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Country Portraits


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In August 2008, nine schools from eight countries unified around a project idea




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Czech Republic …...……..…………...…………………………………… 11 Germany

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of intercultural dialogue through music. Pupils aged 14-18 and their teachers worked together on an international project named Intercultural Dialogue through Music taking place in their home country as well as abroad. In the beginning, each school had chosen a traditional national song and the songs were studied by every pupil in the music education classes of each institution. Later on they became a basis for workshops and concerts given at each of the six meetings. Furthermore, an international hymn was composed and performed at the final


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meeting in Bulgaria. Apart from musical tasks, in history classes, pupils were acquainted with important cultural achievements of each country and in the language classes, they

United Kingdom ………..…………………………………………………. 33 Epilogue

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worked with the partnership dictionary comprising basic words and phrases from the eight languages. Using English as the project language, the pupils commented on the differences between their home country and the visited countries and wrote about their impressions and experiences in the cultural guide section displayed on the project website ( and www.comenius– and). This project brochure aims to give brief information on each of the participating countries. Their geography, demographics, politics, economics and culture represent the main field of interest.





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Demographics In 2009, 7,606,000 people were estimated to inhabit Bulgaria. According


to the census, these are mainly ethnic Bulgarians with the Turkish and

The mountainous southwest of the country has two alpine ranges: Rila

Romani (Gypsy) minorities. Since the 1990, there has been the lowest

(with the highest peak of the Balkan Peninsula, Musala, 2 925 metres) and Pirin

population growth in the world.

and in the east there are the Rhodope Mountains. The long range of the Balkan

Most Bulgarians belong to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Mountains lies west-east through the country whereas hilly country and

The first five biggest cities include Sofia, the capital, Plovdiv, Burgas,

plains lie to the southeast along the Black Sea coast.

Varnna and Rousse.

Out of the circa 540 Bulgarian rivers, the Danube is the most important and the Iskar the longest. Other major rivers include the Struma and the


Maritsa River.

Since 1992, Bulgaria has a democratic parliamentary republican

The country borders with Romania in the north, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia in the west and Greece and Turkey in the south. In the east, there is the Black Sea which forms a natural border with Ukraine, Russia and Georgia.

constitution. The National Assembly consists of 240 deputies elected for fouryear term by popular vote. The president is the head of state. The country became a member of the United Nations in 1955, joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Bulgarian climate is very diverse: there are the snowy Balkan Mountains as well as the sunny Black Sea coast. The climate is both continental and


marine too. The country overall has a temperate climate with cold winters

According to the World Bank, Bulgaria has an upper-middle-income

and hot summers.

economy. It experiences rapid economic growth and the GDP was estimated $12,900 in 2008. The economy is primarily based on agriculture and industry




with the service sector growingly contributing to GDP growth. The financial crisis had a negative impact mostly on industry.


The country has a long-standing musical tradition, traceable back to the early Middle Ages. National folk music has a distinctive sound and uses a

Bulgaria produces manufactures and raw materials (such as iron, copper,

wide range of traditional instruments, such as gudulka, gaida, kaval and tupan.

gold or coal). Farming predominates over stock breeding. Bulgaria ranks as

Bulgaria also has a rich visual arts heritage, especially in frescoes, murals

on of the top producers of anise, sunflower seed, raspberries or tobacco.

and icons, many of them produced by the medieval Tarnovo Artistic School.

Tourism has made Bulgaria the 30th most popular destination in the world in 2007 with tourists prevailing from Greece, Romania and Germany.

Culture Bulgaria has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Madara Rider, the Thracian tombs in Sveshtari and Kazanlak, the Boyana Church, the Rila Monastery, the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Pirin National Park, Sreburna Nature Reserve and the ancient city of Nesebar. The Bulgarian empires functioned as the hub of Slavic Europe during much of the Middle Ages, exerting considerable literary and cultural influence over the Eastern Orthodox Slavic world by means of the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools. The Cyrillic alphabet, used in many languages in Eastern Europe and Asia, originated in these two schools in the tenth century AD.





