Titovo Velenje (1981–1990)
|Šmartno pri Velenju to the southwest|
|• Mayor||Bojan Kontič (SD)|
|• Total||12.6 km2 (4.9 sq mi)|
|Elevation||396 m (1,299 ft)|
|• Density||2,021/km2 (5,230/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+01)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+02)|
|Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2011.|
Velenje (German: Wöllan) ( pronunciation (help·info)) is the fifth-largest city in Slovenia. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Velenje. It is located on the Paka River in the eastern part of the Šalek Valley in northern Slovenia. After World War II, it rapidly advanced and developed into a modern city.
Velenje was first attested in written sources in 1264 as Weln (and as Welan in 1270, and Belen and Welen in 1296). The name derives from *Velen′e selo 'Velenъ's village'. A less likely hypothesis derives the name from the Slovene common noun velen(je) 'pasture for livestock'. The name of the town was changed to Titovo Velenje (literally, 'Tito's Velenje') in 1981 in honor of the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito. The name Velenje was restored in 1990.
Velenje Castle is located on a hill west of the town. Old Velenje (Slovene: Staro Velenje), the downtown at the foot of the castle, was first mentioned in written documents dating to 1264 and 1374 as a small market town and was a center of handicraft and trade. The lignite mining industry in the area contributed to the expansion of the town, especially before World War II. The modern city of Velenje was planned and built in the 1950s, in the time of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. In 1960, the manufacturer of household appliances Gorenje moved its headquarters to the town from the nearby village of Gorenje.
Velenje is the site of a mass grave from the period immediately after the Second World War. The Koželj Mass Grave (Slovene: Grobišče Koželj) is located in the Goll Woods (Gollova hosta) below Big Koželj Hill (Veliki Koželj) beside a tributary of Trubušnica Creek. It contains the remains of a truckload of Slovene civilian prisoners, including many Velenje natives, that were transported from the prisons in Celje and murdered on 15 June 1945.
The central square in Velenje is named Tito Square. It was officially opened on 20 September 1959 and features the tallest statue (about 10 m or 33 ft) of Tito in the world. It was designed by Antun Augustinčič and Vladimir Herljević. The square was the meeting point of Soviet communist leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev as well as of Polish and Romanian communist leaders Edward Gierek and Nicolae Ceaușescu.
In the northwestern part of the square is located the Velenje Hall of Culture, built in 1959 according to plans of Oton Gaspari. Its façade was decorated with a relief by Stojan Batič and the interior by Riko Debenjak. It was opened in November 1960. In the 1990s, the hall was the centre of subcultures in Velenje. Now it hosts the public institute Velenje Festival, which organises diverse cultural activities, among them the most popular event in Velenje and the largest children's festival in Slovenia, the Pippi Festival (Slovene: Pikin festival), named after Pippi Longstocking, which started in 1990. The hall also houses a puppet theatre and a dance theatre.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Velenje is twinned with:
The town is the birthplace of Jolanda Čeplak, a Slovenian middle distance athlete and Olympic bronze medalist. It is also the hometown of the Slovenian tennis player Katarina Srebotnik. The handball club RK Gorenje Velenje and football club NK Rudar Velenje are also based in the town.
Velenje holds the only adventure race in Slovenia. The 400 kilometres (250 mi) long adventure race, called Adventure Race Slovenia, is known across Europe and is held every weekend in June. It was first held in 2003 by the Lake Dragon Scout Group.
- "Data on the selected settlement: Velenje (Municipality of Velenje)". Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Snoj, Marko. 2009. Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan and Založba ZRC, pp. 450–451.
- Spremembe naselij 1948–95. 1996. Database. Ljubljana: Geografski inštitut ZRC SAZU, DZS.
- "Izbrano naselje: Velenje (občina Velenje)". Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Koželj Mass Grave on Geopedia (Slovene)
- Bartulovič, Alenka. "Spomenik Josipu Brozu Titu v Velenju" [The Monument to Josip Broz Tito in Velenje]. In Šmid Hribar, Mateja; Golež, Gregor; Podjed, Dan; Kladnik, Drago; Erhartič, Bojan; Pavlin, Primož; Ines, Jerele. Enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediščine na Slovenskem – DEDI [Encyclopedia of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Slovenia] (in Slovene). Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- Trampuš, Jure (7 January 2003). "Bronasti velikan" [The Bronze Giant]. Mladina.si (in Slovene) (Mladina, časopisno podjetje, d. d.). ISSN 1580-5352.
- Bartulovič, Alenka. "Dom kulture – Velenje" [The Hall of Culture – Velenje]. In Šmid Hribar, Mateja; Golež, Gregor; Podjed, Dan; Kladnik, Drago; Erhartič, Bojan; Pavlin, Primož; Ines, Jerele. Enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediščine na Slovenskem – DEDI [Encyclopedia of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Slovenia] (in Slovene). Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- Slovenian Ministry of Culture register of national heritage reference number ešd 3426
- "Neath Port Talbot Twin Towns". Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
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