Croatia (Hrvatska), and its neighbours are part of the Central European Balkans which has been at the heart of much of Europe’s turbulent history right up to the present day.
Croatia was colonised in ancient times by the Illyrians, Greeks and Romans, followed by the Celts, Croats (of course!), Venetians, Italians, Ottomans, Hungarians and Austrians, all of whom have left their mark (some of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture can be found in Croatia). From this melting pot of civilisations has developed a country with a character all its own. More recently it has been at the forefront of the reshaping of regional politics after the fall of communism and joined the EU in 2013.
Croatia can also be divided into geographical areas; continental, mountainous and coastal. These largely determine the climate, which can vary quite considerably across the country with generally hot summers and cold winters. Northern Croatia has a continental climate, Central Croatia has a semi-highland climate whilst the Adriatic coast has a Mediterranean climate.
Whilst most Croatia holiday makers will be heading for the coast or visiting some of the 1,185 islands in the Adriatic for sea, sunshine and beaches, school groups will be exploring its inland attractions. Croatia has, for instance, 8 National parks brimming with fauna and flora, forests, cascading waterfalls, rivers and deep blue lakes. Over 600 bears roam wild in the mountain forests and wild sheep, mountain goats, wild cats, wolves and an abundance of lynx live happily here. Of course, there are the various geological phenomena too - mountains, valleys, canyons, sinkholes, ravines, springs, gorges and caves; some unexplored. Finally there are the warm and friendly Croatians themselves waiting to make your visit a memorable and enjoyable one.
Did you know?
- Dubrovnik (an independent state at the time) was the first state to formally recognize the United States as a nation when it declared independence from Great Britain.
- The White House was built of Croatian stone, from the island of Brac; the same stone used to build Diocletian’s Palace in Split.
- The largest truffle ever found was discovered by Giancarlo Zigante in Croatia on November 2,1999. It was 7.8 inches long, 4.1 inches wide, and 5.3 inches tall.
- Croatia’s currency, the Kuna, is named after a small mammal (Marten).
- Dalmatian dogs originated in Dalmatia.
- The necktie (cravat) originated in Croatia after which it is named
- That Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the father of alternative current electricity and technology of wireless communications, after which the unit for magnetic induction is named, was born in Croatia. He refused to receive the Nobel prize he had to share with T. A. Edison.
- Croatian young people can vote at the age of 16 if they have a job but must wait until 18 if they are unemployed.
- That Marco Polo (1254-1324), adventurer, merchant and explorer came from Korcula in Croatia. His book "The Travels of Marco Polo" was the world's first travel book.