Recently getting more and more popular, especially as a summer destination, Croatia is the typical place offering any kind of attractions even to the most demanding tourist: crystalline seawater, white sandy beaches, majestic national parks, historical sites, delicious food, enchanted coral reefs and yet waterfalls and streams evidently borrowed from the heaven. Croatia also owes part of its popularity to the famous directors David Benioff and Daniel Brett Weiss who chose this wonderland as the set for one of the most award-winning TV show of any time, Game of Thrones.
The history of this country has seen many important changes over the years: from being an ancient Greek colony first and then becoming in 9 AD territory of the Roman Empire under Diocletian, through the fight between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire during XV and XVI centuries and the following annexation to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, till the inclusion in Yugoslavia and the recent independence gained only in 1991. All these events had a deep influence on the homogeneity of Croatian identity and culture. The country has an unknown number of dialects which can often make it difficult for Croatians to understand one another.
The same sort of influence seems to have deeply affected also the local cuisine, which varies significantly from one region to another. Dalmatia and Istria draw upon culinary influences of Italian and other Mediterranean styles which prominently feature various fish, pasta and fresh vegetables. The continental cuisine instead is heavily influenced as expected by Austria and Hungarian cuisine: meat, cooked vegetables and freshwater seafood are predominant.
Also the territory itself is quite variegated, with almost 10% of it made up of 11 nature parks, 8 big national parks and 2 natural reserves. About one third of Croatia is covered in forest and one of the most beautiful coastlines in the Mediterranean sea, featuring over a thousand between large and small islands, belongs to this nation. It is easy to imagine at this point why such place is considered the paradise for divers and passionates of rafting and adventures in the nature in general.
Croatia has seven famous UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Plitvice Lakes national park, the historical complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, the Old City of Dubrovnik, the historic city of Trogir, the Cathedral of St. James (in Šibenik), the Stari Grad Plain (a suggestive agricultural landscape set up by the ancient Greek colonists near Hvar), the Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards and Euphrasian Basilica in the historic centre of Poreč.
To conclude here are some interesting facts about Croatia. Despite being officially part of the European union since 2013, the Euro is not the currency adopted here. At its place people here still use the Kuna, which is actually the Croatian word for “marten”. A marten is an animal whose precious skin was used in ancient times to pay taxes in the Roman provinces of Eastern Croatia and this forest rodent still appeared curiously on some coins in use here during the Middle Ages before giving its name to the new currency adopted since 1994. Furthermore, Croatia is considered the motherland of one of the most common garments used nowadays, especially for business men and white collars: the necktie. The “cravat“, as it was originally named, was a piece of cloth worn by the Croatian soldiers who served as mercenaries for the King of France during the Thirty Years’ war (1618-1648). The boy-king Louis XIV appreciated so much this costume to start wearing a lace cravat when he was just seven, setting the new fashion for the whole French nobility.