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(Republic of) Cyprus

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Demographics The total population of Cyprus is slightly over 1 million, comprising


778,700 in the territory controlled by the government of the Republic of

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean measuring 240

Cyprus and 265,100 in Northern Cyprus. There are communities from

kilometres long and 100 kilometres wide. Neighbouring territories include

Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and other Eastern European

Turkey, Syria and Lebanon to the east, Israel to the southeast, Egypt and

states. By the end of 2007, about 124,000 immigrants settled in Cyprus,

Greece to the west-northwest.

mostly the Greeks, Britons and Russians.

The mountain ranges, the Troodos Mountains (with the highest peak

Most Greek Cypriots are members of the Greek Orthodox Church of

named Mount Olympus, 1,952 m) in the south west and the Kyrenia Range and

Cyprus, whereas most Turkish Cypriots are adherents of Sunni Islam.

the central plain, the Mesaoria, form the relief of the country.

Cyprus is one of the most religious countries in the European Union. Given

Access to drinking water is difficult which is traditionally attributed to deforestation that damaged the island's drainage system through erosion.

the special legal status of the Church of Cyprus, the country is also one of only five EU states to have an established state church.

Winter rivers including the Yialias River, the Pedhieos River or the Serraghis River rise in the Troodos Mountains. All of them, however, are dry in the



Geopolitically, the island consists of the Republic of Cyprus (with the

Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate along the coast and semi-arid

internationally recognized government, two-thirds /59.74%/ of the island),

around the capital with long, hot and dry summers. Winters are relatively

the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which occupies the northern third

mild with rain between mostly December and February.

(34.85%) of the island being recognized only by Turkey, also the United Nations-controlled Green Line which separates the two covering 2.67% of the island and last but not least two bases under British sovereignty: Akrotiri and Dhekelia (covering the remaining 2.74%).





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Economics The Cypriot economy is prosperous and has diversified in recent years with the estimated per capita GDP at $28,381 is just above the average of the European Union.

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One of the features of Cypriot art is a tendency towards figurative painting although conceptual art is being rigorously promoted by a number of art “institutions”. The traditional folk music has several common elements with Greek,

Cyprus has been sought as a base for several offshore businesses for its

Turkish and Arabic music including Greco-Turkish dances such as the sousta,

highly developed infrastructure. The government adopted the euro currency

syrtos, zeibekikos, tatsia and kartsilamas as well as the Middle Eastern-inspired

on 1 January 2008.

tsifteteli and arapie. There is also a form of musical poetry known as chattista

The economy of the Turkish-occupied area is dominated by the services

which is often performed at traditional feasts and celebrations. The

sector. In 2004, the growth rate was 11.4%. In 2008, the average income in the

instruments commonly associated with Cyprus folk music are the bouzouki,

area was $15,984.

oud, violin, lute, accordion, Cyprus flute and percussion. Composers associated

The island has witnessed a massive growth in tourism over the years and

with traditional Cypriot music include Evagoras Karageorgis, Marios Tokas,

as such the property rental market in Cyprus has grown along side. Added

Solon Michaelides and Savvas Salides. Hip Hop, R&B and reggae are also very

to this is the capital growth in property that has been created from the

popular genres on the island and have been supported by the emergence of

demand of incoming investors and property buyers to the island.

Cypriot rap and the urban music scene at Ayia Napa. The Cypriot Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoic philosophy.

Culture The cultural history of Cyprus can be traced back up to 10,000 years, following the discovery of a series of carved figures in the villages of Khoirokoitia and Lempa… Modern times art history begins with the painter Vassilis Vryonides and the founding fathers Adamantios Diamantis and Christopheros Savva. 9




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Czech Republic

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important. There were 436,116 foreigners residing in the country in October 2009, with the largest group being Ukrainian. The biggest cities include the


capital called Prague (cca 1 million inhabitants), Brno (cca 400 000

The Czech Republic lies in Central Europe bordering with Poland

inhabitants) and Ostrava (cca 300 000 inhabitants).

(northeast), Germany (northwest), Austria (south) and Slovakia (east). The

The Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the

Czech Republic has been a member of NATO since 1999 and of the European

world. According to the census, 59% of the country is non-believer, 26.8% is

Union since 2004 (and from January 2009 up to July 2009 it held the

Roman Catholic and 2.5% is Protestant.

Presidency of the EU Council). The state consists of Bohemia in the West, Moravia in the South-East and Silesia in the North-East. Bohemia consists of a basin drained by the Elbe and

Politics The








the Vltava rivers, surrounded by mountains (with the highest point of SněŞka

representative democracy, with the Prime Minister as head of government.

at 1,602 m). Moravia is drained by the Morava River.

