My country – beautiful and hospitable

Published: 28.10.2010

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My country – beautiful and hospitable

The Tourist Association of Slovenia has presented awards for the best entries in the project My country – beautiful and hospitable. This project, which now spans several decades, has long followed the principles of what is termed green tourism in the context of sustainable development. Among the bigger urban centres, the highest marks were given to the young city of Velenje.

My country – beautiful and hospitable

The Tourist Association of Slovenia has presented awards for the best entries in the project My country – beautiful and hospitable. This project, which now spans several decades, has long followed the principles of what is termed green tourism in the context of sustainable development. Among the bigger urban centres, the highest marks were given to the young city of Velenje.

More than two thirds of Slovenia’s towns participated in the competition, whose primary mission is the arrangement and preservation of the environment. Of the bigger urban centres, the highest marks in individual competition categories were given to Velenje, among the medium-sized towns to Žalec, among the smaller towns to Cerklje na Gorenjskem, of the tourist towns to Bohinj, of the spa resorts to Podčetrtek and among excursion resorts to Šentjernej.

The highest-marked city, Velenje, has more than 30,000 inhabitants and is the centre of the Šalek Valley. This modern city developed under the Velenje Castle hill in the decades following the Second World War. The trademarks of Velenje are still the Velenje Coal Mine and the white goods manufacturing plant of Gorenje. Today, however, the images of industry are giving way increasingly to tourism. On a walk through the city you can enjoy the sight of a multitude of statues from which emanate the spirit of socialism. Most famous of these is the statue of Tito, which stands 10 m high, making it the biggest monument to Tito in the world. Velenje Castle is regarded as one of the finest in Slovenia, with its ten museum collections, including reconstructions of a shop and inn from the beginning of the 20th century, and its African collection. The second most-visited local feature is 180 m underground – the special world feature of the Museum of Coal Mining, which covers a full 9,000 m2. Visitors are taken to the museum in the 120-year-old mine lift, and are then taken around the museum by an underground train.
Facets of the mining town can also be seen in the landscape. Subsidence after ore extraction created the lakes of Škalsko and Velenjsko, just a stone’s throw from the city centre, and these are outstanding spots for sports, recreation and leisure activities. The banks have been arranged for running, walking and cycling, and with the right weather people can also enjoy windsurfing or sailing in dinghies and catamarans.

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