Why Choose Croatia?
Croatia is known as a land of rich history, a land of beautiful indented coastline with lots of beaches and breathtaking bays, full of islands, full of natural beauty, full of significant historical events recorded by architecture and art many of which are under UNESCO protection. Also, Croatia is a country of possibilities, full of adventure options like paragliding, zipline, surfing, hiking, biking and walking trails which lead you through little heavens on earth. After exploring all the beauties that Croatia offers, we will host you in taverns, restaurants and family pastry shops where you can freshen up with a cuisine that is rich in tastes, smells and colors, to overcome the thirst with top quality wines, natural juices from organic fruits grown in a traditional way, sweets made with love and by traditional recipes or well-known Croatian brandy.
General information about Croatia
Croatia is geographically located in the northern part of the Mediterranean and in the southern part of Central Europe, and geopolitically it is a part of central Europe. Croatia has 56,578 km² of land and 31,067 km² of the coastline, which in the context of Europe is classified as a medium-sized state, and in the context of the world it is a small country. According to the latest census of 2011, Croatia numbered 4 298 889 inhabitants, or 75.8 inhabitants per square kilometer. Croatia has land borders with Slovenia and Hungary in the north, in the east with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the south is bordered by Montenegro and the western, maritime border is with Italy. The official language in Croatia is Croatian, but the population of Croatia is mostly well spoken in English and another foreign language – mostly German or Italian. The capital of Croatia is the city of Zagreb. Zagreb is the political, economic and cultural center of the state.
Croatia is divided into regions, so the climate in it varies due to the geographical position of the region. In the continental part of Croatia, the climate is continental. In mountain area the climate is Alpine. In the coastal and hinterland coastal part the climate is submediterranean. Average temperatures in the continental Croatia are 0-2 degrees Celsius during the winter and 19-23 degrees Celsius during the summer. In coastal part of the Croatia, the average temperature during the winter is 6-11 degrees Celsius and in summer 21 to 27 degrees Celsius. The Adriatic coast counts an average of 2600 sunny hours per year, making it one of the sunniest in the Mediterranean. The average sea temperature in summer is 25-27 degrees Celsius.
History of Croatia
Croatia is a land of rich history that dates back to the Stone Age. In the area of Pula, in the Šandalja cave, objects were shaped by the hand of man who dates from the Stone Age. The most important site from the prehistoric times is the site near Krapina. In 1899, Dragutin Gorjanović Kramberger discovered the site of a Neanderthal man and tools used by a Neanderthal man. In the Paleolithic, people in Croatia lived in fertile hillsides of numerous rivers and along the Adriatic Sea. We can divide the culture of the sites of the late Stone Age into the area where they were found, and they are 4:
-Starčevačka culture that inhabited the north of Croatia, and the inhabitants were engaged in farming and cattle breeding and ceramics.
-Sopot culture has inhabited the space of today’s Slavonia
-Danil culture that inhabited the Adriatic coast
-Hvar culture that inhabited the southern Dalmatian islands
There are written records and archaeological remains in Croatia that prove the existence of ancient civilizations on its territory. These were the Greeks, then the Illyrian tribes, and in the end of this era, the Romans.
The Greeks began their colonization in their colonies on the eastern Adriatic coast in the 6th century BC. The first known place that had fallen under Greeks was Korkira Melajna, which is located on the island of Korčula. On the island of Vis, Dionysius Elder founded the colony of Issus. They founded the town of Far, which is today Stari Grad on Hvar, and their main colonies were Tragurij (today’s Trogir) and Epetia (today’s Stobreč).
Illyrian peoples were pirates who often engaged into conflicts with the Romans. The Romans demanded from queen Teuta to ban piracy, and by her declining then the three Illyrian wars began. The Illyrian wars were completed in 167 BC and the Illyrian kingdom was divided into three areas controlled by the Romans. The Romans conquered the Illyric kingdom only at the beginning of the first century AD. The borders on the Danube are established, and the kingdom is divided into Pannonia and Dalmatia. Due to its natural resources and geographic position, Panonia and Dalmatia became the major provinces of the Roman Empire. In Dalmatia there were colonies of Salona (today Solin), which was the economic center, Narona (Metković), a port center, and of the major colonies in the north was Pula (Pula). The most important colonies in Pannonia were Siscia (Sisak) and Sirmija (Srijemska Mitrovica). The most famous monuments of the Roman Empire in Croatia are the Pulski amphitheater and the palace of Emperor Diocletian, which is today in Split.