The Parliament is comprises the Chamber of Deputies (200 members) and the

The Czech Republic has a temperate continental climate, with relatively

Senate (81 members).

hot summers and cold, snowy winters. The temperature difference between

The President, elected by the parliament for a five-year term, is a formal

summer and winter is relatively high. Temperatures vary greatly, depending

head of state with limited specific powers whereas the Prime Minister is the

on the elevation.

head of government.



The 2001 census showed that there are mostly Czech inhabitants (94.24%)

The economy of the Czech Republic is developed with a GDP per capita

with the following national minorities: Slovaks (1.89%), Poles (0.51%),

of 82% of the European Union average. The euro adoption plan omits giving

Germans (0.38%), Ukrainians (0.22%) and the Vietnamese (0.17%) being most

any date, however, the change is not expected before 2013.





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The Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism. In 2001, the total earnings from tourism reached 118.13 billion CZK, making up 5.5% of GNP and 9.3% of overall export earnings. The industry employs more than 110,000 people – over 1% of the population.

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Czech writers include famous names such as Jan Amos Komenský, Karel Hynek Mácha, Karel Čapek or a playwright Václav Havel. The Czech Republic also has a rich scientific tradition: the invention of the contact lens (Otto Wichterle), the production of the Semtex plastic

There are several centres of tourist activity. The historic city of Prague is

explosive and personalities such as Gregor Mendel, the "father of genetics",

the primary tourist attraction, as the city is also the most common point of

who researched the inheritance of genetic traits, Bedřich Hrozný who

entry for tourists visiting other parts of the country. Particularly popular

deciphered the Hittite language or Jaroslav Heyrovský awarded the Nobel

holiday destinations include spa towns, such as Karlovy Vary, Mariánské

Prize research in polarography and electroanalytical chemistry

Lázně and Františkovy Lázně. Other popular tourist sites are the castles and chateaux, such as those at Karlštejn Castle, Český Krumlov and the Lednice– Valtice area. Away from the towns, Český ráj, Šumava and the Krkonoše Mountains attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits. The Pilsener style beer originated in western Bohemia in the city of Pilsen and the south town of Budweis gave its name to the beer known as Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu.

Culture Music in the Czech Republic has its roots in high-culture classical music as well as in the traditional music of Bohemia and Moravia. Composers were often influenced by traditional music. Notable composers include Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, Bohuslav Martinů and Gustav Mahler.





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are Catholics (31.0%). The second comes Islam with 5% followed by Buddhism and Judaism. About 29.6% have no registered religious



The territory of Germany covers 357,021 square kilometres including 7,798 square kilometres of water. The forested central part and the lowlands


of northern Germany with rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe lie

Germany is a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic republic.

between the mountains of the Alps (with the highest point of Zugspitze at

The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the

2,962 metres) in the south to the shores of the North Sea in the north-west and

1949 constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law).

the Baltic Sea in the north-east. Germany borders with Denmark in the north,

The Chancellor is the head of government and exercises executive

Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the

power. Federal legislative power is vested in the parliament consisting of the

south, France and Luxembourg in the south-west and Belgium and the

Bundestag (Federal Diet) and Bundesrat (Federal Council), which together

Netherlands in the north-west.

form a unique type of legislative body. The Bundestag is elected through

Germany has a temperate seasonal climate moderated by the northern

direct elections, by proportional representation (mixed-member). The

extension of the Gulf Stream with humid westerly winds. Winters are mild

members of the Bundesrat represent the governments of the sixteen federal

and summers tend to be cool, though temperatures can exceed 30 째C. In the

states and are members of the state cabinets. The respective state

east, the climate is more continental; winters can be very cold, summers can

governments have the right to appoint and remove their envoys at any time.

be very warm and long dry periods are often recorded.

