Can you feel sLOVEnia?

There are a lot of rumours and wild stories circling around the office regarding the birthplace of one of your new volunteers and one can only assume, that the revelation of the picture of young Bruce Lee added to the mystery of this place far away, called Slovenia. In order to avoid misinterpretation of some of my habits (not Hobbits, Ian), strange gestures and muffled phrases, let me take you on a journey to the land of the Great Chicken…

The fact

Slovenia is small. How small? Very small. The total land area of Slovenia is 20,273 km2, which is 0,6% of the total land area of India! The population of Slovenia is also negligible compared to India. There are about 250,000 people living in our capital city of Ljubljana and around 2 million people living in the whole country. India on the other hand has about the same number of active and reserve army forces alone. If you are now wondering about the size of Slovenian armed forces, let that remain a mystery, but please, don’t attack us…

After all, you might be surprised by the mighty Great Chicken of Slovenia…

Yes, Slovenia is shaped like a chicken.

And this is one young chicken. Slovenia’s independence as a sovereign state was formally recognized in 1991 after the separation from the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Separation was followed by a 10 day war, which didn’t escalate into the massacres of the Balkan wars. There were many reasons for this, the most influential being the relative ethnic homogeneity of people living in Slovenia. Even in today’s globalized world, Slovenia is not a very multicultural country, with more than 80% of Slovenia’s inhabitants belonging to Slovenian ethnic group and with Christianity as the main religion.

But if Slovenians don’t have a lot of foreigners living amongst them they do love foreigners. As a Slovenian, you have more chance of being helped on the street if you pretend that you are from some far away country as opposed to showing your real Slovenian face. And you know the one about loving thy neighbor? In Slovenia, we have a saying;

If the cow of your neighbor dies, you pray to God, that he kills your cow as well, otherwise you will have to give milk to your neighbour…

Funny thing about this is that we have the love of our neighboring states and foreigners also in our national anthem, which praises the time, when all neighbours will leave together in peace and love… I guess as long as they don’t live too close to us.

Talking about our neighbours and history, we cannot avoid the obvious influence of neighbouring countries on the Slovenian culture. Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia are countries from  separate cultural spheres and Slovenia is a bridge or a crossroad between these spheres. You can experience Mediterranean charm, narrow, yellow brick streets and olive oil in the area of Primorska, which borders Italy. In Prekmurje, you can gorge yourself on Goulash and pumpkin oil, while the Vienna schnitzel is a part of national cuisine in the north of the country. And don’t get me started on the influence of Balkans. The final outcome is a schizophrenic, easy going, hard working, selfish, open, energetic, introverted, extroverted, loving, hating persona of a Slovenian.

More about our cultural identity can be seen in the works of famous Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, do check him out on Youtube or read some of his books, here is a taste of his thoughts.

From hills…
to streets…
… to misty lakes!

Slovenia is therefore a mixed and confused chicken which produced a lot of strange little chicks in it’s 20 year history…

The Strange

Although there are not a lot of us, relatively speaking, Slovenians do tend to come up with the strangest ideas.

For example, you probably never heard about Herman Potocnik, who in 1928 published a book called The Problem of Space Travel. His book influenced both German and Russian rocket and space station technology and Herman’s design of Space Station V was also showcased in Stanley Cubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey film.

Slovenian’s also tend to be very adventurous and extreme people, a psychological trait probably influenced by the whole size issue.  Tomaz Humar for example climbed Daulaghiri, the sixth highest mountain in the world alone and without support. The skiing passion of Slovenians was reflected in Davor Krnicar’s uninterrupted ski trip from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom. And what about swimming? Martin Strel has holds successive Guinness World Records for swimming the Danube, Mississippi, Yangtze and Amazon River. Maybe he’ll soon come to India, to swim the mighty Ganges, if he is not eaten by a crocodile in some other river. And when it comes to dying, another bizarre fact about Slovenia is the level of alcohol consumption and suicide rate where we are somewhere near the top in both categories. No comment there…

The Love

On the other hand, our national slogan is I feel sLOVEnia. So, when you are in Slovenia, you feel love and you feel loved. The same goes for Slovenian’s abroad, so don’t worry, whatever we do, as strange as it seems, we do it out of love… Can you feel me?



3 thoughts on “Can you feel sLOVEnia?”

  1. Urban..we CAN feel you…and the sLOVE!!! Beautiful pictures that really make me want to go the land of the great chicken…..and to think all I knew about was Melania Trump!! I may even try to read Slavoj Zizek…..

    Love reading your blogs!


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