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Our countries: Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park

A crescent-shaped country in southeast Europe, Croatia extends from the fertile plains of the Danube to the mountainous coast
of the Adriatic Sea. In the Adriatic, Croatia has 1 185 islands — many are major tourist areas.

Croatia has a long and eventful history. Greek colonies were present on its coast and islands, and Celtic tribes are thought to have settled inland. It formed part of the Roman Empire for several hundred years, and was gradually colonized by the Slavs from the 6th century AD. An independent Croatian state was established in the 10th century but lasted less than 200 years. Over subsequent centuries it was alternately ruled by Hungary, Venice, Napoleon and Austria. After World War I, a new “Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes” was created in 1918, and following the Second World War, Croatia became part of Tito’s Yugoslavia along with Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Macedonia.

On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia, a move that resulted in the Homeland War (1991–1995), which saw Croatia pitted against the might of the Yugoslav army and Serb irregular forces. In December 1991 the German government recognized Croatian independence, with the rest of the world quickly following suit.

What to visit
Plitvice Lakes National Park
The extraordinarily beautiful pocket of wooded hills in this World Heritage site encloses 16 turquoise lakes that are connected by waterfalls and cascades.
The mineral-rich waters carve through the rock, depositing tufa in continually changing formations. Wooden footbridges follow the rumbling water for an exhilaratingly damp 18 km. The national park became famous in the 1960s and 1970s through several Western film productions of Karl May novels. Many scenes were shot at the lakes or waterfalls.

Veliki Tabor

Veliki Tabor
Originally from the 12th century, Veliki Tabor Castle was annexed and expanded during the following centuries. It is a UNESCO heritage site and a museum. Surrounded by five stocky circular towers, it was built according to a pentagonal plan. The irregularly shaped courtyard is lined with elegant arcaded galleries.

Old City of Dubrovnik

 Old City of Dubrovnik
“Those who seek paradise on Earth must come to Dubrovnik.” So wrote George Bernard Shaw, smitten by the beauty of the town whose untouched 1 940 m long defensive walls — today under the protection of UNESCO — gird a city known as the Pearl of the Adriatic.

What to eat
Croatian traditional cuisine varies from one region to another. Dalmatia and Istria draw upon culinary influences of Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines that prominently feature various seafood, cooked vegetables and pasta, as well as condiments such as olive oil and garlic. The continental cuisine is heavily influenced by Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish culinary styles. In that area, meats, freshwater fish and vegetable dishes predominate. This is also why the Croatia’s varied cuisine is called “cuisine of the regions”.

Pršut i paški sir (air-dried ham similar to Italian prosciutto and sheep’s cheese from the island of Pag)    platters are served as an appetiser.

Salata od hobotnice (octopus salad) is made from octopus, potato, onion, chopped parsley, olive oil,    crushed garlic and lemon juice.

Crni riýot (black risotto) is made from cuttlefish cooked in its own ink.

Janjetina (roast lamb) is popular all over Croatia, and it’s not unusual to see whole lamb roasting on a spit    at roadside eateries.

Tartufi (truffles) are mushrooms that grow underground, and only specially trained dogs can locate them.    They are typical of the Istria region.

 

Interesting facts

  • The smallest town in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records is Hum in the central part of Istria. It has only 23 inhabitants.
  • Nikola Tesla was born in the village of Smiljan, Croatia.
  • Marco Polo, the world-renowned 13th century adventurer, traveller and merchant, was most probably born in 1254 on the Dalmatian island of Korčula and even today, there are people on the island, who bear the same family name.
  • Wine has been made in Croatia since it was introduced by Greek settlers 2 500 years ago — original vineyards are still intact on Stari Grad Plain on Hvar island.
  • Croatia’s currency, the kuna, was named after a small agile animal with brown fur — the marten in English — based on the use of marten pelts in medieval trading.
  • The parachute was invented and first tested by the Croatian Faust Vrancic in the 17th century, who was also the designer of the first wind turbine.
  • The necktie, worn by businessmen around the world, was invented in Croatia and is locally known as “cravat.”
  • The English poet Lord Byron called the old town Dubrovnik “the pearl of the Adriatic”.
  • Dalmatian dogs got their name after Dalmatia, a south coastal region in Croatia.

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