Lifestyle

03 Dec 2021, 18:41 PM

STA, 3 December 2021 - The government decided on Friday to ban the serving of food and drinks at outdoor stalls, with the exception of roasted chestnuts. As for outdoor fairs, organisers will have to make sure that visitors move in a one-way direction, and access to the venue must be fenced off, so that entry outside the official entrance is not possible.

In line with the latest decree, congresses and fairs are permitted to be held both outdoors and indoors, provided that the attendees meet the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) condition, wear face masks and keep a distance of 1.5 metres.

Supervision of compliance with the rules and conditions will need to be ensured by the organisers of congresses or fairs, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) said.

In bars and restaurants, food or drinks are permitted to be served only to sitting customers between 5am and 10pm. The maximum permitted number of persons must be visibly displayed at the entrance of bars and restaurants.

As for outdoor fairs, including Christmas and New Year's fairs, which are currently being organised in several cities around Slovenia, the decree also stipulates that one-way movement of visitors must be ensured, with separate entrances and exits.

Access to the venue must be fenced off, so that entry outside the official entrance is not possible, UKOM added.

The decision comes after the Covid-19 task force called for a ban on stalls serving food and drinks due to risk for the spreading of coronavirus infections, which is much higher at the stalls than in restaurants.

"The task force believes that stalls offering food and drinks should not be allowed, because a great number of people come into contact and the chance of a transmission of infection is increased," task force head Mateja Logar said.

29 Nov 2021, 13:25 PM

STA, 29 November 2021 - The Foreign Ministry has called on all UK citizens and their family members residing in Slovenia to submit applications for a new biometric permit for temporary residence or exchange the existing one for a new biometric permit for permanent residence on time. The deadline is 31 December.

The current permits issued to UK citizens or their family members who are not EU citizens expire on 31 December as a result of Brexit.

The applications can be submitted at the administrative unit of their residence. The permits are issued in line with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. More information is available at: https://www.gov.si/en/registries/projects/brexit/.

The agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU came into force on 1 February 2020. As of the day of its exit, the United Kingdom has become a third country, which means its citizens no longer enjoy the same conditions to reside in EU countries as before Brexit.

The Withdrawal Agreement envisages a transitional period for UK citizens residing in the EU to obtain residence permits. The deadline in Slovenia expires on 31 December 2021.

18 Nov 2021, 13:14 PM

STA, 18 November 2021 - An exhibition of Pablo Picasso's illustrations termed Picasso: Writing into Drawing, marking the 140th anniversary of the birth of the great artist, will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) this evening, bringing almost 260 mid-20th century illustrations from a private collection in Italy.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to open at Moderna Galerija, the national museum of modern and contemporary art, on 30 September, but was postponed due to significant flood damage the gallery suffered on the day before.

It will feature prints of illustrations for Max Jacob's Chronicle of Heroic Times, Pierre Reverdy's Song of the Dead, 20 Poems by Luis de Gongora, Count de Buffon's Natural History, Prosper Merimee's Carmen, Fernand Crommelynck's The Magnificent Cuckold, and for Picasso's own illustrated book Le Carmen des Carmen.

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Pablo Picasso, Le Carmen des Carmen, 1949 (1964)

The museum said the illustrations on display showed how Picasso approached illustration of different literary genres or the illustrated book, which can slowly transform into an artist's book.

This is especially so for handwriting, which sometimes "spills over" directly into drawing or painting and consequently further away from the usual understanding of illustration.

"Picasso's prints are one of the hallmarks of his inexhaustible artistic research. He was constantly occupied by printmaking: from his first experiences with etching, dating back to 1899, and all the way to his death in 1973."

The extensive body of his prints covers all the techniques of artistic reproduction (etching, dry-point, engraving, woodcut, lithography, linocut), with the prints usually proving groundbreaking due to high quality and personal stamp in experimenting.

Illustrations of three books - Song of the Dead, 20 Poems and Chronicle of Heroic Times - shift one's perspective of Picasso's work because they are not necessarily immediately seen as Picasso's most typical examples of printmaking, the museum said.

The exhibition, curated by Marko Jenko and sponsored by the Spanish Embassy in Ljubljana, is accompanied by a catalogue.

Jenko has told the STA that the private collection is owned by two sisters who had been old acquaintances of the late Slovenian painter Zoran Mušič (1909-2005) and are admirers of his work.

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17 Nov 2021, 14:40 PM

STA, 17 November 2021 - The prices of apartments and houses have been rising rapidly since the real estate market started recovering in March. In the first half of the year, they rose by around 8% year on year, the highest six-month growth since the 2008 real estate crisis, according to the Surveying and Mapping Authority (GURS).

