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Croatia's early history began as part of the Illyrian Kingdom around the 4th century BC, until the rise of the Roman Republic, which encroached on Illyrian territory, sparking the Illyrian Wars in 229, 219, and 168 BC.
With the arrival of the Croats came the division of the region into the Duchy of Pannonia and the Duchy of Dalmatia, which were overseen by Francia. The nation became the Kingdom of Croatia around 925 with its first king, Tomislav. The Hungarian ruler, Ladislaus I took control of the kingdom and war broke out between the two nations in 1102. The war ended with a union formed between the two kingdoms. The Republic of Venice stretched out to cover the coasts of Dalmatia.
The Ottoman invasions in the 15th century threatened the Croat kingdoms, and the Habsburgs offered their protection in exchange for allowing the nation to be ruled by Ferdinand I. This lasted for some time, but the Ottoman armies persisted and were slowly pushed out. Croatian autonomy returned in 1868.
Croatia became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918, which lasted until it became the Independent State of Croatia in 1941. The independence was short-lived, however, when it joined Socialist Yugoslavia in 1945. Yugoslavia eventually began to decline in the 1980s, officially dissolving in 1990. Croatia became involved in its war of independence, with border disputes with Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro. The war lasted until 1995 after much destruction and Croatia has been recovering from the war as an independent nation since.
Croatia shares borders with Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Slovenia, and is just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy.
- Zagreb (capital)
Croatia is a Central European nation along the Adriatic Sea in the Mediterranean. The territory of Croatia includes a narrow coastal strip and an inland region that stretches eastward. The extreme southern coastal region of Croatia is separated from the rest of the country by a narrow strip of Bosnia and Herzegovina's coastline. Croatia's territory also includes many small islands, of which 48 are inhabited. Major islands of Croatia include Cres and Krk.
Points of Interest
Croatia's capital is also its largest city, but with its location inland, it is not one of Croatia's biggest attractions. That said, Zagreb offers an medieval old town with quaint cobbled streets and architecture. The capital offers cultural attractions, parks, and many museums.
The city of Dubrovnik, located in the far southern part of the country, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its medieval city . The castles and medieval city walls of Dubrovnik make it one of the country's best attractions and have earned it the nickname the "Pearl of the Adriatic." The city has many historic attractions, including many parts of the historic Old Town as well as beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea.
Croatia's history as part of the Roman Empire can still be seen in parts of the country, including the seaside city of Pula, which is home to a well preserved Roman amphitheater, and Split, which is home to Roman ruins.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is Plitvice National Park, which contains 16 lakes in varying shades of turquoise, as well as waterfalls, and lush landscapes.
Croatia has several major international airports, including one in its capital, Zagreb, and in major cities Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik and Rijeka. These airports offer direct service to many destinations in Europe, as well as to Qatar and Tel Aviv. Train service is available between major cities in Croatia and to international destinations including most countries in Central Europe. Similarly, buses are available and are an inexpensive form of transport to many domestic and international destinations.
Since Croatia offers many coastal attractions, boats are an important method of transport. Ferry service transports passengers to Italy, Greece, and the many islands of Croatia. Croatian roads are fairly well maintained, so renting a car is a good way to achieve the most flexibility. In cities, taxis are the preferred way to get around, but public transportation in the form of trams, buses, and trains are frequently available.
Last Updated : December 12, 2013
Facts about Croatia
Lat Long45° 48' 0 N, 16° 0' 0 E
Major ReligionRoman Catholicism 86.28%, Orthodox Christianity 4.44%, Protestantism 0.34%, other Christianity
Form of GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Prime MinisterZoran Milanovic
GDP$80.620 billion 2014 estimate
Time ZoneCET (UTC+1)