Croatia has become a popular destination to go on holiday. It is also a place that has a lot of interesting facts about itself from frog museums to large truffles, here are 18 interesting facts about Croatia.
Croatia has been quite inventive. Its most successful export and most popular invention is the necktie. This popular accessory once called a cravat was designed in the 17th century worn by Croatian soldiers on their visit to King Louis XIII of France. Impressed by the design, Louis wanted a tie of his own and now it is still it is in the modern zeitgeist. Other inventions include fingerprinting pioneered by Ivan Vučetić, rice chocolate was which was made in 1963, the parachute invented by Faust Vraneiae in 1617 and the pen in 1906 invented by Slavoljub Penkala.
Given that the country experiences 2,715 hours of sunshine a year, it’s no surprise that cinematic visionaries Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock said that Croatia is home to the “world’s most beautiful sunset” when it sets in Zadar. Another popular place that is sunny in Croatia is the island of Hvar which is especially beautiful in the summertime.
As well as Hvar, Croatia is made up of 1246 islands, islets, and reefs yet only 48 of them are populated. Other islands of note include Brač with its white-pebble beach Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) suitable for windsurfers as well as those that like clean beaches and Cres where is home to the last remaining colony of griffon vultures. Some of the islands feature beautiful caves and clear water that are breathtaking to look at.
Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European country (tied at 16 with Spain). This covers traditions such as music, crafts, festivals, cuisine, and other customs considered for inclusion. Such hobbies Croatia has included lacemaking, gingerbread baking, and wooden toy carving.
The Croatian town of Hum is a sleepy hamlet of cobblestone streets that has the honour of being the world’s smallest town, with a population that has varied between 17 and 23. Some people regard the Vatican City as the smallest city in the world; however, it is a country thus Hum has the title.
Photo Credit: Kwasura via Wikimedia Commons
The Kuna is Croatia’s currency which has been around since 1994. The word Kuna means marten in Croatian which is a type of weasel. The reason for this is because medieval traders used marten pelts as a key bartering tool. The coin equivalent Lipa which means lime tree in Croatian as these were planted around marketplaces.
Giancarlo Zigante has the honour of making the record-holding largest truffle, in Istria, in 1999. A white truffle weighing 1.31 kg (2 lb 8 oz), this Guinness Book World Record Breaker was also made with the help of Giancarlo’s dog Diana. Croatia having broken this record is no surprise as the country is one of the biggest truffle-producing countries in the world.
The Dalmatian comes from the Croatian region of Dalmatia. Previously known as the “Dubrovnik hunter”, the name Dalmatian originates from 19th century America. This spotty dog gained worldwide popularity after the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians movie was released in 1961.
Photo Credit: Maja Markus via Wikimedia Commons
The oldest Catholic cathedral in the world can be found in Split, Croatia and is known as the Cathedral of St. Duje (Saint Dominus). Construction started in the 13th century and didn’t finish until the 16th century.
Croatia has become a popular place for celebrities to have a holiday home in. Such stars include Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Madonna, Andre Agassi, Gwyneth Paltrow, Clint Eastwood, Beyoncé and Jay Z have property in this beautiful country.
One of the true beauties of Croatia is Dubrovnik. Irish author George Bernard Shaw has said “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik” while English poet Lord Byron in the 19th Century called Dubrovnik “the pearl of the Adriatic” One of its great features is its beautiful architecture which was designed by an Italian.
Photo Credit: Patty Ho via Wikimedia Commons
Croatia has two unique museums. One is Froggyland that has 507 cork stuffed frogs arranged in 21 cases imitating various common tasks that people deal with in everyday life. There is also Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb where heartbroken people donate the remainders of their loved ones in the museum. Nearly 1,000 people visit on a weekly basis with such mementos include a child pedal, a stiletto shoe and dreadlocks among others.
‘Bok’ or ‘Bog’ is how you say ‘hi’ or 'hello' in Croatian. The origin of bok is that it is an abbreviation of the Austrian salutation ‘Mein Buecken’ (bow) which is accompanied by the gesture of topping one’s hat. The origin for ‘bog’ connected to old salutation of ‘Bog te pozdravi’ meaning God says hi as Bog mean God.
Rome wasn’t the only place where gladiator fights took place as in Croatia’s amphitheatre in Istria in Pula also saw gladiators face off against each other. This is one of the only 3 conserved amphitheatres in the world and is the 6th biggest amphitheatre in existence.
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Croatians had their own alphabet known as the Glagolitic alphabet. It was preserved by Croats who used it from the 12th until the 20th century.
Croatia has become a popular destination for filming movies and TV shows such Fiddler on the Roof, Star Wars, Sophie’s Choice and Dr. Who. However, the most famous use of filming is possibly Game of Thrones where the Dalmatian coast in Split and Dubrovnik is used the King’s Landing scenes. Fans of the show can visit some of the film sites and even go on a Game of Thrones tour.
Two and a half thousand years ago, wine began being made in Croatia. Today, there are 41,188 winemakers and vineyards covering 20,885 hectares of land in Croatia making it a perfect destination for wine enthusiasts.
Croatia is home to 15 different varieties of snakes and one fifth of them are venomous. There are the Karst Meadow Viper, the Common Adder and the Nose-horned Viper.
Written by: Diarmuid Crowley from StayPlanet