The prices were pushed to a record high level in the first half of 2021 by the record high rise in prices of apartments in multi-apartment buildings in major towns, except Ljubljana.

In Koper, Kranj, Celje and Maribor the prices jumped by 10-12%, GURS says in today's report on the real estate market in the January-June 2021.

The median price for used flats in multi-storey buildings at national level reached EUR 1,980 per square metre.

After exceeding EUR 3,000 per square metre for the first time ever in the second half of 2020, the median price for Ljubljana apartments stood at EUR 3,250 per square metre in the first half of this year. The record growth in the capital was achieved in 2018, when the prices surged by 15% year on year.

At the coast, the median price of used apartments was EUR 2,700 per square metre, in Kranj EUR 2,520, in the northern and southern Ljubljana area EUR 2,500, in Celje EUR 1,600 and in Maribor EUR 1,550.

"The high growth in housing prices is on the one hand driven by strong demand, encouraged by low interest rates and the availability of money, and on the other hand by limited supply of new-build properties," GURS said, adding that low interest rates encouraged both purchases of properties for own use and as investment.

The prices are being inflated also by the rising prices of building land, and indirectly construction costs as a result of globally rising prices of transport and construction material due to the pandemic.

The high prices of apartments are also driving an increase in demand for construction land, and a construction expansion. "This is the most evident in Ljubljana, where the current and planned construction of new housing buildings can already be compared to the pre-crisis period before 2008," GURS said.

GURS expects housing prices to continue to rise until the supply exceeds the demand. At the moment most new apartments in major towns and tourist areas are sold before they are built despite the record-high prices.

In the first half of 2021, transactions in flats and building land were level with the second half of last year, at 8,350, which is almost 30% higher than in the first half of 2020, which was marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Compared to the first half of 2019, they were down by 5%, GURS said.

Since the start of 2019, the transactions were up the most in the second half of 2020, by almost 30% compared to the first half of 2020.

At the start of 2021, transactions were first down somewhat, reaching a second bottom since the start of the epidemic in February (the first being recorded in April 2020). Real estate started selling again after the third wave of the epidemic in March. At the end of the first six months, translations already exceeded pre-epidemic figures.

10 Nov 2021, 11:28 AM

STA, 10 November 2021 - Slovenia's Jewish community has finally got a place of worship as the Ljubljana Synagogue opened in a residential building in Trubarjeva Street on Tuesday in a joint effort by the Austrian Jewish community from Graz and the Slovenian Jewish community.

 The two communities joined forces in August 2021 by establishing the Association of Jewish Communities of Graz and Ljubljana, which runs the new Ljubljana synagogue.

The first major event there after the opening will be the celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of light, on 5 December, Slovenian Jewish Community vice-president Igor Vojtic said at yesterday's opening.

"We haven't had such a prayer room until now, but it is key to preserving religious and ethnic identity," Vojtic said at the opening, as quoted by the newspaper Delo.

The community has made efforts to have a synagogue for years but lacked the funds, while it has had the main rabbi for Slovenia since 2003. Services were therefore held at a variety of locations.

Vojtic said that the new synagogue was a result of historical ties between the Jewish communities in Slovenia and Austria.

The Slovenian Jewish community is estimated to have over one hundred members, while there were more than 1,500 before World War II, according to Delo.

Yesterday's opening was also attended by Ariel Haddad, the rabbi for Slovenia, members of other religious communities in Slovenia, including Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore and Mufti Nevzet Porić, diplomats, including Austrian Ambassador to Slovenia Elisabeth Ellision-Kramer, and Slovenian President Borut Pahor.

Predsednik republike na otvoritvi Sinagoge Ljubljana: "Ta sinagoga je tudi zavoljo sodelovanja med Ljubljano in Gradcem sporočilo sožitja" https://t.co/UGGSak0GlM pic.twitter.com/85cpqtCWcd

Pahor stressed the importance of tolerance and an inclusive society. He said the synagogue was a sign of cooperation between the Jewish communities in Ljubljana and Austria's Graz and a symbol of coexistence within an inclusive society.

The synagogue opening coincided with the anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), a pogrom against Jews carried out in Nazi Germany on 9-10 November 1938.

Elie Rosen, Graz Jewish Community chairman and head of the Ljubljana Synagogue, said it was important to launch the synagogue on the exact date, to show that the Nazis had not managed to destroy Jewish culture in Europe.

"9 November is thus not just a bridge to the past but a bridge to the future," Rosen was quoted as saying in a press release of the new association.

