Slovenia's Flag Explained

Posted by Michael Green on


Slovenia Flag Explained


So why the hell am I in Slovenia? I’m here for the International Congress of Vexillology. That’s right, every two years, the world’s flag nerds get to gather somewhere in the world to talk all about flags. But as exciting as a lecture on historical flags of Transylvania is, I’m taking some time away from the conference to explore this beautiful country, letting its flag be my guide.

Slovenia has bounced from being part of different political states and empires throughout the last 2000 years. So its international identity had always been wrapped up with its powerful neighbors. It was just over 30 years ago in 1991 when, Slovenia was the first country to break away from Yugoslavia and form the independent country the independent country it is today. So most of the people waking around today were alive when Slovenes finally had the opportunity to create a visual identity that would show the world who they are. Slovenia is younger than I am! And it’s not often we get to look at national symbols that were created after the invention of Adobe photoshop.

Michael Green from Flags For Good explaining Pan-Slavic Flags

Flags from Eastern Europe with red, white and blue, are typically considered part of the pan-slavic flag family. And that will be a future video all on its own. Slovenia is considered part of it, but it is a little special and I’ll tell you why in a bit. 
Yes the Slovenian flag has the pan-slavic colors, and (and in the same order as the modern Russian flag) but what makes it distinct is the beautiful Slovenian emblem. It lies in the upper left portion of the flag, bisecting the top white and blue stripes, and really tells the story of this gorgeous country. 

Design breakdown of the slovenian coat of arms

The emblem was designed in 1991 by Marko Pogačnik, a Slovenian sculptor and poet. And he was inspired by some historical symbols, like a statue in Bled, and others found throughout Slovenian history and combined them into what we have today. 

Inspiration of the Slovenian coat of arms on a statue in Bled

It is a blue shield shape bordered in Red on the two lower sides, with three main elements inside. Its most notable and central feature is a stylized version of Mt. Triglav, which means “three heads” and is Slovenia’s highest peak.

Beneath it are two wavy blue lines representing the Adriatic Sea of which Slovenia has a very small coast line on, and local rivers like this, the Ljubljanica river, on which Slovenia’s capitol sits.

In the upper portion above Mt Triglav, there are three golden, six-pointed stars, forming a triangle and symbolizing democracy. Pogačnik said "Instead of one star dominating the old coat of arms, we now have several stars, a real constellation, which corresponds to the concept of democracy.”

The six pointed stars are taken from the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje, the most influential medieval dynasty in this area.

Slovenian flag flying at the site of the first raising of the Slovene Nation flag.

The first time a modern white blue and red flag was rasied to respresent Slovenia was in 1848 when students raised the colors to respond to a german flag raised about Ljubljana castle. This historic flag was also the flag of the Dutchy of Carniola. This powerful estate of the Holy Roman Empire ruled this area from the 1300s. So these colors pre-date the other Pan-Slavic flags by quite a bit. 

I’m so glad the International Congress of Vexillology came to Slovenia because it allowed me to visit this hidden gem in Europe. One of my biggest goals with these videos and with flags for good, is to encourage people to broaden their worldview. And one of the best ways to do that, and the one that has done that the most in my life, is to travel. 

I hope you enjoy these flag explainer videos as much as enjoy making them. I’m Michael from Flags For Good. Thanks for watching.

 

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