Where is Croatia?
Croatia (/kroʊˈeɪʃə/ kroh-AY-shə; Croatian: Hrvatska pronounced [xř̩ʋaːtskaː]), officially the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Republika Hrvatska listen), is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb.
Croatia is located in Central and Southeast Europe, bordering Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the south-east, Montenegro to the south-east, the Adriatic Sea to the south-west 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 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 south-west border. Insular Croatia consists of over a thousand islands and islets varying in size, 48 of which are permanently inhabited. The largest islands are Cres and Krk, each of them having an area of around 405 km.About 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 south-west border. Insular Croatia consists of over a thousand islands and islets varying in size, 48 of which are permanently inhabited. The largest islands are Cres and Krk, each of them having an area of around 405 km2.
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 Sava, Drava, Kupa and Danube. The Danube, Europe’s second longest river, runs through the city of Vukovar in the extreme east and forms part of the border with Serbia. The central and southern regions near the Adriatic coastline and islands consist of low mountains and forested highlands.
What to see in Croatia
The Croatian Tourist Board has divided Croatia into eight distinct tourist regions:
Istria – The peninsula of Istria has the many notable interests. Its west coast has several historical towns dating from Roman times, such as the city of Umag, which hosts the yearly Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament on clay courts. The city of Poreč is famous for the UNESCO-protected Euphrasian Basilica, which includes the renown 6th century mosaics depicting old-style Byzantine art. Furthermore, the city plan still shows the ancient Roman Castrum structure. The main streets are Decumanus and Cardo Maximus, still preserved in their original forms. Marafor is a Roman square with two temples attached. One of them, erected in the 1st century AD, is dedicated to the Roman god Neptune. A few houses from the Romanesque period have been preserved and beautiful Venetian Gothic palaces can be seen here. Originally a Gothic Franciscan church built in the 13th century, the ‘Dieta Istriana’ hall was remodeled in the Baroque style in the 18th century.
Kvarner & Highlands – One of the most varying regions, the entire Kvarner gulf provides striking sceneries, with tall mountains right next to the sea, overlooking a dozen large islands. Tourist resorts range from the coastal towns of Opatija and Lovran, with their feel of Austro-Hungarian imperial decadence, are regaining their former prominence.
Dalmatia – Zadar – This region is a yachting paradise. The Kornati National Park has hundreds of mostly uninhabited islands. Kornat, the biggest of the islands with a total area of 32,525,315 m2 (350,099,577 sq ft), comprises two-thirds of the park’s land area. Although the island is 25.2 km long, it is no wider than 2.5 km. The park is managed from the town of Murter, on the island of Murter, and is connected to the mainland by a drawbridge.
Dalmatia – Šibenik – This is another popular yachting region, dotted with islands, and centered around Šibenik and its famous cathedral, the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Several fortresses, remnants of the Renaissance era (which includes St. Nicholas Fortress) can be seen surrounding the city.
Dalmatia – Split – The coastal city of Split is also the second largest city in Croatia, and is well-known for its unique Roman heritage which includes UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace. The city was built around the palace, which today is well-known for its excellent preservation, and is one of the most famous and complete architectural and cultural features on the Croatian Adriatic coast. The Split Cathedral stems from the palace.
Dalmatia – Dubrovnik – One of the most famous Croatian tourist site is the fortified city of Dubrovnik with its Renaissance culture. The finest Renaissance highlight is the Sponza Palace which dates from the 16th century and is currently used to house the National Archives. The Rectors Palace is a Gothic-Renaissance structure that displays finely carved capitals and an ornate staircase. It now houses a museum. Its façade is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 50 kuna banknote, issued in 1993 and 2002.
Central Croatia – The most interesting part of this large region is the north, with the hilly area of Zagorje, dotted with castles and spas, and the old city of Varaždin. Varaždin, with its unique monuments and artistic heritage, represents the best preserved and richest urban complex in continental Croatia. The Old Town (fortress) is a beautiful example of medieval defensive buildings.
Slavonia – Tourism in this region is just developing, mostly with spas. The area of Baranja has the national park of Kopački rit, a large swamp with an incredible variety of fauna and birds. It is one of the most important, largest and most attractive preserved intact wetlands in Europe, hosting about 260 various bird species such as (wild geese and ducks, Great White Egret, White Stork, Black Stork, White-tailed Eagle, crows, coots, gulls, terns, kingfishers, and European Green Woodpecker. Guided tourist visits by panoramic ships, boats, team of horses or on foot are available, with some packages offering the possibility of photographing or video-recording animals, birds in particular.
Zagreb – Like Prague or Budapest, Zagreb has a Central European feel to it, with a large and well-preserved old town on the hill and a 19th-century city center. The Croatian capital is also the country’s largest cultural center, with many museums and galleries.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian
- Old City of Dubrovnik
- Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč
- Historic city of Trogir
- Cathedral of Saint James
- Stari Grad Plain