On January 1, 2007, the euro was introduced, replacing the Slovenian tolar. From January 1 to June 30, 2008, Slovenia held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana, which has about 280,000 inhabitants. With its central location in the country, Ljubljana is the transportation hub despite its small size.
Slovenia is a country of very different landscapes. In the northwest, motorways and trains run through the Julian Alps, the Kamnik, and the Karawanken Alps, which belong geologically to the Southern Alps. In the Triglav National Park is the namesake peak of Mount Triglav (2,864 m), which is the highest mountain in the country. It is also symbolically represented on the national coat of arms. More than half the country is covered with forest.
Of the four major rivers of Slovenia two rise in the Julian Alps – the Soca (or the Italian lower Isonzo) and the Save (or Sava in Slovenian). The two largest rivers however, flow from Austria, namely the Drau (or Drava in Slovenian) and Mur (or Mura in Slovenian). While the Soca drains to the Adriatic Sea, the Sava, the Drava and its tributary, the Mur, all flow east to the Danube River (estuary in Croatia and Serbia).
The Northeast of the country is characterized by low mountains and hills: Pohorje rises up to 1500 m in the slopes of the Central Alps, Matzelgebirge (or Haloze) rises up to 880 m, and Windische Buhel rises to 350 m. Northeast of the river Mur, past the plane, are the hills of the southern Styria Ubermur-region (Prekmurje in Slovenian), while at the mouth of the river Drava-Mura there is a 50 x 20 km wide area called Murinsel Medimurje. This is mostly located in Croatian territory. Both go through flat landscape beyond the Hungarian border in the Pannonian Plain.
The country’s center and the south (part of the peninsula of Istria take) are widespread, typically with karsts and plateaus. The 46.6 km long Adriatic coastline (the Slovenian Riviera) is located in the extreme southwest of the country, and marks the lowest point of the country. Since its separation from the former Yugoslavia, Croatia is negotiating for a suitable traffic corridor for marine vessels.
In the southwest, the country’s climate is Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild, wet winters. The winter and spring often bring cold fall winds along the coast, and the dreaded bora brings snow at high elevations. Inland, the climate is continental. The northwest area experiences typical Southern Alp climate, dry to the south, with winter rain and comparatively little snow.