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Republic of Croatia

Republika Hrvatska
Anthem: Lijepa naša domovino
Our beautiful homeland

Location of  Croatia  (dark green)– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Croatia  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Zagreb
45°48′N 16°0′E / 45.800°N 16.000°E / 45.800; 16.000
Official languages Croatian
Official script Latin
Ethnic groups
(2001)
89.6% Croats,
4.5% Serbs,
5.9% others and unspecified
Demonym(s) Croat, Croatian
Government Parliamentary republic
Zoran Milanović
Andrej Plenković
Gordan Jandroković
Establishment
• Principality
9th century, independent c. 840
• Kingdom
925
• Union with Hungary
1102
• Joined Habsburg Empire
1 January 1527
• Independence of SHS from Austria–Hungary
29 October 1918
• Co-founded Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia)
4 December 1918
• Yugoslavia becomes Republic
29 November 1943
• Decision on independence
25 June 1991
• Declaration of independence
8 October 1991
Area
• Total
56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi) (126th)
• Water (%)
1.09
Population
• 2011 census
4,290,612
• Density
75.8/km2 (196.3/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
• Total
$80.983 billion (75th)
• Per capita
$18,338 (48th)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
• Total
$64.160 billion (65th)
• Per capita
$14,529 (44th)
Gini (2008) 29
low
HDI (2011) 0.796
high · 46th
Currency Kuna (HRK)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Date format dd/mm/yyyy
Driving side right
Calling code 385
ISO 3166 code HR
Internet TLD .hr

Croatia ( kroh-AY-shə) is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of Central Europe, and Southern Europe, being influenced by powers from both regions at varying points in its history. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. It was one of the republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It became independent in 1991. It joined the European Union on 1 July 2013.

History

In earlier times, the land now known as Croatia was inhabited by different kinds of humans including Neanderthals and Neolithic cultures. In Roman times, seafaring pirates known to the Romans as the Dalmatian Tribes lived there, as the Histri, Liburni and the Delmatae. The Romans conquered and annexed the territory in 9 AD, calling it the province of "Dalmatia," named after these tribes. During more than 400 years of Roman rule, the province of Dalmatia would become Romanized. The Roman invaders mixed with the natives and their descendants adopted a Roman lifestyle even after the collapse of the Roman state in 476 AD.

In the early seventh century AD, pagan West Slavs named the Croats (where Croatia gets its name) came to live in the former province of Dalmatia when they conquered the people already living there. However, they would soon be influenced by Roman Catholic Christian missionaries who completed the process of Christianization in the early 9th century. From the time of the crowning of Tomislav in 925 as the first King of Croatia, Croatia would become its own independent Catholic kingdom until 1102, when a Hungarian prince inherited the Croatian throne. The Hungarians would rule as Kings of Croatia until the early modern period, when the last Hungarian king of Croatia Louis II was killed at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526 and the kingdom chose the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand as king the next year.

Croatia would remain as a part of the empire of Austria-Hungary under Ferdinand's descendants until 1918. In 1918 it became a part of Kingdom of Slovenians, Croats and Serbs, later named Yugoslavia which was occupied in World War II. After a short war with Italy a fascist dictatorship formed the Independent State of Croatia in 1941, but it was not independent from the control of Nazi Germany (see also Jasenovac concentration camp).

In 1945, Croatia became a part of new Yugoslavia (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) which was non-aligned after breaking connections with Eastern Bloc. It collapsed in 1991 as initially Slovenia, than Croatia, later other republics claimed independence and became parliamentary democracies. War with Yugoslavia made a strong impact on society in economic, political and cultural terms. Civil society and media that came out of anti-war struggle in Croatia grew against nationalism, media and civil freedoms, later also corruption.

The country's democratic development around 2000, made it possible for Croatia to finally join Slovenia as only the second republic to become the European Union member on 1 July 2013.

In recent decades Croatia is increasingly popular tourist destination, especially the coastal regions of Dalmatia and Istria.