The President is the head of state, invested primarily with representative responsibilities and powers. He is elected by the Bundesversammlung (federal


convention of which the second highest official in the German order of

Christianity is the largest religion in Germany, with 52.116 million

precedence, the Bundestagspr채sident, comes), consisting of the members of the

adherents (63%) in 2007. 26.5 million are Protestants (32.3%) and 25.5 million 15

Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates. 16



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The state claims some of the world's most renowned classical music

Germany has the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth largest

composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes

by nominal GDP in the world. Since the age of industrialisation, the country

Brahms and Richard Wagner. Apart from the classics, Germany has influenced

has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised

pop and rock music through artists such as Scorpions or Rammstein.

economy. From 2003 to 2008, Germany was the world's largest exporter,

German painters include personalities such as Hans Holbein the Younger,

being surpassed by China, it is currently the second largest exporter. The

Matthias Grünewald and Albrecht Dürer, Caspar David Friedrich and Max Ernst.

service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1% and

Architectural contributions include Walter Gropius or Ludwig Mies van der

agriculture 0.9%. Most of the country's products are in engineering,


especially in automobiles, machinery, metals and chemical goods. Germany

German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the works

is the leading producer of wind turbines and solar power technology in the

of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

world. The largest annual international trade fairs and congresses are held in

Further names of renowned German authors and poets comprise Johann

several German cities such as Hanover, Frankfurt and Berlin.

Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, the Brothers Grimm, Thomas Mann,

Large German companies include Daimler, Volkswagen, Allianz, Siemens,

Berthold Brecht, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass…

Deutsche Bank or E.ON. Well known global brands are Mercedes Benz, SAP, BMW, Adidas, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen and Nivea. Germany uses the euro and its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

Culture From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. 17




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Demographics In 2008, the Italian population surpassed 60 million, having the fourth-


largest population in the European Union. The biggest cities include Rome

Italy is located in Southern Europe and comprises the Italian Peninsula

(almost 3 million inhabitants), Milan, Naples, Turin and Palermo.

and a number of islands including the two largest, Sicily and Sardinia.

Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in the country, although the

Although the country occupies the peninsula and most of the southern

Catholic Church is no longer officially the state religion. Fully 87.8% of

Alpine basin, some of Italy's territory extends beyond the Alpine basin and

Italians identified themselves as Roman Catholic, however, only about one-

some islands are located outside the Eurasian continental shelf. Italy borders

third of these described themselves as active members (36.8%). The Italian

with France, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Catholic Church, is a part of the global Roman Catholic Church, under the

The country's total area is 301,230 square kilometres including 7,210 square kilometres of water.

spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome and the Conference of Italian Bishops.

The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone, the Alps form its northern boundary. The Po, Italy's longest river, flows from the Alps on the


western border with France. The great lakes include Garda, Maggiore and

The politics of Italy take place in a framework of a parliamentary,

Como. There are 14 volcanoes in Italy, three of which are active: Etna,

democratic republic and of a multi-party system. Executive power is

Stromboli and Vesuvius.

exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by a President,

The climate is highly diverse: most of the inland northern regions have a

informally referred to as "premier" or primo ministro. Legislative power is

continental, humid subtropical climate. The coastal areas generally fit the

vested in the two houses of Parliament primarily and secondarily in the

Mediterranean stereotype with mild winters and warm and generally dry

Council of Ministers. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the

summers, although lowland valleys can be quite hot in summer.

legislative. Italy has been a democratic republic since 1946.





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The President of the Italian Republic is elected for seven years by the

Despite this, the country's economy suffers from many problems: the last

parliament sitting jointly with a small number of regional delegates. The

decade's average annual growth rate lagged with 1.23% in comparison to the

President serves as a point of connection between the three branches of

EU and the living standards have a considerable north-south divide. Italy

power: he is elected by the lawmakers, he appoints the executive, he is the

has often been referred the sick man of Europe, characterised by economic

president of the judiciary and he is also the commander-in-chief of the

stagnation, political instability and problems in pursuing reform programs.

armed forces.

The economy is weakened by the lack of infrastructure development, market

Italy elects a parliament consisting of two houses, the Chamber of Deputies (630 members) and the Senate of the Republic (315 members) which are elected popularly and directly through a complex electoral system.

reforms and research investment and also high public deficit. Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the national economy: with 43.7 million international tourist arrivals and an estimated total income of $42.7 billion, Italy is the fourth highest tourism earner and the fifth most


visited country in the world. The most popular tourist attractions are the

In 2008, Italy was the seventh-largest economy in the world and the

Colosseum and the ruins at Pompeii.

fourth-largest in Europe. Italy is member of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, the European Union and the OECD.


