Zreče ([ˈzɾeːtʃɛ]) is a town and a municipality in northeast Slovenia. It lies on the slopes of Pohorje in the upper valley of the Dravinja River. Traditionally the area was part of the Styria region. The municipality is now included in the Savinja Statistical Region. In 2002 it had a population of 6,245, growing to 6,443 according to the 2008 census. Zreče became a single settlement in 1987 when the villages of Zgornje Zreče, Spodnje Zreče, and Nova Dobrava (known as Dobrava until 1953) were united. The economy is centred on tourism, especially in the winter months with the ski resort at Rogla. A proportion of the population is also employed in agriculture.
Zreče is located 100 kilometres (62 miles) northeast of Ljubljana, 42 km (26 mi) from Maribor, 25 km (16 mi) from Celje and 4 km (2 mi) from Slovenske Konjice. The municipality covers an area of 67 square kilometres (26 square miles) at the foothills of the Pohorje range between 360 and 1517 metres above sea level. The central part of the municipality is highly segmented with much of the northern part with hills with an altitude of over 1,000 metres (3,281 feet) above sea level and a continental climate.
Archaeological evidence from the area has pointed to Neolithic settlement of the area. The earliest written sources date to the end of the 10th century when the area was divided into a number of ecclesiastical and secular domains.
The parish church in the settlement is dedicated to Saint Giles (Slovene: Sveti Egidij) and belongs to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Maribor. It dates to the 14th century with 18th and 19th century side chapels. Two churches on Mount Juniper (Brinjeva Gora) to the east of the settlement belong to the same parish. They are dedicated to Saint Agnes (Slovene: Sveta Neža), built between 1726 and 1732, and to the Virgin Mary, built in 1769.
The Rogla ski and health resort has become increasingly important to the local economy through tourism, which employs around half of the population. There are many hotels, self-catering units, holiday houses, and villas in the area and gymnasiums, health clinics, saunas, and massage parlors. The Rogla resort is most active from the beginning of December through mid March and has 13 slopes for skiers of all abilities.
Tourism at Zreče Pohorje (Slovene: Zreško Pohorje) began to develop before the Second World War. The first observation tower on Rogla was built in 1934. Many of the tourist facilities were destroyed during the war. The Koča Lodge on Rogla was rebuilt in 1956. It was managed by the Zreče mountaineering society until 1972, when it was taken over and renovated by Unior, a local company that produces hand tools. The company has become one of the biggest companies on its field in Europe and its management has had a continued interest in the development of all of Zreče and the Rogla area. In 1974 Unior's management commissioned studies for the development of Rogla as a ski resort. The road leading to the peak was also widened. The first ski lifts handling up to 900 skiers per hour were built.
The idea was to develop Rogla together with other tourist centres on Pohorje to offer a complete package with skiing, the spa resort at Zreče and agrotourism in the area. Thus in 1978 construction began on Hotel Dobrava in Zreče and of Hotel Planja on Rogla. Hotel Planja opened in 1980 with new ski lifts. In 1981 hotel Dobrava with 70 beds, a swimming pool and a new athletics-football stadium was completed. In 1981 the Dobrava Hotel with 70 beds, a swimming pool, and a new athletics-football stadium was completed. By the 1990s Rogla had a capacity of over 1,200 beds and ski lifts handling 12,200 skiers per hour. A new Dobrava Hotel with 160 new beds was opened in 2000 and between 2002 and 2004 four new chairlifts were constructed and artificial snow systems extended, making Rogla one of the ski centres in Slovenia with the best snow conditions and the longest ski season.
In 2005, the town was twinned with Sedbergh in Cumbria, UK. The efforts of Sedbergh to find a twin town were featured in a BBC documentary, The Town That Wants A Twin and Zreče was the winning town.
Bezovje nad Zrečami, Boharina, Bukovlje, Čretvež, Črešnova, Dobrovlje, Gorenje pri Zrečah, Gornja vas, Gračič, Koroška vas na Pohorju, Križevec, Lipa, Loška Gora pri Zrečah, Mala Gora, Osredek pri Zrečah, Padeški Vrh, Planina na Pohorju, Polajna, Radana vas, Resnik, Rogla, Skomarje, Spodnje Stranice, Stranice, Zabork, Zlakova, Zreče
The current mayor is Boris Podvršnik. The mayor leads the municipal council and oversees the implementation of its decision. He is responsible for implementing the county policy and supervises the work of the municipal administration, public services, institutions and funds. The distinctive yellow and green coat of arms and flag of Zreče were adopted in September 1995. It is yellow, vertically divided with a green heart with two wavy lines at the bottom of it.Jurij Vodovnik (1791–1858), poet
Marijan Osole (1924-2015) general manager of Unior (1968–1992), the founding father of the town of Zreče in its present form