Geography

Satellite image of Croatia in September 2003
Satellite image of Croatia

Croatia is in Central and Southeast Europe, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It borders Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast and Slovenia to the northwest. It lies mostly between latitudes 42° and 47° N and longitudes 13° and 20° E. Part of the territory in the extreme south surrounding Dubrovnik is a practical exclave connected to the rest of the mainland by territorial waters, but separated on land by a short coastline strip belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum. The Pelješac Bridge, scheduled to open in 2022, will connect the exclave with the mainland Croatia.

The territory covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), consisting of 56,414 square kilometres (21,782 square miles) of land and 128 square kilometres (49 square miles) of water. It is the 127th largest country in the world. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Dinaric Alps with the highest point of the Dinara peak at 1,831 metres (6,007 feet) near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south to the shore of the Adriatic Sea which makes up its entire southwest border. Insular Croatia consists of over a thousand islands and islets varying in size, 48 of which permanently inhabited. The largest islands are Cres and Krk, each of them having an area of around 405 square kilometres (156 square miles).

The hilly northern parts of Hrvatsko Zagorje and the flat plains of Slavonia in the east which is part of the Pannonian Basin are traversed by major rivers such as Danube, Drava, Kupa, and the Sava. The Danube, Europe's second longest river, runs through the city of Vukovar in the extreme east and forms part of the border with Vojvodina. The central and southern regions near the Adriatic coastline and islands consist of low mountains and forested highlands. Natural resources found in the country in quantities significant enough for production include oil, coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, and hydropower. Karst topography makes up about half of Croatia and is especially prominent in the Dinaric Alps. There are several deep caves in Croatia, 49 of which deeper than 250 m (820.21 ft), 14 of them deeper than 500 m (1,640.42 ft) and three deeper than 1,000 m (3,280.84 ft). Croatia's most famous lakes are the Plitvice lakes, a system of 16 lakes with waterfalls connecting them over dolomite and limestone cascades. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from turquoise to mint green, grey or blue.

Climate

Winter bora in Senj
Bora is a dry, cold wind which blows from the mainland out to sea, whose gusts can reach hurricane strength, particularly in the channel below Velebit, e.g. in the town of Senj

Most of Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate as defined by the Köppen climate classification. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −3 °C (27 °F) in January and 18 °C (64 °F) in July. The coldest parts of the country are Lika and Gorski Kotar where the snowy forested climate is found at elevations above 1,200 metres (3,900 feet). The warmest areas of Croatia are at the Adriatic coast and especially in its immediate hinterland characterised by the Mediterranean climate, as the temperature highs are moderated by the sea. Consequently, temperature peaks are more pronounced in the continental areas. The lowest temperature of −35.5 °C (−31.9 °F) was recorded on 3 February 1919 in Čakovec, and the highest temperature of 42.8 °C (109.0 °F) was recorded on 4 August 1981 in Ploče.

Mean annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimetres (24 inches) and 3,500 millimetres (140 inches) depending on geographic region and prevailing climate type. The least precipitation is recorded in the outer islands (Biševo, Lastovo, Svetac, Vis) and the eastern parts of Slavonia. However, in the latter case, it occurs mostly during the growing season. The maximum precipitation levels are observed on the Dinara mountain range and in Gorski Kotar.

Prevailing winds in the interior are light to moderate northeast or southwest, and in the coastal area, prevailing winds are determined by local area features. Higher wind velocities are more often recorded in cooler months along the coast, generally as the cool northeasterly bura or less frequently as the warm southerly jugo. The sunniest parts of the country are the outer islands, Hvar and Korčula, where more than 2700 hours of sunshine are recorded per year, followed by the middle and southern Adriatic Sea area in general, and northern Adriatic coast, all with more than 2000 hours of sunshine per year.

