Culture and education
Nataša Bergelj, Minister Plenipotentiary
Phone: + 36 1 438 5600
Small Is Beautiful. And Smart.
Slovenia is an excellent destination for experiencing Europe on a small scale. The small green country between the Alps and the Adriatic is a crossroads of a number of different cultures. Its infrastructure allows almost any place to be reached by car in an hour or two, driving through towns and villages, passing by fields adorned with hayracks, and meandering between hills crowned with churches and castles.
The cultural heritage ranges from a unique Neanderthal flute that is 60 thousand years old – the world's oldest known musical instrument – and the priceless Vače situla to the telephone set designed by Slovenian designer Davorin Savnik, exhibited in MoMA in New York. Slovenia is also home to the oldest wooden wheel ever discovered in the world. A visitor will discover artefacts from antiquity, medieval buildings, and baroque and art nouveau works, but also forged iron creations from Kropa and bobbin lace from Idrija. Carnival celebrations and popular creativity fairs, as well as the Škofja Loka Passion Play at Easter and the Lent Festival in Maribor in summer also form part of Slovenian culture.
The museum network comprises hundreds of renovated castles and manors, and also the Idrija Mine, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the Mojstrana Alpine Museum. The Walk of Peace connects places and museums related to the Isonzo Front, immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms; the Kobarid Museum, dedicated to the Great War, has received several awards.
The Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, offers what any metropolis does – in a ‘user-friendly’ way. The layers of Slovenian heritage are complemented by the work of Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) whose architecture can be found not only in Vienna and Prague, but also a number of bridges, churches and monumental buildings in his native Ljubljana. In the alternative art centres at Metelkova City and Rog Factory, the young generation adds value to the traditional urban centre of the capital. Marked culture paths, accessible on foot and by bike, wind through its historic streets.
The two largest Slovenian towns, Ljubljana and Maribor, boast symphony orchestras and opera and ballet theatres. There are theatres in all major towns; individual productions often, and very successfully, tour the European and other continents, primarily those favouring avant garde aesthetics. Slovenian film makers regularly participate at international film festivals and have received numerous international prizes. International graphic art and design biennials are organised in Slovenia. Artists from around the world have participated in Forma Viva sculpture symposiums in Kostanjevica na Krki, Portorož or Ravne na Koroškem. Several excellent photographers are also active in Slovenia.
The year 1550 marks the beginning of Slovenian literature, which reached its first peak with the Romantic poet France Prešeren (1800–1849), followed by the Modernists, Srečko Kosovel (1904–1926), Edvard Kocbek (1904–1981) and Tomaž Šalamun (1941–2014). Poetry is the connecting thread of two renowned literary festivals – Vilenica and the Days of Wine and Poetry in Ptuj.
Across the country and throughout the seasons, obviously more often in summer, there are many festivals for different publics and of various types. Every year, Ljubljana Festival presents some really famous classical music performers, while the renovated castles resound with exquisite concerts of ancient music. The Mediterranean town of Piran, birthplace of composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini, hosts a number of cultural events. Slovenian newly composed ethnic music of the Avsenik Ensemble and other similar groups is popular not only in Slovenia, but also in other Alpine regions. All around the country, one can hear various musical genres, from jazz – Ljubljana Jazz Festival is one of the oldest in Europe – to heavy metal and punk rock: the Metaldays and Punk Rock Holiday festivals are held in Tolmin, at the confluence of the Alpine Soča and Tolminka rivers.
Cultural diversity is an excellent reason to visit Slovenia and explore its boutique, affordable and easily accessible offer of authentic contacts with artists and cultural content for any taste and all generations.
You are cordially invited to visit the site www.culture.si.
Welcome to Slovenia.