Other treasures of Slovenia to be included in the World Heritage

Four UNESCO natural and cultural world heritage sites make Slovenia one of the richest guardians of the treasures of humanity in relation to its population. There are even more exceptional items from Slovenia on the Tentative List, on which items under consideration for World Heritage status are listed.

Slovenian assets of intangible world cultural heritage of humanity

It is particularly important to preserve the cultural tradition passed on from generation to generation. Certain skills, knowledge and creativity of our predecessors are so extraordinary that they are worth protecting and preserving for future generations. Special attention to protecting and preserving oral tradition, dances, knowledge and skills can also be based on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which includes four sites in Slovenia.

Škofja Loka Passion Play

The oldest Slovenian play has been re-enacted on the streets of the medieval town centre of Škofja Loka since its origin in the time of Baroque. Rich costumes and scenery and the numerous, over 900-member ensemble of local actors attract many visitors to Škofja Loka for every performance. This is a historical re-enactment, which is performed every six years due to its complexity. The next performance will take place in 2021. Škofja Loka Passion Play was entered on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti

When you hear cowbells in the Ptuj area in February, you will surely know that spring is approaching. The bells are only a part of the costume of a Kurent, a traditional Shrovetide character, typical for Ptuj, the Drava Field, the Haloze Hills, and the Slovenske Gorice Hills. A Kurent wears a sheepskin, a distinctive head mask, high-ankle shoes, and red or green knitted socks. In its hand, it spins a ježevka, a thick stick with hedgehog spines. Its roots are from Slavic mythology, and it is considered to chase away winter and herald spring and a good harvest. The door-to-door rounds of Kurenti have been entered on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A unique tribute to this custom are the traditional Kurentovanje celebrations in Ptuj.                                                                                                                                                                                                

Bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia

Bobbin lace is a unique artistic expression and one of the recognisable symbols of Slovenian identity. For centuries stunning products have been made by bobbin lacemakers, and the skill of bobbin twisting is passed on from generation to generation. Bobbin lacemaking is a manual production of lace by braiding, twisting and interlacing thread wound on special wooden spindles known as bobbins. Bobbing lacemaking is about following a pattern drawn on paper attached to a cylindrical pillow in a basket or on a special base. Today, Slovenia is home to over 120 bobbin lacemaking associations, sections and groups. Lace is meant to be a fashion accessory and decoration on clothes and home textiles, and today it is also an inspiration for artistic creations, in architecture and even cuisine.

Knowledge of bobbin lacemaking is also spread at lace schools. The first such school was established by Maria Theresa in 1763 in Ljubljana; the most known lace school today is the one in Idrija, which has been operating for over 140 years. It is home to the famous Idrija lace.

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Dry-stone walling

Dry-stone walling means that no binder is used during construction. Instead, the secret to its firmness is in the particular way stones are stacked up. It is popular around the Mediterranean area. In Slovenia, we can find it in the Karst region and Istria. The art of dry-stone walling, knowledge and techniques are on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and connects eight European countries including Slovenia.

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World Network of Biosphere Reserves

The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves within the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) connects areas which are examples of land or coastal ecosystems outstanding natural and cultural value. The purpose of the network is to spread knowledge and exchange best practices in the field of sustainable development and preserving biodiversity in this field. The network also includes four Slovenia biosphere reserves.

UNESCO’s global geoparks in Slovenia

Global and European networks of geoparks were formed within the framework of UNESCO. The networks include areas with exceptional geological characteristics and where special attention is dedicated to the landscape and the preservation and research of geological assets in the sense of sustainable development. There are currently two such geoparks in Slovenia, which are involved actively in the European and global networks of geoparks: the cross-border Karavanke/Karawanken Geopark and the Idrija Geopark.

Karavanke/Karawanken Geopark

Karavanke/Karawanken Geopark lies between Mežica and Mt Peca and extends to the Austrian side. It boasts unique flora and beautiful minerals, which can be rarely seen anywhere else in the world. Some of the minerals were exploited below Mt Peca and Mt Obir as ore in the past, but today they can be admired in museums. Unforgettable adventures await you in the deserted mine in Mežica where you can explore the underground of Mt Peca by bike or kayak. The powerful natural forces have also formed beautiful caves with stalactites and stalagmites below Mt Obir.

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Idrija Geopark

Idrija Geopark stretches over the area of the eponymous municipality. Diverse geological soil composition was the basis for the development of the mercury mine, which was once the second largest mercury mine in the world. Today the mine and its appertaining infrastructure serve tourism purposes. Natural gems of the area include the Wild Lake (Divje jezero) and Zgornja Idrijca Natural Park. Higher sections of the geopark provide excellent opportunities for recreation. Bikers and hikers can enjoy this area in the summer, while skiing is possible in winter on the Vojsko and Črni Vrh plateaus. To regain your strength, try Idrija žlikrofi, while some will be enchanted by the delicate art of Idrija lace.

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Slovenia as part of the Memory of the World

The Memory of the World is the UNESCO list of documentary heritage. It includes the Codex Suprasliensis, an Old Church Slavonic Cyrillic manuscript, which is deemed the oldest preserved written document in a Slavic language. The manuscript originated from Bulgaria, and later found itself in Poland; part of the manuscript ended up on Slovenian soil thanks to the Slovenian linguist Jernej Kopitar. Today, it is kept at the National and University Library in Ljubljana.

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