Biodiversity

Kopački rit wooden trail
Wooden trail through nature park Kopački Rit in Osijek-Baranja County

Croatia can be subdivided between several ecoregions because of its climate and geomorphology. The country is consequently one of the richest in Europe in terms of biodiversity. There are four types of biogeographical regions in Croatia—the Mediterranean along the coast and in its immediate hinterland, Alpine in most of Lika and Gorski Kotar, Pannonian along Drava and Danube, and Continental in the remaining areas. The most significant are karst habitats which include submerged karst, such as Zrmanja and Krka canyons and tufa barriers, as well as underground habitats. The country contains three ecoregions: Dinaric Mountains mixed forests, Pannonian mixed forests, and Illyrian deciduous forests.

The karst geology harbours approximately 7,000 caves and pits, some of which are the habitat of the only known aquatic cave vertebrate—the olm. Forests are also significantly present in the country, as they cover 2,490,000 hectares (6,200,000 acres) representing 44% of Croatian land area. Other habitat types include wetlands, grasslands, bogs, fens, scrub habitats, coastal and marine habitats. In terms of phytogeography, Croatia is a part of the Boreal Kingdom and is a part of Illyrian and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region and the Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. The World Wide Fund for Nature divides Croatia between three ecoregions—Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Illyrian deciduous forests.

Telascica-Cliff
Telašćica Nature Park is one of 444 protected areas of Croatia

There are 37,000 known species in Croatia, but their actual number is estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000. The claim is supported by nearly 400 new taxa of invertebrates discovered in Croatia in the first half of the 2000s alone. There are more than a thousand endemic species, especially in Velebit and Biokovo mountains, Adriatic islands and karst rivers. Legislation protects 1,131 species. The most serious threat to species is the loss and degradation of habitats. A further problem is presented by invasive alien species, especially Caulerpa taxifolia algae. Croatia had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.92/10, ranking it 113th globally out of 172 countries.

The invasive algae are regularly monitored and removed to protect the benthic habitat. Indigenous sorts of cultivated plants and breeds of domesticated animals are also numerous. Those include five breeds of horses, five breeds of cattle, eight breeds of sheep, two breeds of pigs, and a poultry breed. The indigenous breeds include nine endangered or critically endangered ones. There are 444 protected areas of Croatia, encompassing 9% of the country. Those include eight national parks, two strict reserves, and ten nature parks. The most famous protected area and the oldest national park in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Velebit Nature Park is a part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme. The strict and special reserves, as well as the national and nature parks, are managed and protected by the central government, while other protected areas are managed by counties. In 2005, the National Ecological Network was set up, as the first step in the preparation of the EU accession and joining of the Natura 2000 network.

Politics

Croatia adopted its constitution in 1990. It declared independence from Yugoslavia on 8 October 1991.

The President of the Republic is the head of state. The President is directly elected to a five-year term. The Constitution limits the President to a maximum of two terms. Zoran Milanović became president in 2020. The Prime Minister of Croatia is the head of government. Since 2016, the prime minister of the government is Andrej Plenković.

Administrative divisions

County Seat Area (km2) Population at
2011 Census
Zastava bjelovarsko bilogorske zupanije.gif Bjelovar-Bilogora Bjelovar 2,652 119,743
Flag of Brod-Posavina County.svg Brod-Posavina Slavonski Brod 2,043 158,559
Flag of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.png Dubrovnik-Neretva Dubrovnik 1,783 122,783
Zastava Istarske županije.svg Istria Pazin 2,820 208,440
Flag of Karlovac county.svg Karlovac Karlovac 3,622 128,749
Flag of Koprivnica-Križevci County.png Koprivnica-Križevci Koprivnica 1,746 115,582
Flag of Krapina-Zagorje-County.svg Krapina-Zagorje Krapina 1,224 133,064
Flag of Lika-Senj County.png Lika-Senj Gospić 5,350 51,022
Medjimurje-flag.gif Međimurje Čakovec 730 114,414
Zastava Osječko-baranjske županije.png Osijek-Baranja Osijek 4,152 304,899
Flag of Požega-Slavonia County.png Požega-Slavonia Požega 1,845 78,031
Flag of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.png Primorje-Gorski Kotar Rijeka 3,582 296,123
Flag of Sisak-Moslavina County.png Sisak-Moslavina Sisak 4,463 172,977
Flag of Split-Dalmatia County.svg Split-Dalmatia Split 4,534 455,242
Flag of Šibenik County.svg Šibenik-Knin Šibenik 2,939 109,320
Flag of Varaždin County.png Varaždin Varaždin 1,261 176,046
Flag of Virovitica-Podravina County.png Virovitica-Podravina Virovitica 2,068 84,586
Flag of Vukovar-Syrmia County.svg Vukovar-Syrmia Vukovar 2,448 180,117
Flag of Zadar County.png Zadar Zadar 3,642 170,398
Zagreb County.png Zagreb County Zagreb 3,078 317,642
Flag of Zagreb.svg City of Zagreb Zagreb 641 792,875