The country enjoys a very high standard of living and is the world's 18th

Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (44)

most developed country. According to the last data, Italian per capita GDP

and has rich collections of world art, culture and literature from many

remains approximately equal to the EU average. The country also has the

different periods. It has had a broad cultural influence worldwide, also due

world's 4th largest gold reserves and is also well-known for its business

to the fact that numerous Italians emigrated to other countries during the

economic sector, industrious and competitive agricultural sector and for its

Italian diaspora. Italy has, overall, an estimated 100,000 monuments of any

automobile, industrial and fashion design.

sort (museums, palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas, fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains).





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The greatest artists are numerous, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo Da

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Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sandro Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Raphael and Giotto.


The nation contains several architectural monuments, such as the

Poland’s territory extends from the northwest Baltic seacoast. Above the

Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Piazza del Campo, Milan

lowlands, there are hilly districts of moraines and lakes: the Pomeranian Lake

Cathedral, Florence Cathedral, the Palladian Villas of the Veneto, the Basilica di

District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District and the

Santa Maria Maggiore, Villa Olmo and the Pirelli Tower.

Masurian Lake District (the largest of them). South lie the regions of Silesia

The basis of the modern Italian language was established by the

and Masovia as well as the Polish mountain region, the Sudetes, the Cracow-

Florentine poet Dante Alighieri and his Divine Comedy. Celebrated literary

Częstochowa Upland, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains and the Carpathian

figures in Italy include Giovanni Boccaccio, Giacomo Leopardi, Alessandro

Mountains. The highest part of the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains. The

Manzoni, Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto and Petrarch.

longest rivers are the Vistula, the Oder and the Warta. With almost 10 000 lakes

Prominent philosophers include Giordano Bruno, Marsilio Ficino, Niccolò Machiavelli and Giambattista Vico. Italy's most famous composers comprise composers such as Palestrina and Monteverdi, Alessandro Scarlatti, Corelli, Vivaldi, Paganini, Rossini, Verdi,

(covering more than 1 hectare each) Poland has one of the highest number of lakes in the world including Lake Śniardwy and Lake Mamry. The highest peak of Rysy (2,499 metres) lies in the High Tatras. Forests cover 28.8% of Poland’s land area. More than half of the land is devoted to agriculture.

Puccini and Berio. The best-known of the innumerable opera houses is

The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country, oceanic in the

probably La Scala of Milan, among the performers it is the late tenor Luciano

north and west; warmer and continental towards the south and east.


Summers are generally warm, with average temperatures between 20 °C and 27 °C. Winters are cold, with average temperatures around 3 °C in the northwest and −8 °C in the northeast.





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Poland, with 38,116,000 inhabitants, has the eighth-largest population in

Poland is a democracy, with a president as a head of state. The

Europe. The largest minority nationalities and ethnic groups in Poland are

government structure centres on the Council of Ministers, led by a prime

Silesians (about 200,000), Germans (152,897), Belarusians (49,000), and

minister. The president appoints the cabinet according to the proposals of

Ukrainians (30,000). Since Poland's accession to the European Union, a

the prime minister, typically from the majority coalition in the Sejm.

significant number of Poles have emigrated to Western European countries

Polish voters elect a bicameral parliament consisting of a 460-member

such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland in search of work. Some

lower house (Sejm) and a 100-member Senate. When sitting in joint session,

organizations have stated that Polish emigration is primarily caused by

members of the Sejm and Senat form the National Assembly which is formed

Poland's high unemployment rate (10.5% in 2007), with Poles searching for

on three occasions: when a new President takes the oath of office; when an

better work opportunities abroad.

indictment against the President of the Republic is brought to the State

The largest metropolitan areas are the Silesian metropolitan area centred on Katowice and other cities of Upper Silesian Coal Basin (over 5 million inhabitants); the capital, Warsaw (3 million inhabitants), Kraków (1.3 million), Łódź (1.2 million) and the Tricity of Gdańsk–Sopot–Gdynia. Because of the Holocaust and the post-World War II development, Poland has become almost uniformly Roman Catholic. Most Poles (88.4% in

Tribunal and when a president's permanent incapacity to exercise his duties because of the state of his health is declared. The judicial branch plays an important role in decision-making. Its major institutions include the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland, the Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Poland, the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland and the State Tribunal of the Republic of Poland.

