Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands.
Croatia is a sovereign state at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean.
Its capital city is Zagreb, which forms one of the country’s primary subdivisions, along with its twenty counties.
Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and has diverse, mostly continental and Mediterranean climates.
The country’s population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism.
The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Peter Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir.
Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne.
In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognised State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. A fascist Croatian puppet state existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a founding member and a federal constituent of Second Yugoslavia, a constitutionally socialist state. In June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration.
The service sector dominates Croatia’s economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world.
The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia’s most important trading partner.
Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.
Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia; the rest is imported. Croatia provides a universal health care system and free primary and secondary education, while supporting culture through numerous public institutions and through corporate investments in media and publishing.
Croatian traditional cuisine varies from one region to another. Dalmatia and Istria draw upon culinary influences of Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines which 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 are predominant.
There are two distinct wine-producing regions in Croatia. The continental region in the north-east of the country, especially Slavonia is capable of producing premium wines, particularly whites. Along the north coast, Istrian and Krk wines are similar to those produced in neighbouring Italy, while further south in Dalmatia, Mediterranean-style red wines are the norm.
Annual production of wine exceeds 140 million litres. Croatia was almost exclusively a wine-consuming country up until the late 18th century when a more massive production and consumption of beer started, the annual consumption of beer in 2008 was 83.3 litres per capita which placed Croatia on a relatively high 15th place among the world’s countries
Zadar, the largest city in the region, gained its urban structure in Roman times; during the time of Julius Caesar and EmperorAugustus, the town was fortified and the city walls with towers and gates were built. On the western side of the town were theforum, the basilica and the temple, while outside the town were the amphitheatre and cemeteries. The aqueduct which supplied the town with water is partially preserved. Inside the ancient town, a medieval town had developed with a series of churches andmonasteries being built.
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Sport & Natur
There are more than 400,000 active sportspeople in Croatia.
Out of that number, 277,000 are members of sports associations and nearly 4,000 are members of chess and contract bridge associations. Association football is the most popular sport. TheCroatian Football Federation (Croatian: Hrvatski nogometni savez), with more than 118,000 registered players, is the largest sporting association in the country. The Prva HNL football league attracts the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the country. In season 2010–11, it attracted 458,746 spectators.
Croatian athletes competing at international events since Croatian independence in 1991 won 34 Olympic medals, including ten gold medals—at the 2012 Summer Olympics in discus throw, trap shooting, and water polo; at the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Olympics in handball, at the 2000 Summer Olympics in weightlifting and four gold medals in alpine skiing at the2002 Winter Olympics and the 2006 Winter Olympics.
In addition, Croatian athletes won 13 gold medals at world championships, including two in athletics at the World Championships in Athletics held in 2007 and 2009, one in handball at the2003 World Men's Handball Championship, one in water polo at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships, one in rowing at the2010 World Rowing Championships, six in alpine skiing at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in 2003 and 2005 and two at the World Taekwondo Championships in 2011 and 2007. Croatian athletes also won the 2005 Davis Cup.
Croatia hosted several major sport competitions, including the 2009 World Men's Handball Championship, the 2007 World Table Tennis Championships, the 2000 World Rowing Championships, the 1987 Summer Universiade, the 1979 Mediterranean Gamesand several European Championships.
The governing sports authority in the country is the Croatian Olympic Committee(Croatian: Hrvatski olimpijski odbor), founded on 10 September 1991 and recognised by the International Olympic Committeesince 17 January 1992, in time to permit the Croatian athletes to appear at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, Francerepresenting the newly independent nation for the first time at the Olympic Games.
Spass & Essen
Lots of Bars and Restaurants
Kultur und Geschichte
Because of its geographic position, Croatia represents a blend of four different cultural spheres. It has been a crossroad of influences of the western culture and the east—ever since division of the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire—as well as of the Mitteleuropa and the Mediterranean culture. The Illyrian movement was the most significant period of national cultural history, as the 19th-century period proved crucial in emancipation of the Croatian language and saw unprecedented developments in all fields of art and culture, giving rise to a number of historical figures.
The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia is tasked with preserving the nation's cultural and natural heritage and overseeing its development. Further activities supporting development of culture are undertaken at local government level.
The UNESCO inscribed seven sites in Croatia on the World Heritage List.
The country is also rich with Intangible culture and holds ten of UNESCO's World's intangible culture masterpieces, surpassing all countries in Europe except Spain which possesses an equal number of the listed items. A global cultural contribution from Croatia is the necktie, derived from the cravat originally worn by the 17th-century Croatian mercenaries in France.
As of 2009, Croatia has 23 professional theatres, 14 professional children's theatres and 27 amateur theatres visited by more than two million viewers per year. The professional theatres employ 1,100 artists. There are 24 professional orchestras, ensembles and choirs in the country, attracting an annual attendance of 323 thousand. There are 117 cinemas with attendance exceeding 3.5 million. Croatia has 175 museums, visited by nearly 2.2 million people in 2009. Furthermore, there are 1,685 libraries in the country, containing more than 23.5 million volumes, and 15 archives.
In 2009, more than 7,200 books and brochures were published, along with 2,678 magazines and 314 newspapers. There are also 146 radio stations and 21 TV stations operating in the country. In past five years, film production in Croatia produced up to five feature films and 10 to 51 short films, with an additional 76 to 112 TV films. As of 2009, there are 784 amateur cultural and artistic associations and more than 10 thousand cultural, educational and artistic events held annually.
The book publishing market is dominated by several major publishers and the industry's centrepiece event—Interliber exhibition held annually at Zagreb Fair.
Croatia has established a high level of human development and gender equality in terms of the Human Development Index. It promotes disability rights. Recognition of same-sex unions in Croatia has gradually improved over the past decade, culminating in registered civil unions in July 2014, granting same-sex couples equal inheritance rights, tax deductions and limited adoption rights.
However, in December 2013 Croatians voted in favour of a constitutional referendum, backed by conservative groups, defining marriage as a "union of man and woman"