Croatia extends from the furthest eastern edges of the Alps in the north-west to the Pannonian lowlands and the banks of the Danube in the east; its central region is covered by the Dinara mountain range, and its southern parts extend to the coast of the Adriatic Sea.
The mainland covers 56.594 km2; surface area of territorial waters totals 31.067 km2. Number of islands, solitary rocks and reefs: 1.185; the largest islands are Cres and Krk; there are 47 inhabited islands.
4.437.460 inhabitants; composition of population: the majority of the population are Croats; national minorities are Serbs, Slovenes, Hungarians, Bosnians, Italians, Czechs and others.
System of government
Multi-party parliamentary republic.
Zagreb - the economic, traffic, cultural and academic centre of the country.
The Croatian language is the official language of the Republic of Croatia. It belongs to the group of South-Slavic languages, along with Slovene, Bosnian, Serbian, Montenegrin, Macedonian and Bulgarian.
Croatian was the only European language that was written in three different scripts: angular Glagolitic (from the 9th century), Western Cyrillic (from the 12th century) and Latin (from the
The climate of Croatia varies from Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast to continental, inland. The coastal areas have hot, dry summers and rainy winters yet the inland areas are cold in winter and warm in summer. The coast benefits from refreshing winds in the summer and the mountain ranges shield them from bitter winds in the winter. Sea temperatures never fall below 10 degrees in the winter and in August it can be as high as 26 degrees, due to warm currents flowing north up the Adriatic coast. In spring and early summer a sea breeze keeps the temperature down along the coast. This breeze that usually starts around 9am is perfect for sailing. The islands benefit from up to 2.715 hours of sunshine a year, the sunniest being Hvar. Winter temperatures range from -1 to 3°C in the continental region, -5 to 0 °C in the mountain region and 5 to 10 °C in the coastal region. Summer temperatures range from 22 to 26 °C in the continental region, 15 to 20 °C in the mountain region and 26 to 30 °C in the coastal region.
Croatia is located between East and West Europe and have been used during centuries as a transit country. Thereby several cultures came in contact with each other. Several cultural influences have contributed to the history of the country. The history of Croatia returns almost as far as humanity himself.
Current Croatia was inhabited in pre Historic period by the Illyrics. It was incorporated in 35 before Christ by Octavianus as Pannonian, which was a part of the Roman empire. In the 7th century Croatia was conquered by Slavonian tribes. In the 10th century Tomislav (king in 924) made himself and Croatia independent. Also at that time Venice conquered the coast area. The influence of Italian construction art is still visible in the Croatian coast places.
In 16th and the beginning of the 17th century Croatia had been conquered by the Turks. The coast places and the islands remained Venetian. In 1699 Croatia became Austrian and 1779 Croatia was administratively joined at Hungary. Under the influence of the French revolution a national Croatian movement rose. After the French revolution the largest part of Croatia (except a part of Dalmatia) was incorporated by the Hungarian. The Croatian national movement fought especially against Budapest until 1868, when Croatia got a certain degree of autonomy. During the first world war a part of Croatia chose for an Yugoslavian kingdom governed by the Serbian dynasty. Another part of Croatia was leaded by the extremist Ustasa-movement, which were supported by Italy and Hungary. This movement was responsible for the assassination of king Alexander in 1934. When the Germans attacked the region in 1941 the most Croatian people had a waiting attitude. From Italy came the Ustasa-leader Ante Pavelic and he became prime minister of Croatia in April 1941. Pavelic enjoyed some time wide recognition. During this regime many people overflowed to the partizan with the leading Josip Broz Tito. Pavelic and a some friends and relatives fled the country in May 1945. After the second world war Croatia took part of the federation Yugoslavia.