2007) are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Religious minorities include Polish Orthodox, various Protestants (about 150,000), Jehovah's Witnesses or Eastern Catholics.





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Poland is considered to have one of the healthiest economies of the post-

Polish culture has been influenced by both Eastern world and Western

communist countries and is currently one of the fastest growing countries

world influences. Today, these influences are evident in Polish architecture,

within the EU.

folklore and art. Poland is the birthplace of some world famous individuals,

The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms have allowed the development of an aggressive private sector. Restructuring and privatisation of "sensitive sectors" such as coal, steel, rail transport and energy has been continuing since 1990. In 2006, GDP growth equaled 6.2%. In 2008, Polish PPS GDP per capita stood at 57% of the EU average.

including Pope John Paul II, Marie Skłodowska Curie, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Kazimierz Pułaski, Józef Piłsudski, Nicolaus Copernicus and Frederick Chopin. Polish painters comprise Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Stanisław Wyspiański or Jan Matejko. Polish literature includes many famous poets and writers such as Jan Kochanowski, Adam Mickiewicz, Bolesław Prus, Juliusz Słowacki, Witold Gombrowicz, Stanisław Lem, Ryszard Kapuściński, Joseph Conrad, Henryk

There are many challenges ahead, the most notable of which is the

Sienkiewicz (won the Nobel Prize), Władysław Reymont (won the Nobel Prize),

preparation of the economy to allow Poland to meet the strict economic

Czesław Miłosz (won the Nobel Prize) or Wisława Szymborska (won the Nobel

criteria for entry into the Eurozone, likely to adopt the euro in 2012 or 2013.


Poland is a part of the global tourism market with constantly increasing

Many world famous Polish movie directors include Academy Awards

number of visitors, particularly after joining the European Union. The most

winners Roman Polański, Andrzej Wajda, Zbigniew Rybczyński, Janusz Kamiński,

popular cities are Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Lublin, Toruń, including

Krzysztof Kieślowski or Agnieszka Holland.

the historic site of the Auschwitz concentration camp near Oświęcim. Poland was the 17th most visited country by foreign tourists in 2008.





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Slovenia's main ethnic group is Slovene (83%) with 5.3% of ethnic groups Geography

from other parts of the former Yugoslavia (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian,

Slovenia is situated in Central Europe touching the Alps and bordering


the Mediterranean. The Alps dominate Northern Slovenia along its long border









Traditionally, the majority of the almost 2 000 000 Slovenes are Roman

43 kilometres from Italy to Croatia. In the southwest, there is the famous

Catholic (57.8%) but like elsewhere in Europe the Roman Catholicism

Slovenia's Kras Plateau, a limestone region of underground rivers, gorges and

affiliation in Slovenia is dropping more than 1 % annually.







caves, between Ljubljana and the Mediterranean. On the Pannonian plain to the East and Northeast, toward the Croatian and Hungarian borders, the


landscape is flat. However, the majority of Slovenian terrain is hilly or

The Slovenian head of state is the president, who is elected by popular

mountainous, with around 90% of the surface 200 m or more above sea level.

vote every five years. The executive branch is headed by the prime minister

Four major European geographic regions meet in Slovenia: the Alps, the

and the council of ministers or cabinet, who are elected by the National

Dinarides, the Pannonian Plain and the Mediterranean. Slovenia's highest peak is

Assembly. The bicameral Parliament of Slovenia is characterised by an

Triglav (2,864 m). The geographical centre of Slovenia lies in the municipality

asymmetric duality, as the Constitution does not accord equal powers to both

of Litija. Slovenia's coastline measures 47 kilometres. Around half of the

chambers. The bulk of the power is concentrated in the National Assembly (90

country is covered by forests, there is grassland, orchards and vineyards.

members) while the National Council only has a very limited advisory and

The climate is continental in the northeast, a severe Alpine climate in the

control powers. Elections take place every four years. It is the supreme

high mountain regions and a sub-Mediterranean climate in the coastal

representative and legislative institution, exercising legislative and electoral


powers as well as control over the Executive and the Judiciary. The National Council (40 members) has the authority of the "postponing veto".