08 Nov 2021, 12:17 PM

STA, 6 November 2021 - The Koper cathedral will inaugurate its new organ at Saturday's mass, which is to be attended by Apostolic Nuncio to Slovenia Jean-Marie Speich and President Borut Pahor. The organ, which came from the famous Tonhalle concert hall in Zurich, is the second largest in Slovenia and will sound in a concert for the first time in the country on Sunday.

The organ, a donation from Tonhalle to the Koper Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, weighs 16 tonnes and includes more than 5,500 pipes. It was designed by acclaimed French composer, organist and adviser to organ builders Jean Guillou (1930-2019).

It is the second biggest organ and the biggest church organ in Slovenia, so it is fitting that it will now adorn one of the biggest churches in the country.

After time-consuming works to set up the instrument, including the complete renovation of the choir loft, the organ will be formally handed over to the Koper church and blessed at today's mass at 5pm that will be said by Koper bishop Jurij Bizjak.

The event will feature church choirs of the Slovenian Istria. The organ will be played by Mirko Butkovič, whom the Koper Diocese named titular organist.

On Sunday, the first concert featuring the instrument in Slovenia will be held with Pier Damiano Peretti, an Italian professor of organ at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, playing the new organ.

Another six concerts will take place from mid-November until New Year as part of the organ presentation season, including a 21 November performance featuring compositions of contemporary Slovenian sacred music that have been written specifically for this instrument.

The head of the Koper Diocese organ commission Martin Šuštar believes that the organ now has an even better sound quality than in Switzerland, as some mechanical and intonation tweaks have been made.

The volume in the choir loft and throughout the rest of the church has been equalised, he said, adding that the organ was a "wonderful instrument that will play an important role in the cultural and religious spheres in the coming years".

The EUR 650,000 renovation project involved a donation campaign that will continue into 2022.

Tonhalle decommissioned the organ after less than three decades because the old organs, built by the firm Kleuker-Steinmeyer, had never quite fulfilled the expectations of the venue that prides itself on being acoustically one of the best halls in the world.

Instead of simply throwing the old organ away, they decided to donate it, and the Koper cathedral was then picked from six applicants across Europe to get the instrument.

07 Nov 2021, 19:54 PM

Despite the growing number of Chinese restaurants, Slovenia still isn’t a great place for non-European food, and it’s only in the last decade or so that Ljubljana itself has seen more diversity with regard to its dining offers. Much of the excitement there is concentrated on and around Trubarjeva cesta, the colourful but rapidly gentrifying street that runs from Prešeren Square towards one or two of centres of contemporary culture, the Metelkova-Gallery-Museum quarter, and the newly opened Cukrarna.

I lived on the street my first few years in Slovenia, one of the less vibrant members of the immigrant community, albeit one with a long and abiding interest in the spicier end of cuisine towards the other end of Eurasia. Which is why when chef Ziauddin Ahmed started serving food from the subcontinent at Hotel Park (now the B&B) a few years ago I was a very happy customer, joining many others who travelled from far further afield to enjoy his work.

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See the full menu. Photo: Zaika

I left Ljubljana two years ago, just at the end of 2019 and a few months before the lockdown put the hotels, restaurants, bars, cafés, clubs and so on through the worst times anyone can recall, and it’s already clear that when this whole mess finally ends the scene will have changed significantly, with some businesses closing, others successfully evolving.

One of those changes to the scene involves Ziauddin, who in March of this year took over the small space at Trubarjeva 60 that previously hosted the Bangladesh restaurant. The place (Zaika) was fully cleaned and renovated, and set up for takeaway and delivery service, making best use of the small space and central location to bring colourful, exotic, and delicious new tastes to the street, with meat, vegetarian and vegan options.
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Ziauddin Ahmed, photographed in another location. Photo: JL Flanner

I know Ziauddin from way back, so here’s a little of his story and that of Zaika, which you should check out and support if you’d like more of this kind of thing in town.

How did you end up in Ljubljana?
I’m from Kolkata, West Bengal. I did my master’s degree in the hotel industry. After that I got a job in a five-star super-deluxe hotel, the Hyatt Regency Kolkata. So I started my career from there, and I worked there four and a half years, then I got a chance to come to Ljubljana as the head chef of Figovec, when it was an Indian restaurant, called Currylife Figovec, and then I worked at Hotel Park for a few years, until COVID changed everything.

Are people here open to trying Indian food?
Yes, many people in Ljubljana love Indian food– but still many of them are scared of trying it because their perception is that it’s very spicy, maybe there’s no option for vegans, and the like.