Economy

Ston i solana sa zidina 9280657
Salt mine in Ston
Croatia Product Exports (2019)
A proportional representation of Croatia, 2019
Rimac C Two 20180929 DSC 8820
Rimac Automobili is a Croatian car manufacturer that develops and produces electric supercars, drivetrain and battery systems. On the picture: New Rimac Nevera electric hypercar.

In 2017, economic output was dominated by the service sector accounting for 70.1% of GDP, followed by the industrial sector with 26.2% and agriculture accounting for 3.7% of GDP. According to 2017 data, 1.9% of the workforce were employed in agriculture, 27.3% by industry and 70.8% in services. Shipbuilding, food processing, pharmaceuticals, information technology, biochemical, and timber industry dominate the industrial sector. In 2018, Croatian exports were valued at 108 billion kunas (€14.61 billion) with 176 billion kunas (€23.82 billion) worth of imports. Croatia's largest trading partner was the rest of the European Union, with the top three countries being Germany, Italy, and Slovenia.

Tourism

After the war that devastated the country, Croatia has rebuilt its infrastructure, revitalizing its image as a Mediterranean country with crystal clear waters, medieval cities that mix western and eastern architecture, respect for the environment and traditions with the arrival of tourism. Dubrovnik has become the most characteristic symbol of this new Croatia that is strongly committed to European tourism. It is developing a type of tourism based on sustainability, in which culture, gastronomy and nature coexist with the visitor, offering them the experience of discovering Croatia as part of it.

There are many reasons to visit Croatia. Its six UNESCO World Heritage sites : Dubrovnik's Old Town (undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe), the Diocletian's Palace in Split , the historic core of Trogir , the Cathedral of St. James of Sibenik , the Plitvice Lakes National Park , or the Episcopal Ensemble of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Center of Porec (Istria) .

Nature is another attractive source of tourism in Croatia. Its eight National Parks and ten Natural Parks with their varied fauna and flora show all their splendor, with a coastline that winds from the Istria Peninsula to the south of Dalmatia, leaving beautiful coves, beaches, and cliffs. The islands, such as Hvar or Korcula , in Dalmatia or Rab and Losinj in Kvarner Bay , which are sometimes grouped together in archipelagos as interesting as those of Brijuni or Kornati, they host millions of tourists. More than a thousand islands and islets that make up the Adriatic Coast, a paradise for those who love sailing and seek to cross the Adriatic by Sailboat .

Education

Education is free and required until the child reaches the age of 15. Many choose to continue their studies in high school until the age of 18.

Cuisine

Plavac wine from Dalmatia region
Zagorski Štrukli, popular traditional Croatian dish from Hrvatsko Zagorje

Croatian traditional cuisine varies from one region to another. Dalmatia and Istria have culinary influences of Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines which prominently feature various seafood, cooked vegetables and pasta, and condiments such as olive oil and garlic. Austrian, Hungarian, and Turkish culinary styles influenced continental cuisine. In that area, meats, freshwater fish, and vegetable dishes are predominant.

There are two distinct wine-producing regions in Croatia. The continental in the northeast of the country, especially Slavonia, produces premium wines, particularly whites. Along the north coast, Istrian and Krk wines are similar to those 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 beer consumption started. The annual consumption of beer in 2020 was 78.7 litres per capita which placed Croatia in 15th place among the world's countries.

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