At the end of the years eighty the traditional antagonisms between the different populations arose. Under the influence of Slobodan Milosevic the Serbian predominance grew and the resist from Croatia against this predominance grew rapidly. Not long after this the riots and political tensions began. In 1989 Croatia introduced a new law and explained in December 1990 itself sovereign. Croatia was recognised on 15 January 1992 as an independent state by the European community. Germany, Hungary and Italy took diplomatic relations at first states.
Geography and Nature
The Republic of Croatia is a European country situated along the Adriatic Sea and its hinterland. It stretches from the slopes of the Alps and deep into the Pannonian Valley to the banks of the Danube and Drava rivers.
The area of Croatia can be divided into three major natural and geographic parts:
•The Pannonian and Peri-Pannonian area comprises the lowland and hilly parts of eastern and northwestern Croatia; mountains higher than 500 m are rare and of an insular character. Most of this area is being used for farming and livestock breading. Slavonija and Baranja in the east are the most suiotable for growing cereals; the humid valleys and the hills are richly afforested while the northwestern part, which gravitates to Zagreb, is industrially the most developed.
•The hilly and mountainous area, which separates Pannonian Croatia from its coastal part, is less developed. Its future development will be based on its transit importance, the growth of the already existing wood and timber industry, and the still underexploited potential for the production of healthy food, and winter and rural tourism.
•The Adriatic Area includes the narrow coastal belt separated from the hinterland by high mountains. This is predominantly a karst area with very dry summers. The few streams mainly follow narrow gorges in breaking their way through to the sea. The Croatian coastal area may further be divided into the northern (Istria nad Kvarner) and southern part (Dalmatia). It also lends itself to a longitudinal division into the islands, the coast proper and the immediate hinterland.
The Croatian Adriatic coast is one of the most indented in the world. The largest island is Cres; other large islands include Krk, Brac, Hvar, Pag and Korcula. The largest peninsulas are Istria and Peljesac, and the largest bay is Kvarner Bay.
Coast and Islands
The sea area of the east Adriatic coast from the peninsula Savudrija in the west to the peninsula Prevlaka in the south-east belongs to the Republic of Croatia. This magnificent part of nature, Croatian coast, and its 1185 islands, islets and rocks, is considered as one of the best indented coasts in the world. Croatia's coast is among the most indented on the Mediterranean, and is a favorite destination for tourists, especially boaters. The islands of Kornati and Dugi otok with its Telascica lake near the city of Zadar are particularly interesting, while the small islands near the city of Sibenik, such as Krapanj, are a great place for a tranquil holiday. The island of Hvar, home to the oldest theater in Europe and a summer festival, lies close to Split and has the most sunshine hours on the Adriatic. The picturesque island of Solta with its bays far from the hustle and bustle of big cities is ideal for a quiet holiday. The island of Brac is known for its 200 m sandy beach "Zlatni rat", heaven for surfers. You can also try hang gliding or simply have a good time in the numerous night clubs, discos and restaurants. On the island of Vis, there are ruins of Roman thermae and an ancient theatre, as well as the breathtaking "Modra spilja" (Blue cave). If you are looking for a quiet holiday, Vis is the right destination due to the untouched nature and its few inhabitants. At the far south are the wooded island of Korcula, birthplace of Marco Polo and home to traditional knight dances, the island of Lastovo, known for its rich underwater, and the Elafiti islands close to Dubrovnik.
A National Park is a large tract of land with exceptional natural features, comprising one or more ecosystems that have been unaltered or only marginally altered by human activity. Only traditional forms of agriculture, tourism and recreational activities are allowed there. Eight National Parks have been established in the Republic of Croatia.
A Nature Park designation denotes a category of protection that is less strict than that of a National Park, i.e. the preservation criteria and the protection and exploitation regulations are somewhat more relaxed. It is a large natural site (may be partly cultivated) of prominent ecological, esthetic, tourist and recreational value. Not all activity is prohibited in Nature Parks; those activities that do not jeopardize its main traits and functions are supported and controlled. Ten Nature Parks have been established in Croatia.