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Slovenia has a high-income developed economy which enjoys the

Some of Slovenia's greatest authors were the poets France Prešeren, Oton

highest GDP per capita of the new member states in the European Union, 91%

Župančič, Srečko Kosovel, Edvard Kocbek, Dane Zajc and Ivan Cankar. Boris

of the EU average. Slovenia today is a developed country that enjoys

Pahor, Evald Flisar, Drago Jančar, Alojz Rebula, Tomaž Šalamun and Aleš

prosperity and stability. It benefits from a well-educated and productive

Debeljak are some of the leading names of contemporary Slovene literature.

work force and its political and economic institutions are vigorous and effective.

The most important Slovene painters include Jurij Šubic and Anton Ažbe, Ivana Kobilca, Rihard Jakopič, Ivan Grohar and Avgust Černigoj, Lojze Spacal,

Slovenia's trade is oriented towards other EU countries, mainly

Anton Gojmir Kos, Riko Debenjak, Marij Pregelj, Gabrijel Stupica and Janez

Germany, Austria, Italy and France. The economy is highly dependent on

Bernik. Contemporary artists are Emerik Bernard, Metka Krašovec, Ivo Prančič,

foreign trade which equals about 120 % of GDP.

Gustav Gnamuš, group IRWIN, Marko Peljhan and Zoran Mušič.

Industry and construction comprise over one-third of GDP whereas

Slovenia is a homeland of numerous musicians and composers,

services make up an increasing share of output (57.1%), notably in financial

including Jacobus Gallus, Giuseppe Tartini, Bojan Adamič and Ivo Petrić.

services. A big portion of the economy remains in state hands. Taxes are

Contemporary popular musicians have been Slavko Avsenik, Laibach, Vlado

relatively high, the labor market is seen by business interests as being

Kreslin, Pero Lovšin, Pankrti, Zoran Predin, Lačni Franz, New Swing Quartet, DJ

inflexible and industries are losing sales to China, India and elsewhere.

Umek, Valentino Kanzyani, Siddharta, Big Foot Mama, Terrafolk, Katalena,

Slovenia is the economic front-runner of the countries that joined the European Union in 2004, was the first new member which adopted the euro on 1 January 2007 and held the presidency of the EU.

Magnifico and others. Famous Slovene scholars include the chemist and Nobel prize laureate Friderik - Fritz Pregl, physicist Joseph Stefan, psychologist and anthropologist Anton Trstenjak, philosophers Slavoj Žižek and Milan Komar, linguist Franc Miklošič, mathematician Jurij Vega, sociologist Thomas Luckmann, theologian Anton Strle and rocket engineer Herman Potočnik.





Country Portraits

United Kingdom

Country Portraits

metres, the highest point in the British Isles) to the north and west and the lowlands to the south and east. Lowland areas, especially the narrow land


between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth (the Central Belt) are flatter and

The United Kingdom has approximately 243,610 square kilometres

home to most of the population including Glasgow and Edinburgh, the

including the island of Great Britain, the part of Ireland (Northern Ireland)


and smaller islands. It lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North

Wales covers less than a tenth of the area, is mostly mountainous with the

Sea within 35 kilometres of France (separated by the English Channel). The

main population and industrial areas are in South Wales (Cardiff, Swansea

Royal Greenwich Observatory, in London, is the defining point of the Prime

and Newport and the South Wales Valleys). The highest mountains are in

Meridian. When measured directly north-south, Great Britain is a little over

Snowdonia (Snowdon, 1,085 m, the highest peak in Wales). The 14 Welsh

1,100 kilometres in length and is a fraction under 500 kilometres at its

mountains over 3,000 feet are known as the Welsh 3000s. Wales has over

widest. Northern Ireland shares a 360-kilometre land boundary with the

1,200 kilometres of coastline and several islands (with Anglesey, the largest).

Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland covers just 14,160 square kilometres and is mostly hilly.

England accounts for just over half of the total area of the UK. Most of the

Lough Neagh, at 388 square kilometres, is the largest body of water in the UK.

country consists of lowland terrain, with mountainous terrain north-west

The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all

including the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District, the Pennines and

year round. The temperature seldom drops below −10 °C or rises above

limestone hills of the Peak District, Exmoor and Dartmoor. The main rivers are

35 °C. The prevailing wind is from the southwest, bearing mild and wet

the Thames, Severn and the Humber.

weather from the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf

Scotland covers a third of the total area, including nearly eight hundred

Stream, bring mild winters. Summers are warmest in the south east of

islands, notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. Scotland is

England, being closest to the European mainland and coolest in the north.

distinguished by the Highland Boundary Fault which separates two

Snowfall can occur in winter and early spring, though it rarely settles to

distinctively different regions; namely the Highlands (with Ben Nevis, 1,343

great depth away from high ground.





