Croatia extends from the furthest eastern edges of the Alps in the north-west to the Pannonian lowlands and the banks of the Danube in the east; its central region is covered by the Dinara mountain range, and its southern parts extend to the coast of the Adriatic Sea.
The mainland covers 56,542 km², and the surface of the territorial sea is 31,067 km².
4,437,460 inhabitants; composition of population: the majority of the population are Croats; national minorities are Serbs, Slovenes, Hungarians, Bosnians, Italians, Czechs and others. System of government: multi-party parliamentary republic.
Zagreb (779,145 inhabitants), the economic, traffic, cultural and academic centre of the country.
5,835 km of which 4,058 km comprise a coastline of islands, solitary rocks and reefs. Number of islands, solitary rocks and reefs: 1,185; the largest islands are Krk and Cres; there are 50 inhabited islands.
Dinara: 1,831 m above sea level.
Croatia is indeed unique, not only for its crystal clear, clean blue sea, but also for a thousand years of different cultures that have replaced each other and sometimes assimilated in these areas. The Adriatic sea is not only a deep gulf in the Mediterranean cut into the Continent of Europe thereby creating most economical trade route between Europe an the East, it is also the cradle of ancient civilizations. There is much material evidence about that which is finally beginning to come to light, from the depths of Adriatic caves and from the deep blue sea. The east coast of the Adriatic sea was inhabited as early as the beginning of the early Stone Age, and there is proof that most of the accessible islands were also inhabited (archaeological findings in caves near the islands of Hvar and Palagruza, etc.). Thanks to the favourable geographical characteristics of our coast, with its numerous bays, inlets and coves, the coastal belt has ever been a significant mercantile and nautical route. Archaeological findings prove that in the 6th century BC the ancient Greeks had commerce with the Illyrians by means of the sea, and that they founded their colonies there (Pharos, today's Starigrad, on the island of Hvar and Issa – or Vis).
Later on, the Romans arrived, and they not only built palaces and summer residences but they also spent a considerable amount of time on the sea, and there are many underwater findings located between Pula and Cavtat which show this to be true. Such findings are mainly amphorae, which were at the time commonly used for storing everything fom wine to wheat, oils and perfumes.
Testimony to the glorious times can be found not only on the mainland, but also under the sea in the shape of shipwrecks and remains of the detritus of great ships. The period of Austro-Hungarian rule commenced thereafter. Ports were built and fortified, trade and shipbuilding flourished. During the two World Wars, the Adriatic was one of the more important areas of battle, and there are many shipwrecks dating from those periods. Near Pula, for example, which at a time was a strategically vital naval harbour twenty shipwrecks have been located, including a number of submarines, destroyers, and torpedo-boats. The Adriatic Sea has always been an important maritime route between East and West, which can still be seen today because of the numerous relics, which remind us that the past should never be forgotten, but rather used as a lesson for the future.
Did you know about Croatia?
A cravat, symbol of culture and elegance, is associated with Croats. They have not actually patented it, but they spread it as an accesorry across Europe in the 17th century. Then it became and, to this day, remained a necessary article of clothing under the name of Croatia.
What is the histoy of the cravat? After Turkish attacks, the Croatian Military Border was formed and its soldiers were an inexhaustible source for other European battlefields. They participated in the German Thirty Years War (1618-1648) and they were easily recognized because of the scarves around their necks, a predecessor of the cravat. From 1635 Croatian soldiers also served in France and in 1667 a special regiment named Royal Cravates was formed. Common soldiers wore scarves made of coarse materials and officers wore scarves made of fine cotton or silk.
These neck scarves were a part of Croatian battle attire and a kind of identification because uniforms did not exist at the time. It is known that the French king Louis XIV was involved in secret negotiations with counts Zrinski and Frankopan in order to get Croatia under French patronage. That failed, but the Sun King started to wear a cravat because it was more practical and more beautiful than the starched high-lace collar the French used to wear. When the most powerful European king put on the cravat, a new fashion style became popular. The court even employed a cravat-maker (cravatier) who delivered a few cravats to the king on a daily basis so he could choose the one that suited him most. The cravat quickly spread across Europe. After the French, the Belgians and the Dutch also accepted it and then it came to the British Isles which was crucial for its development. Then it conquered all continents. The English have turned the cravat into a cult. They changed the patterns and the way of knotting. Until the 19th century, the cravat was white, but the English introduced coloured cravats and they showed someone’s style. Later, Jesse Langsdorf, an American textile manufacturer, made a revolutionary step by cutting the fabric into three parts and then sewing it back in a way which enabled easier tying and industrial production. The Italian have added new artistic elements which stressed the individuality of the person wearing it.
