Slovenia is presenting through its regions at EXPO 2015 in Milan. Four have been presented so far: the Mediterranean coast with its Karst region, the Goriška “Emerald Land” region, Gorenjska or Upper Carniola with the Alpine part of Slovenia, and finally central Slovenia with the capital Ljubljana. The regions are not only being represented through their main tourist attractions, but also through their unique cuisines and wines as well as through cultural heritage and music performances.
The key comparative advantages of Slovenian tourism are a unique variety of landscapes, climatic subzones and cultural traditions clustered in a rather small area. A reminder: Slovenia offers Mediterranean climate and seaside in close proximity to the Alps, with subalpine hills merging into mild sub Mediterranean geography in the west, and into the continental Pannonia plain in the east. Culturally, Slovenia is uniquely positioned between German, Romance and Slavic ethno-linguistic groups.
This unique variety is best embodied through Slovenia's regions. In May, the Slovenian pavilion exhibited the Mediterranean coastline and its hinterland, the Karst: a Slovenian region that gave name to the type landscape formed by eroded rocks. One of the key attractions of the regional presentation was salt from the coast, which hosts the northernmost salt panes in the Mediterranean. The salt harvested here is considered some of the best in the world. It is made according to traditional methods, has a high content of preserved minerals and is naturally white. The Slovenian salt-pans are part of the permanent exhibition in the Slovenian pavilion at the EXPO.
The Karst's key attraction is its 10.000 caves – globally, Slovenia has the highest concentration of the karst phenomena. The best known cave of this region is in Škocjan, a part of UNESCO's World Heritage. And not to forget, the Lipizzaner breed of horses originally stems from Lipica's stud farm, one of the oldest in Europe. Special emphasis was put on the gastronomic heritage of Karst, including typical wines such as Teran. In mid-May the Slovenian pavilion hosted a joint presentation of the Karst culinary tradition from both Slovenian and Italian sides of the border.
The second region presented at the EXPO was Goriška, or the »Emerald Land«, named for the river Soča and its unique emerald color. A century ago Soča, flowing from the Alps to the Adriatic sea, separated Austro-Hungarian and Italian frontlines and was the site of many fierce battles. The remnants of the fortifications are still visible and are now connected to »The Walk of Peace« trail. Another important cultural monument is Idrija with its centuries old mercury mines – also a part of UNESCO's World Heritage. Not to forget: Brda's wines are probably among the world’s best. The wines are as good as those from Italian Collio region. Brda translated into Italian is »collio«: one name denoting the Slovenian and the other the Italian part of the very same region.
Additionaly there is Gorenjska, the region presented in the first half of June. Gorenjska is synonymous with the Slovenian part of the Alps and is the region with some of Slovenia's main tourist attractions: the lakes of Bled and Bohinj, Triglav National park with the country's trademark mountain, and Kranjska Gora ski resort – all of which become increasingly attractive throughout the year. And not to forget, Gorenjska is also the home of Avseniki or the Original Oberkrainer, who used to be a leading alpine polka orchestra not only in Slovenia, but also in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Second part of June has been dedicated to present Slovenian central region with the capital Ljubljana – the winner of the Green Capital of Europe 2016 award. Currently a region of Green Karst is presenting in Slovene pavilion. From July, 16th onwards visitors of Slovene pavilion are invited to enjoy the performances and presentation of Savinja region. The regional exhibitions will continue to be a key part of the Slovenian presence at the Expo till October, so stay tuned.