Cities in CROATIA
Geography and Landscape
Croatia is situated on the Adriatic Sea with Italy to the west, Austria and Hungary to the north. The land area is 56,691 square kilometers.
Croatia also has a further 31,067 square kilometers of territorial waters.
Central Croatia, east and south of Zagreb and flowing through Sava, Kupa and Drava, is low and flat. This also applies to the fertile Slavonia in the east.
Northwestern Croatia covers most of Istria. Southwest Croatia encompasses the entire Dalmatian coastal region up to the Bay of Kotor with the chains of the Dinaric Alps and the rugged highlands of Lika, these are largely poor karst areas. The highest mountain is located in the Split province, north of Split and Šibenik. The Dinara is 1,831 meters high.
Photo:K Korlevic in the public domain
Croatia is also rich in lakes. The Plitvice lakes are undoubtedly the best known, but they are relatively small compared to, for example, the fish-rich Vrana Lake southwest of Zadar. Many large and small rivers can be found in the north of the country. The most famous river is the Drava, a tributary of the Danube. This river forms the border with Hungary. The Save is also a tributary of the Danube. Off the coast there are 1185 islands, of which 66 are inhabited. The largest islands are Krk (connected to the mainland by a bridge) and Cres.
Climate and Weather
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Croatia has a wide variety of climates. The climate in Croatia varies from Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast to a continental climate in the interior. The wind provides a cooling breeze in the summer on the coast. The temperature fluctuates between ten (winter) and twenty-six (summer) degrees Celsius. The interior has a climate with dry and hot summers and cold, wet winters. The temperature hovers around freezing in January, while it can reach an average of 24 degrees Celsius in August.
In the mountains the temperature in January remains below freezing, on average the temperature fluctuates between -5 and 0 degrees Celsius. The summers are pleasantly fresh, in the winter months it can snow a lot. During the month of August the temperature in the high-altitude areas rises to about 18 degrees Celsius.
The sun shines a lot in Croatia. The long-term average is 2500 hours per year.
Plants and Animals
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In Croatia, 4,300 species of plants and 278 species of trees and shrubs are distinguished. Characteristic are the cypresses. Of course, the olive trees and the lower vegetation, among others, the gorse, oleander and lavender, are also striking. The richest plant life, however, is in the mountains. In summer, flowers lay a colorful carpet over the mountain meadows. Many protected species flourish including orchids, edelweiss and gentians.
The greatest variety of plants can be found in the Velebit mountains. More than 2700 different types of plants are found here. The endangered Edelweiss can still be admired there. In total 23% of the soil of Croatia is covered with forest.
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There is a wide variety of animals in Croatia. Mammals include wild boars, various deer species, foxes, hares, pheasants and even bears and wolves live in Croatia. Hunting is allowed under strict conditions. There are also protected animals, including six species of butterflies, 322 bird species, a rare forest ant, 35 mammals, including 29 bat species and various frogs, reptiles and snails.
Wolves still live in the wild in central Croatia. The Adriatic Sea is rich in fish.
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The Republic of Croatia comprises the historical areas of Croatia-Slavonia and a large part of Dalmatia. Today's Croatia was inhabited by Illyrians in ancient times. It was incorporated into the Roman Empire by Octavian as Pannonia in 35 BC. After the division of this empire it belonged alternately to the western part of the Roman Empire, the Ostrogothic and the Byzantine Empire. In the 7th century it was conquered by Slavic tribes. The political history and Christianization from the north (so that not the Cyrillic, but the Latin alphabet was adopted) caused a separation of the tribal South Slavs in Serbia. Croatia became independent under Prince Tomislav (king in 924). Venice conquered the coastal area. The influence of Italian architecture is still visible in Croatian coastal towns.
16th century till WWII
In the 16th and early 17th century, the Turks took over a large part of Croatia (present-day Bosnia). The coastal towns and islands remained in the hands of the Venetians. In 1699 Croatia fell into Austrian hands. In 1779 it was administratively added to Hungary. Partly under the influence of the French Revolution, a national movement emerged, whereby most of Croatia (excluding part of Dalmatia) was annexed to the Hungarian empire. This movement was mainly aimed against Budapest. In 1868, Croatia was granted some degree of autonomy. During the First World War, part of the Croats chose a Yugoslav kingdom under the Serbian dynasty. The Croatian struggle against the centralism and bureaucracy of Belgrade was mainly waged by the Croatian Peasant Party. In addition, there was the extremist Ustasa movement, which was supported by Italy and Hungary and responsible for the murder of King Alexander in 1934.