Although there are, theoretically, 85 ways to knot a cravat, only a dozen of knots suit the usual notions of symmetry and balance. The most famous knot is a single or double Windsor knot which was introduced by the Duke of Windsor. Today the most popular shapes of cravats are the elongated ones (half-bottle shape), bow ties and the so-called ascot-ties.
Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a famous inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer. He was an important contributor to the birth of commercial electricity, and is best known for developing the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system. His many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were based on the theories of electromagnetic technology discovered by Michael Faraday. Tesla's patents and theoretical work also formed the basis of wireless communication and the radio.
Born in the village called Smiljan (now part of Gospić, Croatia), in the Croatian Military Frontier of the Austrian Empire (modern-day Croatia), Tesla was a subject of the Austrian Empire by birth and later became an American citizen. Because of his 1894 demonstration of short range wireless communication through radio and as the eventual victor in the "War of Currents", he was widely respected as one of the greatest electrical engineers who worked in America. He pioneered modern electrical engineering and many of his discoveries were of groundbreaking importance. In the United States during this time, Tesla's fame rivaled that of any other inventor or scientist in history or popular culture. Tesla demonstrated wireless energy transfer to power electronic devices in 1891, and aspired to intercontinental wireless transmission of industrial power in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.
The SI unit measuring magnetic field B (also referred to as the magnetic flux density and magnetic induction), the tesla, was named in his honor.
Eduard Penkala was born in Liptovský Mikuláš (in what is now Slovakia), to Franjo Penkala, who was of Polish Jew heritage, and Maria Penkala who was of Dutch heritage. He attended the University of Vienna and Technische Universität Dresden, graduating from the latter in 1898 and going on to earn a doctorate in organic chemistry. He then moved with his wife and family to Zagreb (which was then in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, also part of Austria-Hungary) and subsequently added "Slavoljub" (meaning "Slav-lover") to his name, becoming a naturalized Croat.
He became renowned for further development of the mechanical pencil (1906)– then called an "automatic pencil" – and the first solid-ink fountain pen (1907).Collaborating with an entrepreneur by the name of Edmund Moster, he started the Penkala-Moster Company and built a pen-and-pencil factory that was one of the biggest in the world at the time. This company, now called TOZ-Penkala, still exists today. TOZ stands for "Tvornica olovaka Zagreb," which means "Zagreb pencil factory."
Krapina is a town in northern Croatia, in region of Zagorje. The Zagorje region has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Age. Krapina is famous for an archaeological discovery in 1899, where a population of Neanderthals* was discovered by geologist, archaeologist and paleontologist Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger. The archaeological discovery on a hill called Hušnjak unearth over eight hundred fossil remains depicting over almost 75 Neanderthals individuals, along with tools and weapons, making the site one of the most significant in Europe. Studies of these Neanderthals fossil show that they died between the age of sixteen and twenty four. In total approximately 884 bones were discovered.
Although the bones and artefacts are now displayed in the Croatian Natural History Meseum in Zagreb, there is a park on the hill in Krapina with sculpted life-size models of Neanderthals engaged in everyday activities such as wielding clubs and throwing stones. The nearby Museum of Evolution has a few prehistoric artefacts and other exhibits tracing the history and geology of the region.
What is a Neanderthal?
The Neanderthal or Neandertal, is an extinct member of the Homo genus that are either classified as a subspecies of humans (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or as a separate species (Homo neanderthalensis). Neanderthals have been discovered in Europe and parts of western and central Asia.
Neanderthal skulls were first discovered in Engis, Belgium (1829) by Philippe-Charles Schmerling and in Forbes’ Quarry, Gibraltar (1848). They are commonly described as having broad chest, slopping forehead and no chin. Neanderthal cranial capacity is often thought to have been as large or larger than modern humans, indicating that their brain may have been the same size or bigger; however, a 1993 analysis of 118 hominid crania concluded that the cranial capacity of modern humans is slightly larger than the Neanderthal man.
