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Cathedral in Zagreb

History of Croatia

First organized colonies in this region were greek settlements on the islands of the Adriatic Sea circa 400. B.C. Greek rule lasted for about 300 year. Meanwhile, Illyrian tribe Dalmatae lived in the continental part of region. Hence, the region in the south got to be called Dalmatia. Then around 100. B.C. Romans took over and ruled the land. Roman emperor Diocletian, who ruled in the 4th century, was born in Salona (Solin) near Spalatum (Split). He later built a palace, called Diocletian Palace in the center of what is the City of Split today.

Croats arrived and inhabited the land at the beginning of seventh century. They established rule and nominated dukes. Duke Trpimir is one of them who issued a charter in which word Croatia (Hrvatska) was mentioned for the first time. The first Croatian king was Tomislav, who was crowned in 925. The last king of independent Croatia was Petar Svacic. Croatia united with Hungarian kingdom around 1100. The united kingdom lasted till 1527. when it was annected to Habsburg monarchy. However, most of the adriatic coast was then controlled by Venetians, except for Dubrovnik Republic.

When Habsburg monarchy ceased to exist after the World War I, Croatia entered The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which changed name to Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. After the World War II, Federal National Republic of Yugoslavia was formed, and Croatia was one of its six republics. Croatia declared independence in 1991, and became a democratic republic.

The Trakošćan Castle - Northern Croatia

Location and Characteristics

Croatia is located in the south-central part of Europe, in the Mediterranean region, at the Adriatic Sea. It borders with Slovenia to the west, Hungary to the north, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east, and with Montenegro in the south. The country is predominantly plain on the north and mountainous in the southern part and along the Adriatic Sea. Some of its mountains, none of which is higher than 2000 meters, are Dinara, Biokovo, Velebit, Velika Kapela, Risnjak, and Svilaja. Croatia has several national parks, which are the following:

  • Brioni (Brijuni) Islands, Istria (Istra)
  • Risnjak Mountain, which is just north from Rijeka
  • Plitvice Lakes
  • Paklenica, Velebit Mountain
  • Kornati Islands
  • Krka, beautiful river with waterfalls near Šibenik
  • Mljet Island, near Dubrovnik

Croatian capital is Zagreb, which is also the largest city in the country. Other cities are Split, Rijeka, and Osijek, as well as Dubrovnik, Zadar, Šibenik, Pula, and others. The republic is administratively divided into 21 counties:

  1. Bjelovarsko-bilogorska
  2. Brodsko-posavska
  3. Dubrovačko-neretvanska
  4. Istarska
  5. Karlovačka
  6. Koprivničko-križevačka
  7. Krapinsko-zagorska
  8. Ličko-senjska
  9. Međimurska
  10. Osječko-baranjska
  11. Požeško-slavonska
  12. Primorsko-goranska
  13. Sisačko-moslavačka
  14. Splitsko-dalmatinska
  15. Šibensko-kninska
  16. Varaždinska
  17. Virovitičko-podravska
  18. Vukovarsko-srijemska
  19. Zadarska
  20. Zagreb
  21. Zagrebačka

Croatia is known for its holiday accommodation in summer season. Many people from northern and central parts of Europe come to spend summer holiday and vacation in Croatia. There are many hotels on the Adriatic coast and private apartments, rooms for rent available in Croatia, especially in its littoral near the Adriatic Sea.

The City of Split

Places to Visit in Croatia

Places and towns that tourists will find interesting to visit are numerous in Croatia. On the western part of the country, there are Pula, Rovinj, Poreč, Umag, and other towns on Istrian peninsula. Pula has several ancient Roman buildings, such as famous and well preserved Pula Arena and August Temple from the first century. In the very center of Rovinj, there is Baroque church of St. Euphemia with bell tower 60 meters high. Poreč has Euphrasios Basilica. Umag hosts Croatia Open tennis tournament, which usually takes place in the middle of summer season.

Sućuraj - Easternmost tip of Hvar Island

Croatia Tourist Attractions

The southern region of Croatia, that is known as Dalmatia, is very attractive summer time tourist destination. There are many towns worth visiting, such as Zadar, Šibenik, Primošten, Trogir, Split, Omiš, Makarska, Dubrovnik, and many others, including the islands.

Zadar has Preromanesque church of St. Donat and Sea Organ Riva, which produces characteristic sounds when waves splash against it. Šibenik is the old Croatian royal town. Its attractions include the cathedral of st. Jakov built in 15. century, designed by Juraj Dalmatinac and Nikola Firentinac.

The old town of Primošten is located on a what was once a small island, with houses tightly packed. Trogir also has several old buildings. Split is famous for its ancient buildings, such as Diocletian Palace, the Cathedral of St. Dujam, with its bell tower. There are also ruins of Roman settlement Salona near Solin. Omiš is a town located in the delta of river Cetina, where rafting is available in summer. Makarska has many attractive gravel beaches. Dubrovnik, located in the southern tip of Dalmatia, is an old town with fortresses.