Year of EU entry: 2004 / Capital city: Ljubljana / Population: 2 million
Previously one of Yugoslavia’s six constituent Republics, present-day Slovenia became an independent state in 1991. It shares borders with Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the Dinaric area, the Pannonia plain and the Mediterranean.
The main industries are automotive, chemicals, electronics, electrical appliances, metal goods, textiles and furniture. Tourist attractions include the famous caves at Postojna with their impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Primitive graffiti in the caves indicates that the first tourists came here in 1213.
Slovenian cuisine is strongly influenced by that of its neighbours. From Austria comes Strudel and Wiener schnitzel. Italy has contributed its risotto and ravioli, and Hungary its goulash. The potica is a special Slovenian cake. Among the most famous Slovenes are the physicist Jožef Stefan, the linguist Franc Miklošić and the architect Jože Ple?nik.