…Croats first settled the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea in the seventh century A.D. Tomislav, the first Croatian king, was crowned in the year 925 A.D.
…The stone which built the White House in Washington D.C. comes from the island of Brac.
…The eighth deepest cave in the world Lukina cave with a total depth of 1,392 m is situated in the heart of the national park Sjeverni Velebit at an altitude of 1,475 m above sea level.
…Dalmatian dogs originate from Dalmatian Riviera, they were “spotted” in a 17th Century oil painting in monastery in Dalmatia – this is thought to be the first record of the infamous pooch.
…The first torpedo was constructed by the croatian retired naval officer Ivan Lupis Vukic in the 19th. Although similar gadgets, ike submarine mines, existed 50 years before, he was the first who invented the misile that can move alone. In 1860 he presented his invention to the Austro-Hungarian navy. With the authorization of the navy, in the city Rijeka was founded the factory 'Torpedo' that was producing those missiles.
…Ivan Vucetic- criminologist and anthropologist, was born on the island of Hvar (later emigrated to Argentina). He is a pioneer of scientific dactiloscopy (identification by fingerprints) and his methods of identification were and are used worldwide.
…The Amphitheatre in Pula is one of the best preserved in the world, which was once the site of gladiator fights. Built in the 1st century AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, it is the 6th largest amphitheatre in existence.
…Lim Channel, also known as Lim Bay or Lim Fjord – only 20 minutes drive from Rovinj (Istria) is over 10 km long and has been declared "a special maritime reserve" and "an area of outstanding natural beauty"
…The cathedral of St.Domnius in SPlit is the the oldest serving cathedral in the world. It was built in the beginning of the 4th century, as mausoleum of Roman emperor Diocletianus and transformed into Christian church in the 7th century. Domnius, or as the Croats call him Duje, was the bishop at the nearby town of Salona who was martyred by Diocletianus in 304 AD. St. Domnius cathedral is also one of the smallest cathedrals in the world.
…Parachute was invented by the Croatian scientist and inventor Faust Vrančić (Fausto Veranzio). Although widely perceived as an Italian, Vrancic was a Croatian born in the town of Šibenik, about 75 kilometres from Split, but spent most of his life in Venice. Among other things, having studied the schetch of the parachute by Leonardo Da Vinci, Vrancic designed his own version. He is widely believed to have performed a first parachute jumping experiment for real and, therefore, to be the first man to build and test a parachute. He did it as a 65-year old in 1617 by jumping from St Mark's Campanile in Venice.
…Humans believed that the Moon has an atmosphere, until Croatian Ruđer Bošković proved otherwise. This 18th century physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian, Jesuit, and a polymath from the city of Dubrovnik is responsible for a number of breakthrough scientific discoveries, but best known for his valuable findings in astronomy. A lunar crater is named after him.
…The oldest pharmacy in the world is located in Croatia. It was established in Dubrovnik, city about 200 km from Split, in 1317. It has been working up to this day. Dubrovnik boasts a long history of a health regulations and institutions. Official medical service was introduced in 1301, a refuge for old people was opened in 1347, the first quarantine hospital was opened in 1377.
…Once Earth was considered a geologically compact entity. Mohorovičić concluded that the Earth has several layers above a core. He was the first to establish, based on the evidence from seismic waves, the discontinuity that separates the Earth's crust from its mantle. This is now called the Mohorovičić discontinuity or Moho. Because of this Andrija Mohorovicic is credited as the father of modern seismology.
…One of the most famous beaches in Europe is located only a short boat ride away from Split. Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) is a narrow white pebble beach on a promontory near Bol, a small willage on the island of Brač. The unique shape of the beach shifts with the changes in tide, currents and wind, veering out 634 metres into the sea. It's a premier site for wind surfing.
…Kornati archipelago is the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the northern part of Dalmatia, south from Zadar and west from Šibenik, and north from Split. It consists of 140 islands and islets, some large, some small, in a sea area of about 320 square kilometers. From northwest to southeast they strech for 35 kilometers. It is one of the most popular nautical tourist spots in the Adriatic.
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