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Croatia Essential

 

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.
Thus according to its natural characteristics, as well as its cultural and historical development, Croatia can be divided into three geographically distinct zones:

  • the Coastal region
  • the Mountain region
  • the Pannonian region

Like many countries in Western Europe, Croatia was founded on the ruins of the Roman Empire. When they arrived in the territory of present-day Croatia, the Croats were politicaly organized in principalities. In 925, Croatian King Tomislav united the principalities, establishing the first Croatian state. Later, Croatia retained its legal status and autonomy within the framework of the Hungarian empire, and the Habsburg Monarchy.

TOURISM
In Croatia, where the Mediterranean, the mountains and the Pannonian plains come together in a unique harmony of natural beauty, within just a little more than a hundred kilometres, you can come across excitingly different landscapes.

The Adriatic, with one of the most indented coastlines in Europe with its 1,185 islands and islets, of which only 66 are inhabited, is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination. Continental Croatia, however, also abounds in beauty: it is a land of forests, rivers rich in fish, swift mountain streams and deep gorges of Gorski Kotar, and the magnificent Plitvice Lakes in Lika. It is a land of golden wheat fields, oak woods and wide rivers of Slavonia and Baranja, a land of quaint little villages, romantic castles and manors, and picturesque rolling hills and vineyards of the Croatian Zagorje.


If you are a gourmet and a connoisseur of fine food, or simply like tasty and healthy food, you will certainly more than enjoy Croatia. Another attraction certainly worth exploring are Croatia's wine cellars. Red wines are best along the coast - Teran, Cabernet and Merlot in Istria and Opolo, Plavac, Dingac and Postup in Dalmatia. In the coastal area, some quality white wines are also produced, such as Pinot, Malvazija, Kujundzusa and White Muskat, while continental Croatia produces Traminac, Burgundac, Graševina and Kraljevina.

National parks
In Croatia there are seven National parks, here are links to some of them: The mountain of Risnjak is is a national park, situated relatively close to the coast, in the region of Gorski Kotar. The Plitvice Lakes are situated in the continental region of Lika, half way between Zagreb and Šibenik. The beauty of the virgin nature and the abundance of animal and plant life, were the reasons why the area was designated a national park in 1949 and why UNESCO put Plitvice lakes on its list of world natural heritage in 1979. The Paklenica Canyon , located in the vicinity of Zadar, is also protected as a national park. Its two 400 m deep gorges rank among the most impressive erosion formations in Europe. Paklenica is also noted for its flora and fauna. The Krka River, probably the most wonderful of all the rivers in the Croatian karst, is also a national park. The river runs through a canyon, and then as it cuts its way to the sea, it forms lakes, waterfalls and rapids.

We invite you to discover and enjoy the beauties of Croatia, its mild climate, the crystal clean, warm sea water, beautiful beaches, virgin nature, combined with rich history and cultural heritage, delicious cuisine and good wines, an above all, warm and friendly people.

Croatia - Culture History

Croatia is indeed unique, not only for its crystal clear, clean blue sea, but also for a thousand years of different cultures that have replaced each other and sometimes assimilated in these areas. The Adriatic Sea is not only a deep gulf in the Mediterranean cut into the Continent of Europe thereby creating most economical trade route between Europe and the East, it is also the cradle of ancient civilizations.

There is much material evidence about that which is finally beginning to come to light, from the depths of Adriatic caves and from the deep blue sea. The east coast of the Adriatic Sea was inhabited as early as the beginning of the early Stone Age, and there is proof that most of the accessible islands were also inhabited (archaeological findings in caves near the islands of Hvar and Palagruza, etc.).
Thanks to the favourable geographical characteristics of our coast, with its numerous bays, inlets and coves, the coastal belt has ever been a significant mercantile and nautical route.

Archaeological findings prove that in the 6th century BC the ancient Greeks had commerce with the Illyrians by means of the sea, and that they founded their colonies there (for example Pharos, today's Starigrad, on the islands of Hvar and Issa – or Vis).

Romans
Later on, the Romans arrived, and they not only built palaces and summer residences but they also spent a considerable amount of time on the sea, and there are many underwater findings located between Pula and Cavtat which show this to be true. Such findings are mainly amphorae, which were at the time commonly used for storing everything from wine to wheat, oils and perfumes. Wherever you choose to go diving, you will find the remains of Antique ships and their cargoes. One of the most precious findings from that time are remains of pythos or dolias, large pottery vessels which were built into ships and used to transport bulk cargo (wheat, etc). One such site is near Cavtat, while another is near Murter.

