Croatia is located in the southeast of Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, central Europe and southeast Europe (Balkans). The geographical importance of the Republic of Croatia is enhanced by the Adriatic Sea, as the northernmost part of the Mediterranean, which penetrates deeply into the middle part of the European continent.
Croatia is rich in cultural-historical monuments from all time periods, thanks to historical events as well as the mixing of different cultures in these territories. The effects of Mediterranean culture, numerous monuments from antiquity, ancient Rome and early Middle Ages, romantic religious heritage and numerous characteristic Mediterranean urban areas which culturally define the Croatian coast. The continental part of Croatia is part of the middle European cultural circle and has numerous prehistoric sites of worldwide importance, old towns, forts and castles from the late Middle Ages as well as monuments and buildings from the baroque period.
Croatians are among the oldest populations of Europe. They were among the first to have organized government and, from the 9th Century, had a kingdom which was the first among Slavic peoples. In terms of language they belong to the Indo-European, or more precisely South Slavic, peoples and, as from the cultural and religious perspective, a western European, Roman Catholic civilization.
As a specific ethnic group, they formed in the early Middle Ages in the marginal area of the former Western Roman, or Frankish, empire. In that border territory, which for centuries was a meeting ground between Roman and Greek cultures, Frankish and Byzantine empires, the Holy Roman Empire of Germanic peoples and the Ottoman Empire, the Croats, as warriors and an already well-organised people, made their home at the beginning of the 7th Century and remain to this present day.
Following the Schism in the church in the 11th Century, that territory came to be the border between Catholic Rome and Orthodox Byzantium, although the Croatians continued to gravitate towards the Catholic west.
From the 15th Century, with the beginning of Turkish aggression, this became the front between the three great religions: Catholicism, Orthodox and Islam.
From the end of the Second World War and during the conflict with the Soviet Union Yugoslavia, in which Croatia was a separate republic, was also a border between western democratic countries and the eastern communist world, between countries of NATO and those in the Warsaw Pact.
From 1990 when Croatia was declared an independent state, though this time as a free, democratic country, it again remains on the border.
Croatia spans from the eastern end of the Alps in the northwest to the Pannonian plain and the banks of the Danube in the east, the central area covering the Dinaric Alps with the southern part ending at the Adriatic coast.
The land covers 56,594 km2 while the territorial sea covers 31,067 km2
The majority of the population are Croatian, with the most numerous minorities being Serbian, Bosnian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Czech, Italian and Albanian.
Mode of Government:
Croatia is a multi-party parliamentary republic
Zagreb (779.145 inhabitants; area of 641 km2) – the commercial, transport, cultural and academic centre of the country
Length of the Coast:
5,835.3 km, of which 4,058 km derive from the coastline of islands, rocks and reefs.
Number of Islands, Rocks and Reefs:
1,244! The largest are the islands of Krk and Cres; 47 are inhabited.
Dinara, 1,831 m above sea level
There are three climate zones in Croatia; in the interior a moderately warm rainy climate is established, on the highest peaks a snowy-forest climate while along the Adriatic coast is a pleasant Mediterranean climate with many sunny days; summers are dry and hot, winters mild and humid. Average temperature in the interior: January from 2o to 0oC and somewhat lower on the higher areas, August about 20oC and about 12oC on the highest peaks. Average temperature on the coast: January from 5o to 9oC, August from 22o to 25oC; temperature of the sea ranges from 12oC in winter to about 25oC in summer.
The official currency n Croatia is the kuna (1 kuna = 100 lipa). Currency exchange is conducted in banks, exchange offices, post offices, and in the majority of tourist agencies, hotels and camps. Creditne cards (Eurocard/Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Diners) are accepted in all hotels, marinas, restaurants, shops and at bankomat/ATMs.