Did you know that the names of 2 Croatian scientists -Ruđer Josip Bošković and Andrija Mohorovčić are on the map of the Moon?
You may find more interesting facts about our beautiful country below!
The Republic of Croatia is situated in South East Europe, at the crossroads between Central Europe and the Mediterranean, stretching over 56,594 square kilometers, with a coastal sea area of 31,067 square kilometers. Croatia borders with five countries on a 2,197 kilometers long land border: Slovenia in the west, Hungary in the north, Serbia in the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro in the south. Croatia also shares sea borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Slovenia, and Montenegro. The Croatian Adriatic coastline is one of the most indented coastlines in Europe, next to the Norwegian fjords. 1,244 islands and islets spread over the 6,278 kilometers (1, 800 km of mainland and 4,398 km of islands) long coastline, with only 47 of them (6%) being inhabited.
The capital of Croatia is the City of Zagreb, with a population of 790,017 (2011 census) citizens. It is also the political, economic, administrative, cultural, and educational center of Croatia. Other larger cities include Split (population of 178,102 citizens), Rijeka (population of 128,624 citizens), and Osijek (population of 108,048 citizens). Other well-known towns include Dubrovnik, Rovinj, Pula, Opatija, Zadar, Šibenik, Varaždin, ect.
The official language is Croatian, written in the Latin script.
The local terrain is quite diverse, given the size of the country. The territory includes extensive plains in the continental region between the River Drava and River Sava (Slavonia), mountainous areas in the center (Lika and Gorski Kotar), and a long indented, sunny coastline with over a thousand islands in the west and south (Istria and Dalmatia).
In terms of natural water resources, Croatia is the third richest country in Europe, and boasts a particularly well-preserved ecological environment, with hundreds of endemic plant and animal species. Almost 10% of the country is protected within 11 nature parks, 8 national parks, and two strict nature reserves. The oldest national park was established in 1949 (Plitvice Lakes) and the most recent one in 1999 (Northern Velebit).
The country's natural resources include oil and gas, calcium, limited amounts of coal (found in north-western Croatia), bauxite (found in Dalmatia and Istria), asphalt, and salt.
Croatia has the sunniest coast on the Adriatic (one of the sunniest in the world), and has three climate zones:
- the prevailing climate in the country’s interior is continental and moderately rainy;
- on the highest peaks, a mountain climate with snowfalls throughout winter;
- the areas along the Adriatic coast have a pleasantly mild Mediterranean climate with a large number of sunny days; summers are dry and hot, winters mild and wet with significant precipitations.
Source: Croatian Tourist Board
The area today known as Croatia, in recorded history was inhabited by tribes of the Liburnians and the Illyrians in the early times. Since the 4th century BC, the area was colonized by the Celts in the north, along the coast by the Greeks, and later by the Romans. The Greeks founded the first towns and the Romans developed them further. There are still many Roman monuments left, such as the Arena (Amphitheater) in the city of Pula. The Western Roman Empire established the provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia, which were after its downfall, passed to the Huns, the Ostrogoths, and afterward to the Byzantine Empire.
Soon thereafter, the Croats settled on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. During the 9th century, they received Christianity. Croatian duke Branimir was recognized as the Duke of Croatia by Pope John VIII. Later, Croatia became a kingdom and it peaked during the rule of Petar Krešimir IV (1058-1074) and king Zvonimir (1075-1089). Due to dynastic battles after king Zvonimir's death, Croatia entered a personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary in 1102. Afterward, since the Ottoman Empire was aspiring on the parts of the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom, they decided to seek protection and entered a personal union with the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in 1527. In the 16th and 17th centuries, a great part of Croatia fell under the Ottoman Empire whose influence ebbed in the following centuries. In the meantime, Dalmatia on the eastern Adriatic coast belonged to the Republic of Venice, from 1409 to 1797, when it became a part of the Habsburg Monarchy. There was a part of Croatia, however, that remained independent until Napoleon's army abolished it in 1808 – the Republic of Dubrovnik. It was famous for trade and a big naval trade fleet that sailed the Mediterranean Sea and even the Atlantic Ocean.
After the collapse of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Croatia entered the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which fell apart in 1941. After World War II, Croatia became a federal republic as a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the changes after the fall of communism, Croatia proclaimed independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, after holding its first democratic election. Croatia was recognized as an independent state in 1992. After the Homeland War, Croatia returned to its internationally recognized borders in 1997. Achieving social and democratic stability, Croatia became a member of NATO in 2009 and a member of the European Union in 2013.
Most major Catholic holidays are also public holidays in Croatia, due to a largely Roman Catholic population. However, citizens of Croatia who celebrate different religious holidays have the right not to work on those dates. This includes Christians who celebrate Christmas on January 7th, according to the Julian calendar, Muslims on the days of Ramadan Bayram and Kurban Bayram, and Jews on the days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Croatia is a unitary republic with parliamentary democracy as a system of government. The social state, freedom, equality, equal rights, and the rule of law are among the highest values of the constitutional order. The political system is based on the principle of the division of power into three branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary.
In the Croatian parliament (Sabor), with a single house and many centuries of inherited parliamentary tradition, members are elected for a four-year term. The President of the Republic, who is elected by general, direct election for a period of five years, represents the country abroad, cooperates with the Government in shaping and implementing foreign policy, and commands the armed forces. The Government proposes laws and the State Budget, leads foreign and internal policy, directs and monitors the work of the state administration. Croatia is divided administratively into twenty counties and the City of Zagreb. Alongside the judiciary, the institute of the Ombudsperson promotes and protects the legal rights of citizens. There are Ombudspersons for Children, Gender Equality, and Persons with Disabilities.
Since service industries comprise about two-thirds of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and agriculture accounts for less than 5%, the structure of the Croatian economy is similar to that of the countries of the European Union. The main economic branches in the country are determined by natural resources, but also by technology and industry (shipbuilding, construction, petrochemicals, the food industry). The most important branch of the economy is tourism, with 19 million foreign guests per year, participating 20% in GDP.
As in many European countries, the greatest problem facing the Croatian economy in the current period of crisis is a relatively high level of unemployment. Croatia has a developed infrastructure and has built 1,000 km of modern highways in the last 20 years, which has significantly helped to connect Croatia with European Union countries. In fact, Croatia conducts almost two-thirds of foreign trade with these countries, primarily Italy, Germany, Slovenia, and Austria, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia are also important export trading partners.