Arrival of slavs
A new era dawned with the arrival of the Slavs, a period characterized by constant struggle for supremacy and by defence against diverse enemies. Dubrovnik, eminent in its position as a republic, played a leading role in culture and trade. A 17th-century shipwreck bears witness to those times - a galley which sailed from Venice carrying muran glass, window glass, and other valuable objects, and was fitted with cannons. But during a storm it sank near the island of Olipe, off the coast of Dubrovnik.
Austrian monarchy.

In the 18th century, Napoleon ruled for a short period of time, after which he was replaced by the Austrian monarchy. During the next hundred years, Italy and Austria fought each other for supremacy of the east coast, culminating in the battle of Vis in 1866. The Austrian fleet, led by Admiral Tegetthoff, who commanded the battleship Erzherzog Ferdinand Max, was opposed by Admiral Persano, commander of the Italian fleet. In the battle, Persano, on his flag ship the battleship Re d'Italia, was roundly trounced by Tegetthoff, and the Italian fleet withdrew in defeat.

Testimony to those glorious times can be found not only on the mainland, but also under the sea in the shape of shipwrecks and remains of the detritus of great ships. The period of Austro- Hungarian rule commenced thereafter. Ports were built and fortified, trade and shipbuilding flourished. During the two World Wars, the Adriatic was one of the more important areas of battle, and there are many shipwrecks dating from those periods. Near Pula, for example, which at the time was a strategically vital naval harbour, twenty shipwrecks have been located, including a number of submarines, destroyers, and torpedo-boats The Adriatic Sea has always been an important maritime route between East and West, which can still be seen today because of the numerous relics, which remind us that the past should never be forgotten, but rather used as a lesson for the future.

Croatia - Useful Information


Currency:
Kuna (1 Kuna = 100 Lipa). There are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Lipa coins, 1, 2, 5 and 25 Kuna coins and 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Kuna banknotes.

Foreign currencies:
can be exchanged at banks, exchange offices, post offices and at most tourist agencies, hotels and camping grounds. Banking hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays banks are open until 1 p.m. In the larger cities some banks are also open on Sundays.

Credit cards:
Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/Mastercard,
Visa, Sport Card International). Cash dispensing machines are ubiquitous.

Electricity:
Voltage of city power grid – 220V, frequency 50HZ

Water: : Safe to drink in all parts of Croatia

The telephone code for Croatia is +385.

Time zone:
GMT plus one hour in winter and GMT plus two in summer.

Travel documentation:
Passport or some other internationally recognised identification document. Tourists may remain in Croatia for up to three months

  • CROATIAN CUISINE   ( 3 Articles )

     

    The continental cuisine is typical for its early proto-Slavic roots and more recent contacts with established schools of gastronomy – Hungarian, Viennese, and Turkish. Meat products, freshwater fish and vegetables dominate.

    The coastal region is characterized by the influences of the Greeks, Romans, Illyrians and later Mediterranean cuisines – Italian and French. It features many seafood specialties (squid, cuttlefish, octopus, shrimp, lobster...) prepared in various ways, olive oil, prosciutto, various vegetables, Dalmatian wines such as Babić, Malvasia, Prosecco and Vrbnik Žlahtina, and various liqueurs like the famous Maraschino.

    In 2008, the national culinary team participated for the first time in the world encounter of chefs and pastry chefs, the Culinary Olympics held in Erfurt, Germany, and won the bronze medal.

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    The Croatian cuisine is diverse and known as a cuisine of different regions. Its modern form originates from the proto-Slavic and ancient times. The differences in the selection of ingredients and preparation methods are the most obvious if we compare the continental and coastal regions.

    The continental cuisine is typical for its early proto-Slavic roots and more recent contacts with established schools of gastronomy – Hungarian, Viennese, and Turkish. Meat products, freshwater fish and vegetables dominate. The coastal region is characterized by the influences of the Greeks, Romans, Illyrians and later Mediterranean cuisines – Italian and French. It features many seafood specialties (squid, cuttlefish, octopus, shrimp, lobster...) prepared in various ways, olive oil, prosciutto, various vegetables, Dalmatian wines such as Babić, Malvasia, Prosecco and Vrbnik Žlahtina, and various liqueurs like the famous Maraschino.

