Slovenia is small. Maybe you’ve never even heard of it. Not like in “I thought Europe was a country” video, but you get the idea. It’s so small that there is a hilltop there, and you’re standing on it, with an empty Coke can in your hand, and if you were that awful kind of littering people, you could be facing a choice of whether to throw your trash in Slovenia, Italy or Austria. Without moving an inch. Three countries. Your littering choice. But, instead of doing that, read on about what makes this tiny country a must-see on your wanderlust list.
1. WORLD’S FIRST GREEN COUNTRY
Slovenia has become the world’s first country to be declared a green destination. Its capital Ljubljana is also on the list of the world’s Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. Slovenia is “green, clean, and authentic”. Following the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, Slovenia is dedicated to the preservation of the environment, local authenticity and higher quality of life.
2. LJUBLJANA – THE MOST HONEST CITY IN THE WORLD
If you were walking along and spotted a cell phone, would you pocket it or try to find its owner? An international survey found people were more honest than expected, with Slovenians leading the pack. Reporters from the magazine Reader’s Digest planted 960 “lost” cell phones in 30 public places in 32 cities around the world to test people’s reactions in a cell phone honesty test. They rang the phone as people walked past and watched to see if people would answer the phone, take the phone and attempt to call someone in the pre-programmed contacts later, or simply pocket it. The most honest city in the survey turned out to be the smallest city in the group, Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, where 29 of 30 cell phones were returned.
3. WATER IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT
Slovenia is the first European Union country to include the right to water in its constitution. Parliament adopted an amendment that declares country’s abundant clean supplies are ‘a public good managed by the state’ and ‘not a market commodity’, making the right to potable water a fundamental right for all. Slovenia’s water belongs to all its citizens.
4. HIGH ACHIEVERS
Slovenia ranks in TOP 10 most successful Olympic teams of all time based on average total medals per million population.
Slovene ultra-marathon swimmer Martin Strel was to first person ever to swim the entire length of the Amazon River (5.268 km) and the Mississippi River (3.885 km). He did the same with the Yangtze River (4.004 km), Parana River (3.998 km) and the Danube River (2.860 km).
Skiing challenge? Leave it to Slovenes. Davorin Karnicar was the first person ever to ski down the entire length of the world’s roughest and highest peak, the Mount Everest. He is also the first man in the world to ski the highest peaks of all seven continents.
Love you to the Everest and back? On 7 October 1990, Andrej and Marija Stremfelj from Slovenia became the first married couple to conquer Mt. Everest.
The world’s largest ski jump is in Slovenia, and it is the site of over 60 world record jumps.
5. BIODIVERSITY HEAVEN
Slovenia makes a case of planting more trees than they chop down. It is also the home of the world’s oldest linden tree, older than modern Europe itself. The Najevnik Linden tree in the Slovenia’s Koroška region is 700 years old and has a circumference of 10 meters. The country, covering just 0.004% of Earth’s surface has the highest number of caves (more than 10,000) in the world. 20,570 meters long and two million years old Postojna cave is also a home to the Etruscan shrew, the lightest mammal in the world, weighing just about 2 grams. More than half of the country is covered with forests, and they are home to one of the largest brown bear populations in Europe.
BONUS TRIVIA FACTS
Melania Trump, the first lady of the USA, was born and raised in Slovenia. There is space for a gif here, but as we don’t deal in politics, so do your own search.
So was Slavoj Zizek, one of the world’s most renown contemporary political philosophers and cultural critics. “On the information sheet in a New York hotel, I recently read: ‘Dear guest! To guarantee that you will fully enjoy your stay with us, this hotel is totally smoke-free. For any infringement of this regulation, you will be charged $200.’ The beauty of this formulation, taken literally, is that you are to be punished for refusing to fully enjoy your stay.” ― Slavoj Zizek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce
And for a more artsy note, one of the 2 Cellos, the Youtube sensation with over 75 million views per video, Luka Sulic, is also a Slovene. In this post, we’re offering a “less known” 23+ million views treat. Enjoy!
Be smart when you’re planning your visit to HostelSkills #3 Ljubljana Workshop. Be sure you count in some days for getting to know the tiny, yet great Slovenia.