GEOGRAPHICAL PEARL LIVING IN THE PAST

20.000 km2 is the size of the 153rd biggest country on Earth. Surrounded by Salvador as 152nd and Kanaky as 154th Slovenia is one of the smallest countries per surface, but with its geographical position is one of the most varied areas on the whole world why Slovenia is often referred as the geographical pearl. In only two hours you can get from shipping on Mura river in Pannonian lowland to hiking in Slovenian Julian Alps, swimming in Adriatic Sea or traveling by train more than 100 meters under the land in Postojna Cave, where you can also find the famous human fish, the only cave vertebrate animal in Europe. The land that is often mistaken for Slovakia is special also by his form – borders with four neighbour states Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Austria creates the form of a hen.

Slovenian Alps in Planica Valley (Photo by: Tina Soln)

DONALD AND MELANIA TRUMP: PUTTING SLOVENIA ON THE MAP

The important factor that made Slovenia interesting for worldwide writers and journalists, but also travellers and tourists is Donald Trump, American businessman and multimillionaire. In 2015 when he announced his running for president of the United States of America he became interesting person for writing and reporting about. With supremacy of yellow press in nowadays journalistic practices his personal life was being reported in the most newspapers, magazines and on different TV shows. What’s important for recognition of Slovenia is that is third and current wife is Slovenian model Melania Knauss (now known as Melania Trump), who he married in 2005. While searching for more stories to write and report about, media also started presenting Slovenia, the land of Trump’s wife. Even though that Slovenia is famous of many different things and people, the phenomenon of Donald Trump becoming the 45th President of USA and Slovenian Melania Trump becoming the First lady of the USA is most certainly one of very important events that put Slovenia on the world map. At least for Americans. 

Sevnica, the birth town of First Lady of the USA Melania Trump (Photo by: Tina Soln)

FROM HABSBURG EMPIRE THROUGH YUGOSLAVIA TO INDEPENDENT STATE

Hermann Ebbinghaus, German psychologist, described psychology as the science that “has a long past, yet its real history is short”. This famous quote can also be applied when describing the past of Slovenia. Slovenians predecessors were first mentioned in the 6th century and ever since the land of Slovenia can be found in historical sources, but as independent state Republic of Slovenia was declared no earlier than in 1991, after the separation of Yugoslavia. “Today the dreams are allowed, tomorrow is the new day,” are famous words spoken by the first president of Slovenia Milan Kucan on the 25th June 1991, when the independence was officially proclaimed. On this day every year Slovenians now celebrate the National Day remembering the Ten-Day War for independence and the long past of living under the authority of other nations.

For the longest period of time Slovenes were living under the authority of the German nations: in the 14th century the most of the land fell under the Habsburg Empire. After the tumble of Empire Slovenia got the new authority, the Dual Monarchy or Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was established in 1867 as a result of Austro-Hungarian Compromise. The end of the 1st World War brought Slovenians the new state, the state of Southern Slavs named State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. In 1929 the state was renamed in Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

2ND WORLD WAR: THE WHITES AND THE REDS

One of most important parts of Slovenian past that still implies in all spheres of Slovenian present – mostly in politics, but also in culture, religion and economy – is the 2nd World War. Slovenia was thorn into two parties: the Reds – Slovene Partisans which based on Bolshevik communism and their opponents the White Gard or the Whites with ideology of Catholic clericalism. This era and division in two ideological and military parts has strong impact on relations in Slovenia nowadays and it’s one of the main reason that Slovenes are labelled as the “nation that is still living in the past”. Because of the wealthy cultural legacy that comes from mid and after war time the students in primary and high schools are learning about the past and making their own conclusions about both parties, but carrying tradition about the Red and the Whites most often comes from the family background: almost every family living in Slovenia was included in one party or another and they carry their beliefs as the only right ones and surrender them to their successors. Also the politicians are often referring to that part of Slovenia’s past instead of making new decisions based on current events in the state or the European Union.

MODERN SLOVENIA: SUCCESSFUL ATHLETES AND INSTAGRAM PRESIDENT

While living in the past Slovenia is also famous for very successful athletes especially in team and winter sports. In 2013 skier Tina Maze broke Hermann Maier’s record of the most points collected in one season of ski world cup. 2414 points is the new absolute record that Maze collected in 35 individual competitions – she collected 69 % of all possible points. Talking about records in winter sports, ski jumper Peter Prevc collected the most points in one season – in season 2016 he collected 2303 if we are accourate -, but he also won Four Hills Tournament, Sky World Flying Championship title and both crystal globes. The world phenomenon is also cross country skier Petra Majdic who won bronze medal in Vancouver Olympics in 2010 with broken ribs.

In 2017 Slovenes achieved two very important results in team sport events: in January the handball team won bronze medal in world championship in France after they fell behind for 8 goals in the second part of second half in the match against Croatia for 3rd place. In basketball European championship Slovenes won gold on the wings of Goran Dragic – The Dragon and Luka Doncic, the wonder boy of modern basketball.

Covers of some of Slovenian daily newspapers: Ekipa 24, Dnevnik and Delo on monday after Slovenian basketball team won gold in european championship 2017 in France (Photo by: Tina Soln)

Even though athletes are usually the best known users of social networks – because of their success and interest in their personal life people want to follow them and see what they are doing, wearing and eating – most famous Slovene on Instagram is not Maze, Prevc, Majdic, Dragic or Doncic. The most known for using Instagram is with no doubt President of Slovenia Borut Pahor, also referred as Instagram King. With his posts he became known worldwide. In Slovenian magazine Mladina they compared him with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also uses Instagram to communicate with citizens. In latest presidential campaign in Slovenia Pahor was running for president against former actor, stand-up comic that used to imitate Slovenian politicians and current major of city Kamnik Marjan Sarec. The story of Instagram King running towards actor for the position of president of the state was one of the most unusual political campaigns in history, but let’s just conclude with Donald Trump with no political background winning the presidential elections in one of the most important international forces in the world, anything is (modern politics) possible.