The European Basketball Championship 2013 will be hosted by four Slovenian towns, all less than an hour’s drive from the capital of Ljubljana. The first round of the Championships will take place in Ljubljana in the very centre of Slovenia, Celje in the eastern Štajerska region, Jesenice – in the vicinity of world-famous ski centre Kranjska Gora and in Koper in the Coastal region, while the second round and finals will be hosted by Ljubljana alone. A visit to the Championship also presents a wonderful opportunity to discover the host cities and their surroundings.
You are very much invited to explore the host cities ...
Capital Ljubljana in the very center of Slovenia – Impossible to ignore
The Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, is situated halfway between Vienna and Venice, at the junction of various cultures, geographical landscapes and historical events. It is easily accessible, with a 2-hour flight separating it from almost all major European airports.
The image of Ljubljana is picturesque and rather green. The old city centre, in particular, is distinguished for its exceptional architecture characterised by various historical periods, but, most of all, by the renowned architect Jože Plečnik, the author of one of the most original 20th century opuses in the world. There is a dominant castle on a hill in the centre of the city and the River Ljubljanica, a river with seven different names, calmly runs through the old part of the city.
According to Reader`s Digest magazine Ljubljana is the most honest city in the world. Forbes magazine called it one of the most idyllic cities in the world.
Besides having everything that all modern capitals have, Ljubljana has succeeded in maintaining the relaxed atmosphere of a small city. It seems that time runs rather slowly here and people like to savour each moment. This vibrant city is full of surprises. The region that comprises 25 municipalities other than Ljubljana is noted for its traditional hospitality, diverse nature, nice towns, castles, quality traditional restaurants and village churches with their rich artistic legacy.
Celje in the Eastern region of Styria – Dressed to rule
Celje is the third largest Slovenian town. It is situated in the eastern part of Slovenia, a mere 45-minute drive from Ljubljana, in the Lower Savinja Valley. The town is proud of its rich history. The Celts and, later on, the Romans built the foundations of the ancient town of Celje, wreathing it with beauty and fame. In the middle ages, its power and pride were provided by the Counts of Celje, who took the fame of three Celje stars all across Europe.
Today, Celje is a development, business, economy, trade, cultural, education, administrative, health, sports and exhibition centre of the Savinja region and one of the fastest growing towns in Slovenia.
Nearby is the city of Laško, with its popular spa resort. In 2013, the city became the Slovenian winner of the European Destination of Excellence award. It is also well known for its excellent Laško beer. Celje is surrounded by vineyards and there are many opportunities to enjoy the rich culinary offer in the eastern part of Slovenia.
Alpine city of Jesenice – Prepared to break the ice
Jesenice is an industrial town squeezed in between the slopes of the Karawanken Mountains in the north-western part of Slovenia, on the way to the world famous Slovenian ski resort, Kranjska Gora. Sports fans ordinarily visit Jesenice to see matches played by top Slovenian ice hockey players, while many people discover Jesenice as a town of surprises worth seeing – due to the legacy of its heavy metal and mining industry softened up by the white-coloured plains of the Golica hill, a natural habitat of wild daffodils, just above the town. The most frequently played pop-folk tune ‘Golica’ found its strength right here!
It’s also a great starting point for discovering two Slovenian pearls – Bled with its green-blue lake, the little island with its church and the medieval castle on the crags above, and the pristine nature of Bohinj Lake, with its background of mystical mountains.
Coastal city of Koper – Ready to rock
Koper is the administrative, political and cultural capital of Slovenian Istria. It is a seaside town with a historical town centre that is said to be one of the most picturesque parts of the northern Istrian peninsula. Until the 19th century, the town was situated on an island, but was later connected to the mainland. The old town centre prides itself on its rich architecture and numerous cultural monuments, while Koper, as the largest Slovenian port, has also become a popular pit stop for cruise liners and, hence, a starting point for discovering Slovenia.
The Slovenian Mediterranean is also known for its medieval towns Izola and Piran, and the more modern city of Portorož, which has the longest tourist tradition. During the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Portorož and Croatian Opatija were the most elite destinations offering spas and tourist resorts and hosting important cultural events. Piran is definitely the most recognisable Slovenian icon after Bled Island.
The Slovenian coast is 46.6 km long and is the shortest European coast besides those of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Monaco. Despite that, it is very diverse. In the outskirts of attractive coastal towns, there are small villages offering various views of Istra, as well as a beautiful view of the Alps when the weather is good.