The German attack in 1941 took a wait-and-see approach. Italian Ustasa leader Ante Pavelic became Prime Minister in April 1941. For some time, Pavelic enjoyed wide recognition. With the help of some of the lower Roman Catholic clergy and of Bosnian Muslims, terror was waged against the Orthodox. Pavelic's regime was also characterized by maladministration. The Croatian militia proved unreliable, many people turned to the partisans under the Croat Josip Broz Tito. Pavelic and some of them fled the country in May 1945.
From Yugoslavia to Croatia
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After this, Croatia is again part of the federation of Yugoslavia. At the end of the 1980s, the traditional contrasts between different population groups increased again. After Slobodan Milosevic took office in the republic of Serbia and after Serbia seemed to take control of Yugoslavia further, the unrest and political tensions also spread to Croatia. Croat nationalists meanwhile openly campaigned for greater independence. A new electoral law was introduced in 1989 and Croatia declared itself sovereign in December 1990.
Croatia was recognized as an independent state by the European Community on January 15, 1992. Germany, Hungary and Italy were the first states to establish diplomatic relations. The president of the new republic became Franjo Tudjman, leader of the ruling Croatian nationalist party HDZ (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica, the Croatian Democratic Union). During the war for the Croatian territories (Krajina) claimed by Serbs, Croatia lost a third of its territory to the Serbs.
A number of cities located there, including Vukovar and Osijek, have been severely destroyed. The Serb-occupied areas in Croatia were: Krajina, West Srijem, Baranja, West and East Slavonia. On the other hand, Croatia became increasingly involved in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatian militias there initially fought with the Muslims against the Serbs. In January of the same year, the Croatian armed forces launched an offensive against the Serb positions in the Knin region. This led to fierce condemnation from the international community, which feared a further escalation of the conflict.
Economic reforms and corporate privatizations led to chaos, characterized by corruption, financial scandals, high inflation and high unemployment. Politically, relations with the Bosnian government improved in 1994, resulting in effective cooperation during the autumn offensive against the Bosnian Serbs.
In the peace agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina, concluded in November 1995 by the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia in Dayton, USA, Croatia had to make important concessions in the form of returning conquered territory to the Serbs.
The Dayton Agreement opened the way for better relations between Croatia and Serbia in 1996. This resulted in establishing diplomatic ties.
The HDZ remained in power until 1999, the year in which Tudjman died. After this, the HDZ suffered a crushing defeat.
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Now a coalition of six parties rules, the most influential of which is Prime Minister Ivica Racan's SDP. The president of Croatia is Stjepan Mesic. The death of Tudjman and the subsequent victory of the moderate opposition in the parliamentary elections paved the way for a new political course. This new policy was implemented by the cabinets Racan I and II (Social Democratic Party). In 2003 the HDZ, the party that had by now clearly marked the end of the Tudjman era and was sailing a pro-Western course, came back to power. Full integration in Euro-Atlantic structures was the motto. Despite the fact that the ruling party HDZ remains the largest party, it was considered a loser in the local elections in May 2005, because it had to give up government in a number of provinces and cities. After the death of Tudjman and the formation of the new coalition, Croatia is gaining international prestige. On 7 November 2007, the European Commission released a report on the progress of reforms in Croatia. As progress has been made, Croatia is increasingly becoming a serious candidate for accession. For example, the country has implemented reforms in public administration and amended laws and regulations.
Croatia has also continued the fight against corruption. Croatia has taken further steps to address the problems with minorities and refugees. Further progress is still needed in these areas. The country is fully cooperating with the Yugoslavia Tribunal. However, the increased imbalances in the trade and balance of payments still pose a threat, according to the Commission.
Elections will be held in November 2007, with the HDZ winning the most seats. In January 2008, a new coalition cabinet, led by Ivo Sanader, takes office.
The European Commission expects to complete negotiations with Croatia on accession to the EU in 2009. In 2009, a conflict with Slovenia on borders threatens the negotiations. In April 2009, Croatia officially becomes a member of NATO. In June 2009, the EU delayed negotiations with Croatia due to the lack of progress in the row with Slovenia over exactly where the border is located. In July 2009 Santander unexpectedly resigned and the parliament elected Jadranka Kosor as his successor. In January 2010, Ivo Josipovic wins the presidential elections against the Social Democratic opposition. Slovenia agrees in June 2010 to allow international arbitration to resolve the border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia. In April 2011, two important Croatian generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, were convicted by the tribunal in The Hague. Negotiations for accession to the EU will be successfully concluded in the summer.