Country Portraits


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The position of Prime Minister, the UK's head of government, belongs to

The capitals of the individual countries of the UK are: Belfast (Northern

the Member of Parliament, usually the current leader of the largest political

Ireland), Cardiff (Wales), Edinburgh (Scotland) and London (England); the

party in that chamber. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are formally

latter is also the capital of the UK as a whole.

appointed by the Monarch to form Her Majesty's Government, though the

In 2001, the total population of the United Kingdom was 58,789,194, the third largest in the European Union. Published in 2008, the mid-2007 population estimates revealed that, for the first time, the UK was home to more people of pensionable age than children under the age of 16. The Treaty of Union ensured that there would be a Protestant succession as well as a link between church and state that still remains. Christianity is

Prime Minister chooses the Cabinet and by convention HM The Queen respects the Prime Minister's choices. The UK's three major political parties are the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, who won at the 2010 general election. For elections to the European Parliament, the UK currently has 72 MEPs, elected in 12 multi-member constituencies.

the largest religion, followed by Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and then Judaism. In 2001, 71.6% of respondents said that Christianity was their



Based on market exchange rates, the UK is today the sixth largest economy in the world and the third largest in Europe after Germany and


France. The Industrial Revolution started in the UK with an initial

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy: Queen Elizabeth II is

concentration on heavy industries such as shipbuilding, coal mining, steel

head of state of the UK as well as of fifteen other Commonwealth countries.

production and textiles. The empire created an overseas market for British

The UK has an uncodified constitution. The UK has a parliamentary

products, allowing the UK to dominate international trade in the 19th

government based on the Westminster system—a legacy of the British

century. However, it began to lose its competitive advantage and declined in

Empire. The Parliament of the United Kingdom has two houses: an elected

the 20th century. Manufacturing remains a significant part of the economy

House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords.

but accounted for only one-sixth of national output in 2003.





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The UK service sector, has grown substantially and now makes up about

Notable composers of classical music from the United include William

73% of GDP. The service sector is dominated by financial services, especially

Byrd, Henry Purcell, Sir Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Ralph

in banking and insurance. London is the world's largest financial centre with

Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten. The UK is also home to world-

the London Stock Exchange, the London International Financial Futures and

renowned symphonic orchestras and choruses such as the BBC Symphony

Options Exchange and the Lloyd's of London insurance market all based in the

Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus. Prominent British contributors

City of London.

have influenced popular music over the last 50 years: the Beatles, Queen, Cliff

Tourism is very important to the British economy. With over 27 million tourists arriving in 2004, the UK is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world. London is the most visited city in the world with 15.6 million visitors in 2006.

Richard, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones, all of whom have world wide record sales of 200 million or more. The most famous philosophers are John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume, Dugald Stewart, Thomas Reid and William Hamilton, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, Duns Scotus, John Lilburne, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sir Francis


Bacon, Adam Smith, Thomas Hobbes, William of Ockham, Bertrand Russell and

The English playwright and poet William Shakespeare is widely regarded

Alfred Jules Ayer.

as the greatest dramatist of all time. Among the English writers are Geoffrey

The Royal Academy is located in London. Major British artists include Sir

Chaucer, Thomas Malory, Sir Thomas More and John Milton, Samuel Richardson,

Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, William Blake, J. M. W.

Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Lewis Carroll, the BrontĂŤ sisters, Charles Dickens,

Turner, William Morris, L. S. Lowry, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, David

Thomas Hardy, William Blake and William Wordsworth, H. G. Wells, Rudyard

Hockney, Gilbert and George, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, Howard Hodgkin,

Kipling, A. A. Milne, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Graham

Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor.

Greene, Agatha Christie, J. K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns. Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, is UNESCO's first worldwide City of Literature. 37




Country Portraits

Epilogue … The international project was meant to be creative since its very

Country Portraits

Sources: Information:

beginning. This is why each participant should think of his/her own epilogue themselves and remember their experiences gained within the duration of the project…



The Intercultural Dialogue through Music participants.


Intercultural Dialogue through Music Country Portraits Brochure