Art and culture have a special place in Slovenia’s history, as in many respects they helped to compensate Slovenes for their lack of national, political and governmental institutions. It is thus understandable that even today Slovenes have a very intense relationship with their national culture. To a great extent, pride in the national culture still represents a compensation for the old lack of national sovereignty. Slovenia is probably the only country in the world which has a national holiday devoted to culture.
Slovenia has events of all kinds, to suit everyone’s taste. Every day there is a chance to see the work of the best artists from Slovenia and from further afield, while there are concerts and festivals at which to enjoy great music. You can support your favourite team or athlete at sports events, or test your own physical prowess at any number of recreational events. Ethnological and culinary events offer not just entertainment, but a chance to get to know local traditions and tastes.
The events with the highest international profile are primarily hosted by Ljubljana and Maribor. Ljubljana was the World Book Capital in 2011, while Maribor is the European Capital of Culture in 2012. Ljubljana is home to Slovenia’s cultural epicentre, Cankarjev Dom, which offers a huge range of events throughout the year. Some of the main cultural events in the capital are music festivals, such as the Summer Festival, the Jazz Festivaland Druga Godba. Maribor boasts the outstanding Lent Festival.
A number of other towns host festivals of theatre, dance, music and independent arts.
Sports events range from those involving top-level competitors from around the world, to those designed for recreational participants.
Some tipical events:
- Major skiing and ski jumping meets are held every year at Mariborsko Pohorje, Kranjska Gora and Planica.
- The world’s best biathletes do battle at Pokljuka.
- The Round Ljubljana Walk is one of the biggest recreational events.
- Huge numbers test themselves in the marathons in Radenci and Ljubljana.
- The Franja Marathon and the Assault on Vršič are among the most popular biking events.
- It is at ethnological and culinary events that you can genuinely get to know Slovenia’s customs and traditions.
- Carnival is an unforgettable experience in many towns: Ptuj with its kurents, Cerknica with Zofka the Witch, Drežnica pri Kobaridu, and parades in countless other towns.
- Local artisan traditions can be discovered at the wooden goods fair in Ribnica, the shoemakers’ fair in Tržič and the coachmen’s festival in Postojna.
- Some of the best culinary experiences are to be had in the festivities marking St Martin’s day, when the must officially becomes wine.
- Larger towns also host food and wine fairs.
- Major conferences and trade fairs are held in Ljubljana, Portorož and Bled. But there are many other events worthy of a visit: workshops, book fairs, entertainment events and events run by NGOs and associations.
Authors (from left to right): Marko Šinkovec, Miran Kambič, Urban Urbanc – Sportida d.o.o.