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In the December 2011 parliamentary elections, center left wins, Zoran Milanovic becomes prime minister. The Croatian people agree to join the EU by referendum in January 2012. In July 2013, the time has come for Croatia to join as the 28th member of the EU. In January 2014, the finance ministers of the EU started procedures to get Croatia to reduce the government deficit within the set limits. In March, the court sentenced former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to 9 years in prison for corruption. In January 2015, moderately conservative Kolinda Grabar-Kiratovic becomes Croatia's first female president. General elections are held in November 2015 with no clear winners, technocrat Oreskovic becomes prime minister in January 2016. In June 2016 his government falls and in the September 2016 elections HDZ wins the most seats. A center-right coalition led by Andrej Plenkovic takes office in October 2016.
In March 2020, Croatia was hit by a magnitude 5.5 earthquake and dozens of aftershocks. The epicenter was located north of the capital Zagreb at a depth of 10 kilometers. There was one fatality and a few dozen (seriously) injured. It was the worst earthquake in Zagreb in 140 years.
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Most of the population (90%) consists of Croats (2017), a people of mixed Iranian-Gothic-Slavic origin, who acquired their ethnic identity after the migrations of Ostrogoths, Avars and Slavs (early 7th century) and linguistically the Slavic peoples. In the popular vote of 1991, 12% of the population was Serbs, but their number has decreased rapidly due to emigration from especially the Krajina and Western Slavonia to Serbia as a result of the war in the first half of the 1990s. The share of Serbs in 2017 is 4.4%. Many Croats still live abroad, most of them as guest workers (an estimated 300,000). Many refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina also live in Croatia. Approx. 57% of the population lives in the cities. (2017)
There are 4,292,095 people living in Croatia. (2017)
Population growth is -0.5% (2017)
The structure is as follows:
00-14 years 14.2%
15-64 years 66.5%
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Croatian belongs to the Slavic language family. From a linguistic point of view, Croatian and Serbian are very related.
Croatian is the official language, in addition, a minority language is spoken by 4% of the population. Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak and German are the main minority languages.
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The majority of the Croatian population adheres to the Roman Catholic religion. Various other Christian religions are also professed and a very little part of the population is Islamic. There are numerous sacred sites, often intertwined with history. Many processions are still held in Croatia.
The division by religion is: Roman Catholic (85%), Orthodox Church 3%, Protestant 1.4% and Islamic 1.2%.
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According to the 1990 constitution, Croatia is a unified, indivisible, democratic and social state with full sovereignty. The head of state is the president, who is directly elected for five years. He determines foreign policy and is commander in chief of the armed forces. The Prime Minister and the other members of the cabinet are appointed and dismissed by him on his proposal. He can declare a state of emergency in certain cases. He is accountable to parliament. Legislative power rests with the Sabor, a bicameral parliament consisting of a House of Representatives, whose members are elected partly directly, partly through representative elections for four years, and a House of Councillors with 68 indirectly elected members. The right to vote is available to all from the age of 18. There is a 5% electoral threshold. Croatia is divided into 20 regions and a capital area. Croatia is a member of the United Nations and a number of sub-organizations of the UN, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and, since 1996, of the Council of Europe.
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The December 1990 constitution (amended several times, most recently in 2001) prescribes the separation of powers in Croatia.
The legislative power is formed by the parliament, the Sabor. The Sabor has been a single chamber since April 2001 and currently has 151 members. Members are elected for a period of 4 years. Until April 2001, the Sabor consisted of a higher house and a lower house; the mandate of the upper house then expired and was not renewed. Constitutional amendments, adopted in 1997, include a ban on the re-establishment of a union of Yugoslav states. Parliament is responsible for passing and amending the Constitution, passing laws, the budget and issues of national borders, war and peace. Parliament oversees the work of the government.
Executive power rests with the head of state (the president) and the ministers. The president is elected for a period of 5 years and previously had quite broad powers in the field of foreign policy and domestic administration. Because of the wide powers of the President, Croatia's political system has often been described as “semi-presidential”. In the meantime, a number of restrictions have been implemented in the power of the president, partly under the influence of the current holder of this office (a purely ceremonial interpretation is not expected, however). The government is formed by the ministers and the prime minister. The government sets the budget, proposes bills and implements the Sabor laws and regulations that have been passed. The government is accountable to both the president and Sabor.