Croatian history in the Middle and New Age
In the Middle Ages, many rulers and cultures ruled Croatia. Beginning with the arrival of Croats in the 7th century Croatian tribes waged war with numerous peoples – the Byzantine Empire, the Mongols, the German tribes, the Venetians and the Ottomans. The first mention of the Croatian name in political terms was the mention of Prince Trpimir from 852, the first king of Croatia was King Tomislav, who. by the war against Ugars, has united the continental and coastal Croatia for the first time in the approximate boundaries we know it today. The first document written on The Croatian language is the Bašćanska ploča dating back to 1025. Because of the frequent wars and the authorities of various cultures, Croatia has recorded cultural, economic and political development under the influence of those. So today in Croatia we can find features in architecture and art influenced by the Ottomans, the Habsburgs and the Venetians. In that period, Croatia was in the continental part under the rule of the Ottomans and the Habsburg Monarchy, and in the seaside under the rule of Venice. The 19th century was the time of Croatian National Revival, whose goal was the unification of Croatia. At the time of revival one of the most significant events was the abolition of the patronage of 1848. In these years, the most significant was Josip Jelačić, who had the most influence on the unification of Croatia, which finally took place after the dissolution of Austro-Hungary.
New History of Croatia
After World War I and the Austro-Hungarian disintegration, Croatia entered the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which later became Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
During the World War II , part of the territory of today’s Republic of Croatia was within the borders of the Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945). In that period, Istria, Zadar, Cres, Lošinj, Lastovo and Rijeka were part of the kingdom of Italy. After the capitulation of Italy, NDH(Independent State of Croatia), with the permission of Germany, had greater autonomy in these areas.
After the World War II, the strong Partisan movement and national power in the liberated areas with its own forces led to the unification of Croatia with the new, socialist Yugoslavia. In Yugoslavia, the demands of the abolition of federal government, the strengthening of the market economy, and the unitarist and centralist tendencies in Yugoslavia have started being strongly criticized. Many years of neglect have grown into a national movement with a center in the Croatian “Matica”. The movement was expanded until the spring of 1971. It is therefore called the Croatian Spring. With the spread of the movement, reproach in other Yugoslav republics grew, so Josip Broz Tito abolished the Croatian political top. In 1980, Tito was dying, and this was the disappearance of the charisma and authority that ensured the safe operation of a highly-structured system within Yugoslavia, which later resulted in the collapse of Yugoslavia and the Homeland War in which Croatia established the borders under which we know it today.
Regions in Croatia
Croatia is divided into regions: Slavonia, Central Croatia, the City of Zagreb, Croatia, Istria, Kvarner, Northern Dalmatia, Central Dalmatia and Southern Dalmatia. Each of the regions has its specifics in culture, history, gastronomy and tourism. Each of the regions is worth exploring and enjoying in it.
Slavonia is an area of endless fields, beautiful forests, myths and secrets that the Slavonian people proudly convey to the younger generations. The tradition of harvest, local folklore folk music, dances, costumes is what the people of Slavonia are proud of. Slavonians are extraordinary hosts. Smiling, always ready to socialize while enjoying savory local specialties like kulen, angry sausages and fish stew and a carefully selected glass of many fine Slavonian wines. Slavonia is rich in natural beauties such as Kopački Rit, Papuk, Kutjevo, cultural monuments such as Osjek Castle- Tvrđa, Odescalchi Castle in Kutjevo, Vučedol archeological site, the ethnic village Karanac, the horse farm in Đakovo and a multitude of walking and cycling paths reveal the hidden beauty of the plains of Slavonia.
Located north and northwest of Zagreb, this region is hiding its secrets such as the medieval towns of Varazdin, Čakovec, Sisak, Samobor, Daruvar, natural beauties such as mountains, forests, lakes and rivers, gastronomic specialties such as Samobor’s “Kremšnita” cake and Zagorje”štrukli”. The relaxed, companionable and hospitable inhabitants of this region will treat you like one of them and show you all the beauty that this region hides. The lovers of history will enjoy the Trakošćan Castle and Veliki Tabor, the lovers of wellness can indulge in Krapinske, Varaždin and Daruvarske Toplice to revitalize and provide an escape from everyday life. And for adrenaline lovers, there are mountains Kalnik and Medvednica and the rivers of this area that will astonish you with many opportunities for adrenaline sports.
