The truncated province of Koroška is essentially just three valleys bounded by the Pohorje Massif on the east; the last of the Karavanke peaks, Mt Peca, on the west; and the hills of Kobansko to the north. The Drava Valley runs east to west and includes the towns of Dravograd, Muta and Vuzenica. The Mežica and Mislinja valleys fan out from the Drava; the former is an industrial area with such towns as Ravne, Prevalje and Črna na Koroškem, while the latter’s main centre is Slovenj Gradec.
There is a reason Koroška is so small. In the plebiscite ordered by the victorious allies after WWI, Slovenes living on the other side of the Karavanke, the 120-km-long rock wall that separates Slovenia from Austria, voted to put their economic future in the hands of Vienna while the mining region of the Mežica Valley went to Slovenia. As a result, the Slovenian nation lost 90,000 of its nationals (7% of the population at the time) as well as the cities of Klagenfurt (Celovec) and Villach (Beljak) to Austria.
Understandably, the results of that vote have never sat very well with the Slovenes on the southern side of the mountains. Still, Koroška holds a special place in the hearts and minds of most Slovenes. The Duchy of Carantania (Karantanija), the first Slavic state dating back to the 7th century, was centred here, and the word ‘Carinthia’ is derived from that name.