The judiciary is independent and is divided into three levels: the local courts, the district courts, and the Supreme Court. The judges of the Constitutional Court are elected by the Sabor for a term of 8 years. The Supreme Court is responsible for the uniform implementation of the laws and for equal rights for all citizens.
The parliamentary elections in January 2000 were largely won by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), which took part in the election with a joint list of candidates. The victory was partly due to a voter protest against the HDZ. In addition to the overwhelming victory of the SDP and the HSLS, 4 other moderate parties, namely HSS, IDS, LS and HNS won extra seats. These six parties formed a coalition together. A painful defeat in local elections in May 2001 led to the resignation of the IDS in June 2001.
The arrival of the Racan government in 2000 brought about a marked revolution in Croatia. Major changes were made in both domestic and foreign policy: implementation of an economic recovery program, a comprehensive legislative adjustment program (especially those that discriminate against minorities), promotion of the return of refugees and displaced persons, screening of the security services and renewal of media legislation (including reorganization of state broadcaster HRT into public broadcaster). On an international level, a course was set to improve cooperation with the ICTY, to comply with the Dayton Agreements and to improve relations with the European Union and neighboring countries, in particular Bosnia and Herzegovina.
While the international community welcomed these developments, Racan was dogged domestically by domestic political tensions. The contradictions between the coalition partners SDP and HSLS sharply increased after the return of HSLS party leader Budisa to the political power center in Croatia. He resigned in the summer of 2001 following the government decision to comply with the extradition request from the ICTY concerning two suspected generals. However, in February 2002, Budiša won re-election to the HSLS party leadership so he could return to the political scene. Budiša took over from his party member Granic and became deputy prime minister herself. In addition, at the insistence of Budiša, a number of HSLS ministers were replaced by fellow party members from the right wing of the party. In the period that followed, relations in the coalition deteriorated.
This new policy was implemented by the cabinets Racan I and II (Social Democratic Party). In 2003 the HDZ, the party that had by now clearly marked the end of the Tudjman era and was sailing a pro-Western course, came back to power. Full integration in Euro-Atlantic structures was the motto. Despite the fact that the ruling party HDZ remains the largest party, it was considered a loser in the local elections in May 2005, because it had to give up government in a number of provinces and cities. After the death of Tudjman and the formation of the new coalition, Croatia is gaining international prestige. On 7 November 2007, the European Commission released a report on the progress of reforms in Croatia. As progress has been made, Croatia is increasingly becoming a serious candidate for accession. For example, the country has implemented reforms in public administration and amended laws and regulations.
Croatia has also continued the fight against corruption. Croatia has taken further steps to address the problems with minorities and refugees. Further progress is still needed in these areas. The country fully cooperated with the Yugoslavia Tribunal. However, the increased imbalances in the trade and balance of payments still pose a threat, according to the Commission.
The current political situation is described in the chapter history
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The economy of Croatia is stabilizing after a process of change from controlled to free economy and the consequences of the war. Economic growth was 2.8 in 2017 and unemployment is high (10% of the labor force), but inflation is low and government debt is relatively limited. The still limited indigenous purchasing power is still dampening growth, but the outlook is favorable. Per capita GNP was $ 24,700 in 2017. Agriculture provides employment for 1.9% of the population and contributes 3.7% to GDP. 27.3% is employed in industry, which is a 26.2% contribution to GDP. The service sector is the leader with 70.8% of employment and a contribution to GDP of 70.1%. (2017) Agriculture is particularly good in central Croatia and includes the cultivation of cereals, sugar beets, potatoes and fruit. Citrus fruits, grapes and figs are grown in the coastal region. Croatia extracts about two million tons of oil and the same amount of natural gas annually, especially in the Save-Drava basin. The country can rely on these stocks for energy supply. Hydropower is also of great importance.
Trade and Industry
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Industry has always been of great significance. Of importance are foodstuffs, textiles, shipbuilding and the chemical industry. Exports were worth $ 13.2 billion in 2017, imports were $ 22.3 billion. The main trading partners are Germany, Italy and Slovenia.
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Croatia is the link between Central and Southern Europe. The road network covers approximately 25,000 km. Of this is 1,200 km. motorway. The rail network covers 2698 km. Shipping is of great importance. Croatia has 350 large and small ports. The largest ports are Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Split and Dubrovnik. There are eight modern airports and many sports and tourist airports. Croatia Airlines provides domestic and foreign flights.