Rivers, mountains, spectacular forests, lakes, river gorges, caves and the largest number of national parks and nature parks are what mark this region. The 16 beautiful Plitvice Lakes, which are a special sight in every season, are the oldest national park in Europe. Unspoiled nature, bears, 157 bird species, breathtaking walking paths create fantastic memories for every nature lover. Velebit, host of all mountaineers and adrenaline lovers, abounds in endemic plant species, many hiking and cycling trails that lead along the roads where you will often encounter animals such as rabbits, roe deer and weasels. In Smiljan is the birthplace of genius Nikola Tesla who has invented electricity and allowed us to write this and your reading and discovering are another reason why to visit this region. By walking through the streets of small towns like Ozalj, Ogulin, Rastoke and Lun, you will discover the secrets, traditions and the beauty Lika hides behind the harsh climate.
Istria is a mix of the many worlds you have to visit to know what we are writing about. The developed coastline, surrounded by crystal clear Adriatic, hides the Mediterranean towns with narrow, rocky alleys that provide a true Mediterranean atmosphere. The developed continental part of Istria abounds in greenery, fertile lands and architecture resembling the Italian Provence and Tuscany. In the north, you can visit the Umag ATP tournament, the Brijuni National Park which is known for its natural beauties and specific species of animals such as zebras and elephants. We recommend to visit continental Istrian towns Grožnjan, Motovun or Hum and feel Provence in Croatian way. Start exploring from continental cities, then descend to Rovinj and swim in one of the countless bays that this little town is hiding. Istrian take pride in their local cuisine and wines. Try Istrian ombolo, pasta with Istrian truffles and one of many quality wines.
Kvarner is a region that has been cultivating a long-standing tourist tradition for over 150 years. A landscape that changes as you travel through Kvarner – a coast that abounds in numerous cities, such as Rijeka, Opatija, Crikvenica, small towns and villages that nurture long-standing traditions, the islands of Krk, Cres, Lošinj and Rab, each separately tells some ancient stories. While visiting Kvarner, you can reach Gorski Kotar, part which is called the “lung of Croatia” because of the forests that are buzzing with fresh, beneficial air and many forest biking trails – that’s why many people choose Kvarner for their holidays. While here, visit Krk and see the first document written in Croatian language – Bašćanska ploča, visit Cres which is a home to protected animal species -Griffon vulture, or Rab – the island with the most sandy beaches on the Adriatic. Visit the first Croatian tourist destination in Opatija or the Bijele and Samarske rocks, or Učka to enjoy adrenaline sports.
The intense blue sea, pine forests and olive trees, and the dazzling whiteness of Dalmatian stone – are what makes the region of northern Dalmatia unique in the world. Here you can enjoy the unique sound of sea organs in Zadar, enter the smallest cathedral in the world in Nin, visit the largest Roman forum on the Adriatic coast. If you go to the southern part of northern Dalmatia, you can visit the national parks of Krk and Kornati, which with their natural beauties like the steep hills of the Krka River and the crystal clear sea that surrounds the Kornati create great memories for their visitors. The islands Prvić and Zlarin nurture the tradition of production and eco-farming, and thus attract visitors for many years. The beaches of Primošten, Murter and the beaches on the Kornati are the small heavens where you can find peace, revitalize and rest. Cities such as Šibenik and Skradin are medieval jewels packed with historical sights, restaurants where food is made from local foods and according to traditional recipes of this region.
Southern Dalmatia is a region that is a blend of old and modern architecture and culture, surrounded by a stunningly clean, blue Adriatic. Cities like Split and Dubrovnik are known in the world because of their history that dates back to the ancient times of the Greeks and Romans. Walk through the Diocletian’s palace and discover the ancient secrets that this palace hides. In Dubrovnik, take a walk through the old city, which is an eternal inspiration for many artists, and the walls and the surroundings became the center of many Hollywood movies and series. Islands like Hvar, Vis, Brač, Korčula, Lopud, Šipan and Koločep provide a break from everyday life in every way. You will taste traditional Dalmatian cuisine like fresh fish on “gradele”, locally grown olives and plenty of quality wines that differ from the place they were made.