Slovenia is still a young country, so I feel it will take little more time for people to get used to Asian flavours, dishes and spices. That said, recipes are not written in the Bible, so you can change them and make good food according to a customer’s taste-buds and choice, they just need to let me know before I start cooking. To my mind, that’s the real difference between a chef and a cook. A cook just follows the recipe, but a chef can adapt it and always make something that pleases all of the senses, no matter what needs to be changed.

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See the full menu. Photo: Zaika

How do you like Slovenia?
I like it very, very much. That’s why I came back. It’s a really beautiful country. I like nature and I am not a person for very crowded places, so i can say it’s perfect for me.

You also have a mixed culture. Most of the year – when there’s no epidemic – the city is dominated by tourists from all over of the world.so you can also enjoy the different cultured people here. And that’s a very beautiful thing about this country. Not overpopulated, very nice people, very friendly.

What about the winters?
Honestly, I’d never experienced that kind of temperatures in my entire life . At my birthplace temperature goes maximum 10 degrees Celsius, and we think “oh, it’s too cold”. When I came here it was minus 15. I was scared that I’d die. But the human body can acclimatise very quickly. Now it’s become normal.

What about Slovenian food?
Well, as a Muslim I can’t eat pork, so when I go out I’m always a little bit scared, because most Slovenian traditional foods are dominated by pork or use pork fat to enhance the flavour. But I like štrukližlikrofiprazen krompir, pasta, although bolognese, again, I worry there’s a little pork fat in there, because fat always gives a good taste.

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See the full menu. Photo: Zaika

How many people are working at the new place?

I’d like to get some help with the cooking, but until then I’m the only person here – ordering the ingredients, cooking the food, keeping the place clean and the customers happy.Enter

Who are your customers, and what things sell well?
I get both tourists and locals, because that’s who comes to Trubarjeva. There’s a great slection of Indian curries, but the best-selling items  are chicken makhani, tikka masala, subz diwani, hundi kofta, nazakat and naan.

Zaika offers service, takeaway and delivery of meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes from 11 – 21:00 Mon-Saturday. iIt’s very easy to find at 60 Trubarjeva cesta, just down from the famed Trubar café, home to among the best doughnuts in Ljubljana, and – incredibly – still in business after I left town and stopped drinking there.

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See the full menu. Photo: Zaika

That café, cake and ice cream store is in good company with the many other small eateries, bars and boutiques that make Trubarjeva a must-see street that’s easy to overlook but much easier, and more fun, to visit, leaving you well-positioned for the various attractions there or just a short distance away, or a pleasant walk along the river, perhaps with an ice cream in hand and your heart open to the life of the city.

03 Nov 2021, 15:32 PM

STA, 3 November 2021 - Rainy weather will continue this afternoon with more precipitation expected in the west. A strong southerly wind will blow in the western Primorska region. The Environment Agency has issued a warning of high tide flooding for the coast.

The high tide could cause the sea level to exceed the coastline by around 30 centimetres this evening, the agency warned.

It will be cloudy with rain on Thursday morning as well, but the precipitation should gradually abate and the skies should clear up in some places. Enhanced southerly and south-westerly winds will blow. Morning lows of 8-14 degrees Celsius are expected.

It will be changeable in the afternoon with some showers in the west. The wind will gradually die down. Daytime temperature highs will stand between 12 and 17 degrees.

Mostly sunny weather is expected in Primorska on Friday and Saturday with a weak bora wind. Inland, it will be moderately to predominately cloudy with morning fog in some places.

01 Nov 2021, 19:24 PM

STA, 1 November 2021 - Heavy trucks are banned from overtaking on the Slovenian motorways as of today after the ban kicked in on the A1 motorway, that is between Šentilj (NE) and Koper (SW), on 15 January. A violation carries a fine of 300 euro.

The ban for trucks heavier than 7.5 tonnes on the Šentilj-Koper motorway has produced good results, improving traffic flow, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said on Twitter as he announced the new measure.

The government and national motorway company DARS thus agreed to expand it to the entire motorway network, the minister explained.

The ban on the A1 motorway was imposed for the period between 6am and 6pm, while heavy trucks were still allowed to overtake at night, as well as at sections with three traffic lanes.

Even before that, trucks were not allowed to overtake during the morning and afternoon rush hours on certain sections of A1.

Overtaking for trucks is meanwhile completely forbidden in tunnels and motorway junctions, and also on some ring roads in urban areas.

29 Oct 2021, 13:52 PM

STA, 28 October 2021 - Slovenia has ranked 12th in this year's EU gender equality index ranking released by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) on Thursday. The country scored 67.6 points out of 100, practically level with the EU average, as it dropped by one spot compared to the 2020 ranking.

