Velenje (German: Wöllan) is a municipality with 33.331 inhabitants in the northeast of Slovenia. Stari Velenje (the old part at the foot of the castle) is mentioned for the first time 1264 and 1374 as small market town and was a center of handicraft and trade. Due to lignite mining, the city expanded especially after World War II. After the death of Yugoslav president for life Tito it was renamed Titovo Velenje in 1981, but the old name was returned to the city in 1991, shortly before Slovenia became independent.
You cannot find Velenje on the globe even if you look for it (for fotos go to: http://www.velenje.si/en/600) with a a magnifying glass, and on the European continent it is seen only as a small dot in this wide world. If you take a closer look at this dot, you might discover a piece of Slovenian land – attractive Styrian landscape – which invites you to visit this charming city …
All of you, who are reading this text, are invited to accept our invitation to visit the Velenje basin or rather the valley of Šaleška dolina, as this Styrian part of Slovenian land, surrounded by Smrekovec (1577 m), Paški Kozjak, the Ložnica highlands and the eastern Karavanke mountains, is usually called by its inhabitants. Let us invite you, with pictures and word, to the uraban municipality and the city of Velenje, and to the valley Šaleška dolina – named after the Šalek Castle and nearby settlement Šalek. Today, the grand old ruin of the Šalek Castle, so often depicted by a painter’s inspiration and frequently visited as a place wit H a fine view, has become a symbol of the Šalek spirit. If you come to Velenje from the Koroška (Carinthiahe) side, the ruin of the Šalek Castle bids you welcome, if you come from the Celje region you are greeted by the mighty Velenje Castle, which is situated on the hill overlooking the city, and if you come to Velenje via Škale the Turn Castle welcomes you from its gentle slope. The first thought that comes to mind when you see these three castles. Is this a valley of castles? Is very pertinent, for there are at least dozen more (regretfully in ruins) hidden in the Valley. In its lavish past the Valley was obviously interesting as church building area, with its 26 dominant sacral buildings it somehow deserves to be named the valley of churches. In addition to the many castles and churches, which bear witness to a rich cultural heritage in this area from the Romanesque period on, the creator of the landscape has enabled us to call the Valley the valley of lakes. At first sight you get the impression of a mighty and fabulous world in the Valley and in the city of Velenje. Yet through the centuries this place has slowly and carefully merged with stone and water, as if the grounds of Velenje borough and later luxuriantly grown city were never really left to coincidence, but were built, stone by stone, sometimes white, sometimes black; in mosaic harmony and symbiosis. One of the many landscapes starts with the settlement Šalek: here the valley opens from the narrow part of the Paka river basin into the widened part of the valley. In former times, Paka, flowing in to river Savinja, often flooded and for that reason approximately forty years ago the people of Velenje regulated it themselves, working voluntarily on that and many other occasions. Today, the Paka is connected with the urban part of the valley on its south side. The valley Šaleška dolina is 1 to 2,5 kilometers wide and 8 kilometers long. The amphitheatrically relief of it is due to two tectonic faults, inside which the land between Smrekovec and Paški Kozjak sank and was filled by the Pannonian Sea in ancient times, and then later, in the Early Pliocene, a lake formed. There are layers of clay and coal from that period and their exploitation crucially influenced the re-forming of the landscape. The valley spreads in the east-southeast towards west-northwest; it’s configuration and openness in many respects a great advantage in the development of the Valley area.In the west part of the valley there are dispersed settlements of the municipality and town Šoštanj. It is older then the more modern and urban municipality of Velenje, which spreads over the eastern and central part of the valley. To the north and to the east, Velenje (altitude 390 m) is surrounded by outmost spurs of Karavanke mountains, i.e. Lubela (795 m), Vodemla (789 m), Stropnica (868 m) and Paški Kozjak (Basališče 1272 m). On the west it reaches the foothills of the Savinja Alps, and to the south it’s enclosed by the Ložnica highlands (Veliko Gradišče 587 m, Veliki Koželj 590 m).
The valley Šaleška dolina has a temperate continental climate and belongs to the central Slovenia climate area. Winters are cold, summers moderately warm, in January the average temperature reaches around -2 degrees Celsius; in July it is around 19 degrees Celsius. Fog can occur in fall months, because of the lakes warm waters. Today’s image of Velenje is substantially different from that of half century ago. In the course of time the Valley is however ib enough for intense density of population (450 inhabitants per square km), industry (Gorenje – home appliances), coal-mining and energetics. Velenje is one of the strongest economic centers in Slovenia, with highly developed coalmining, metal industry and many other branches of economy and services. Welcome to Velenje – welcome to all of you who have come here for the first or for the hundredth time. Whatever reasons has brought you to Velenje, be it business, sport, tourism or sociability, or even if you are a guest by chance – new friends and acquaintances await you.
• Praznik občine 20. september (uradna ustanovitev 1959) • Površina 83, 5 km2 • Nadmorska višina centra mesta 390 (308 – 1.089) • Povprečna temperatura: jan: 2,6°C; jul: 20,4°C • Dolžina javnih cest 247,5 km • Dolžina kolesarskih stez 10,2 km • Število prebivalcev 34.140 • Prirastek 111 • Zazidalna stavbna zemljišča 1.989 ha • Krajevne skupnosti 16 • Mestne četrti 3 • Hišnih številk 4.604 • Dolžina rečnih tokov 32,2 km • Število jezer 3, rek 1 • Komunalni odpadki na prebivalca 316 kg/leto • Čistilne naprave 3 • Število podjetij 1.218 • Število zaposlenih v občini s stalni preb v občini 11.620 • Število medijev 18 • Prenočitveni obrati 9 • Število študentov 2.800 • Število dijakov 2.120 • Število šolarjev 2.594 • Število otrok v vrtcih 1060 (68%)