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Tourism, especially on the Dalmatian coast with Dubrovnik as the main attraction, is starting to pick up again. In 1994 a modest 3.5 million foreign visitors visited Croatia. In the former Yugoslavia, Croatia contributed 80% of tourism revenues, so the prospects are favorable. In addition to historic cities and nature parks, the islands, coasts and thermal baths are popular. The Plitvice Park is perhaps the most famous, here 16 lakes are linked by beautiful waterfalls.
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Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and the province of Zagreb. The city is located in the north of the country, close to the border with Slovenia. The Upper Town (Gradec) is the medieval part of the city of Zagreb. It is the most interesting part of the city: everywhere you can find traces of Zagreb's turbulent past. You enter the Old City through a stone gate, the only one of the medieval gates to have been preserved. There is a shrine for the Virgin Mary in the city gate. St. Mark's Square is the center of the Upper Town and is dominated by the beautiful Church of St. Mark from the 13th century. The most striking element of this church is the roof with colored tiles. Zagreb has a thriving café life and there are numerous terraces in the city center and far beyond. Read more on the Zagreb page of Landenweb.
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Pula is one of the most famous historical cities in Croatia. The biggest crowd puller of this city is without a doubt the impressive amphitheater. It was built in the first century and is amazingly well preserved. The amphitheater is still the stage for festivals, operas and concerts today and films are shown regularly. It seats 23,000 spectators and is a good example of how good the Romans were at designing amphitheaters. The temple of Augustus is also worth a visit. The temple was built under the direction of Augustus and he very modestly dedicated the sanctuary to himself. The temple consists of six columns. Under Byzantine rule, the temple was renamed a church. Next to the Augustus temple is the Gradska Palaca, or the town hall, which was built in 1296. This beautiful building must be held together with steel cables in order not to collapse. Both black and white truffles are found in the forests of Istria. If you want to eat special, it is absolutely advisable to eat a dish with truffles. Read more on the Pula page of Landenweb.
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Porec is a tourist destination on the west coast of Istria. The Euphrasian Basilica is one of Porec's most famous historical sites. Since 1997, the basilica has even officially been a World Heritage Site. The basilica is named after Bishop Euphrates. The Byzantine style in which the basilica is made is truly breathtaking. You will find beautiful mosaics and impressive statues. There is an interesting natural sight about 6 kilometers from Porec. Namely the Cave of Baredine. Here you can see the most beautiful underground gems such as crystals, stalagmites and stalactites. In addition, the cave has a fauna that is found nowhere else in the world. The inner man does not lack anything in Porec. Just like in Italy, wine and olive oil are produced in the vicinity of Porec that are in no way inferior to the Italian varieties. The Croats themselves say that Istria's cuisine is based on fruits from the earth and the sea. Read more on the Porec page of country web.
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Split is an ancient port city centered around the huge Roman-era Diocletian's Palace. The city with its many bars, restaurants and souvenir shops is today very focused on tourism. Split is an important stop on an Adriatic Sea cruise vacation. There are a number of interesting islands nearby, which can be reached by ferry. The old town is full of old buildings and palaces. Split has a fantastic harbor area. In recent years, Split has invested a lot of money to re-present itself, the Riva boulevard is a good example of this.
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Zadar is full of tourist attractions, from beaches, squares and promenades to old churches and Roman ruins. The peninsula of the old town is bordered by water and this is the part of Zagreb where many of the oldest churches are situated, together with the remains of the Forum Romanum. A special attraction in the old town of Zadar is the promenade Riva. Although only parts of the medieval city walls and gates remain, tourists can still see the former grandeur with a little imagination.
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Travelers to Dubrovnik never have to wonder if there is plenty to see and do in this Croatian city. There are beautiful churches, monasteries, medieval sites, the remaining Renaissance heritage and many museums, not to mention the overwhelming city walls. The spectacular medieval walls, fortresses and gates of Dubrovnik's Old Town are its most overwhelming sight. The walls were built between the 13th century and the 16th century. The walls surround the old town and are between 25 meters and 82 meters high and from 6 meters to 20 meters thick and have literally protected the city for centuries. The views over the city and the sea are beautiful and there are four forts: St. John's Fort, the Revelin Fort, the Bokar Fort and the beautiful Fort Lovrijenac. A walk on the walls takes about an hour, longer if you take the time.
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Oliver, J / Croatia
Waard, P de / Reishandboek Kroatie
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