    In 2008, the national culinary team participated for the first time in the world encounter of chefs and pastry chefs, the Culinary Olympics held in Erfurt, Germany, and won the bronze medal.

     

    Croatian cuisine
    Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous, and is therefore known as "the cuisine of regions" . Its modern roots date back to Proto-Slavic and ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by the earlier Proto-Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more famous gastronomic orders of today - Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish - while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine - Italian and French.

    Food and traditional festivities
    Many Croatian traditional festivities are distinctly linked with food independently of whether they are related to strenuous labour (crop harvesting or threshing, the grape harvest and Christening of wine, the completion of a house), religion (mostly Catholic - Christmas, Easter, pilgrimages, local saints days), or to memorable moments in an individual's life (baptism, wedding, birthday, name-day, funeral wakes, etc.) Some festivities are typically of a public character, such as the Dionysian St. Martin s Day, celebrated in private farmhouses, wine cellars and restaurants; others are almost exclusively family reunions (weddings, baptism, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Easter, etc.)

    Every holiday has its typical dish. Pork and potato stew is eaten on pilgrimages and at fairs; cod is prepared for Christmas Eve and Good Friday; pork is eaten on New Year s Day; doughnuts are an inseparable part of carnival festivities, and in the south they prepare a similar fried sweet dish known as hrostule. Ham and boiled eggs with green vegetables are served at Easter, while desserts comprise traditional cakes (e.g. pinca). Kulen (hot-pepper flavoured sausage) at harvest time, goose for St. Martin s Day, turkey and other fowl, as well as sarma (meat-stuffed cabbage leaves), are served on Christmas Day. At weddings, a variety of dishes with dozens of cakes and biscuits are served, including breskvice, shortbread bear paws, gingerbread biscuits, fritule - plain fritters, etc. The favourite meals of very many people on all occasions include spit-roasted lamb and suckling pig, grilled fish , calamari cooked in various ways, barbecue dishes - raznjici, cevapcici and mixed grill - prosciutto and sheep's cheese, or smoked ham and cottage cheese with sour cream, fish stew, venison…

    Croatian Wines
    Croatia is justifiably proud of its broad palette of high quality wines (up to 700 wines with protected geographic origin) and brandies, fruit juices, beers and mineral water. In the south, people drink bevanda with their food (heavy, richly flavoured red wine mixed with plain water), and in north-western regions, "gemisht" (dry, flavoured wines mixed with mineral water).

    The wines roads are an important part of the tourist gastro offer – they have been opening in all parts of Central Croatia over the past ten years, most of them in the northwest areas and Moslavina. They are lively at any time of the year.

    Of course, the harvest time in autumn is the most dynamic, as well 11 November – St. Martin’s Day, the last and most significant winegrowers’ holiday of the year, when they mark the christening of young musk and its transformation into wine. St. Martin’s Day is associated with many local customs, so this year, the merry festival of wine lovers will once again attract numerous tourists who will have a pleasant and palate-friendly time with their hosts.

     

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  • NATIONAL PARKS   ( 1 Article )

    Croatia is one of the ecologically best preserved parts of Europe. It is a land where the hues of the sunny and warm Mediterranean happily blend with the tranquillity and freshness of mountains and the gentle sway of the golden plains of Pannonia. A land of truly divine inspiration that has delighted many of the world’s prominent men of letters. A rare European landscape which boasts as many as eight national parks in so small an area!

    With Risnjak, Paklenica, the Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit in the mountainous area, and with the Kornati Archipelago, the island of Mljet, the Brijuni Archipelago and the Krka waterfalls in the coastal area, Croatia is indeed a jewel of the primeval beauty of nature. Adding to that two arboretums, one in Trsteno, near Dubrovnik, and Opeka, near Vinica, numerous historical parks and protected nature parks, it is indeed a green land, with as many as 4300 plant and as many animal species.

    Do not delay: sail the azure blue waters of the Adriatic and discover the island which is one of the last habitats of the griffon vulture in Europe. For dedicated nature lovers in Croatia you can put to sea with an adopted dolphin or, if you are particularly lucky, encounter the mysterious and rare Mediterranean monk seal. Whatever you decide to do, you will find that this is a place where the colours of nature are at their warmest and fullest.

  • EVENTS   ( 3 Articles )
     
  • HERITAGE   ( 1 Article )
  • CULTURE AND HISTORY   ( 1 Article )
     
  • LEISURE   ( 1 Article )