The EU average is 68 points, a tiny improvement on 2020, but given the institute's estimates, the consequences of the pandemic could bring all this progress to nothing in the future, said the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

The list is topped by Sweden with 83.9 points, which had the best score last year as well, whereas Greece has come last with 52.5 points. Slovenia is meanwhile tucked in between Austria (68 points) and Malta (65 points).

"Since 2010, Slovenia's score has increased by 4.9 points but its ranking has dropped by three places. Since 2018, Slovenia's score has remained the same (-0.1 points), but its ranking dropped by two places," the EIGE noted.

The ranking is determined based on six main categories: work, money, knowledge, time, power and health, and a cross-sectional issue of violence.

When it comes to work, Slovenia scored 73 points, down by 0.1 point on 2020 due to increased gender segregation in employment. Since 2010, Slovenia's ranking in this category has dropped from the 10th to the 15th place.

In the money category, which includes average net income and at-risk-of-poverty rate, the country got 83.7 points, up by 0.7 point. This score and ranking are among the highest for the country as it placed 12th among all member states.

The same improvement was recorded in knowledge, where Slovenia bagged 56.6 points. However, Slovenia's gender inequalities remain most pronounced in this category as the country ranked 18th in the knowledge domain, its lowest ranking.

When it comes to the time category or allocation of time spent doing care and domestic work and social activities, the country got 72.9 points, same as last year.

In the power category, where gender representation in government and parliament is taken into account, Slovenia received the least points, 53, down by two points on last year as a result of a lower number of female ministers in the current government.

Since 2010, the share of women on the boards of the largest listed companies has increased from 10% to 24%, while the share of women on the central bank board has remained at 20%.

Taking into account the last decade, Slovenia's score has improved the most in the domain of power as it increased by 11.9 points. However, since other countries have seen faster progress, Slovenia's ranking has still decreased by four spots, taking the 13th place.

Health-wise, Slovenia has fared the best, having scored 87.8 points, up by 0.9 of a point. Female participants in the survey were more likely to consider their health worse than men's even though their life expectancy is higher by six years in general.

Healthy life expectancy after the age of 65 is the same for both women and men in the country, and the level of fitness is much above EU average for both men and women.

On the other hand, one of the largest gender gaps in the EU is Slovenia's situation when it comes to paying for unexpected costs of primary healthcare services, as some 47% of women in the country have difficulties with this, while the same problem is encountered by 40% of men.

This is also one of the largest gender divides across the bloc compared to EU average, which stands at 19% and 17%, respectively.

The violence sub-index did not provide an assessment of progress for 2021 due to the lack of comparable data for all EU countries. Eurostat is currently coordinating a survey on gender-based violence in the EU, the results of which will be included in the 2024 index, the ministry said.

Read the full report here

27 Oct 2021, 17:31 PM

STA, 27 October 2021 - A total of 24,016 people died in Slovenia in 2020, which is 3,428 (16.7%) more than in 2019, with the average age of the deceased being up by one year. The high mortality rate, especially in November and December 2020, resulted in the highest negative natural increase since 1945, the Statistics Office said on Wednesday.

Among the total of 24,016 people that died in Slovenia last year, 11,733 were men and 12,283 women, while the natural population increase has remained in the negative since 2017, the statistical data show.

The Covid-19 epidemic in 2020 and the high mortality rates, especially in November and December, contributed to an even more substantial negative natural increase.

Last year, the population growth rate was -2.5 per 1,000 inhabitants, which is the lowest natural increase in Slovenia since 1945.

The average age of the deceased last year was 79.2 years, which is 1.1 years higher than the average age at the time of death in Slovenia in 2019.

On average, Slovenian men die younger than women. Last year, the average age at death for males was 75.3 years, while the average age at death for females was 82.9 years.

The pandemic that marked 2020 had a significant impact on mortality too. While it was not so pronounced during the first wave in the spring, it became more obvious in the second half of the year, especially in the last quarter.

The excess mortality rate in 2020 was 18.8%, which means that 3,795 (18.8%) more people died than on average in the period between 2015 and 2019, said the Statistics Office.

Last year, 66 people died on average every, 10 more than in 2015-2019. The excess deaths are also reflected in the fact that in all years between 2000 and 2019, there was only one day in which 100 or more people died, compared to 38 such days in 2020.

All of these days were in November or December - 6 December was the day with the highest number of deaths that year (130). The week between 30 November to 6 December 2020 was the week with the highest number of deaths that year (801).

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