Croatia in Europa with Dubrovnik
CROATIA extends from the foothills of the Julian Alps in the north-west and the Pannonian Plain in the east, over the Dinara mountain range in its central region, to the Adriatic coast in the south. Area: 56,542 qkm, with an additional 31,067 qkm of territorial waters.
Population: 4.400.000 Capital Zagreb (770.058 inhabitants - the administrative, cultural, academic and communication centre of the country).
Length of coast: 5,835 km - including 4,058 km of island, islet and reef coastline. Number of islands, islets and reefs 1,185. The largest islands are those of Krk and Cres. There are 67 inhabited islands.
Climate: Northern Croatia has a continental climate; Central Croatia has a semi-highland and highland climate, while the Croatian coast has a Mediterranean climate. Winter temperatures range from -1 to 30°C in the continental region, -5 to 0°C in the mountain region and 5 to 10°C in the coastal region. Summer temperatures range from 22 to 26°C in the continental region, 15 to 20°C in the mountain region and 26 to 30°C in the coastal region. Population: The majority of the population are Croats.
National minorities include Serbs, Moslems, Slovenes, Italians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, and others. Official language and alphabet: Croatian language and Latin alphabet. Religions: The majority of the population are Roman Catholics, and in addition there are a number of those of Orthodox faith, as well as Muslims, and Christians of other denominations.
Currency: Kuna (1 Kuna = 100 Lipa). There are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Lipa coins, 1, 2, 5 and 25 Kuna coins and 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Kuna banknotes. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, exchange offices, post offices and at most tourist agencies, hotels and camping grounds. Banking hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays banks are open until 1 p.m. In the larger cities some banks are also open on Sundays. Credit cards: Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/Mastercard, Visa, Sport Card International). Cash dispensing machines are ubiquitous.
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Water: Tap water is potable throughout Croatia.
The telephone code for Croatia is +385. Time zone: GMT plus one hour in winter and GMT plus two in summer
Travel documentation: Passport or some other internationally recognised identification document. Tourists may remain in Croatia for up to three months.
There are no Customs charges for personal belongings. Foreign currency can be imported and exported freely. Domestic currency up to the value of 2,000 Kuna can be exported. Professional and technical equipment of significant value should be reported when entering the country. Pets must have valid international veterinary certificates. Purchase tax reimbursement for foreign citizens: Tourists making purchases in Croatia (apart from petroleum derivatives) which exceed 500 Kuna per receipt may reclaim VAT ("PDV"). At point of purchase the sales person will provide on request a form PDV-P, which should be filled out and stamped, on the spot. On leaving Croatia the receipt must be verified by the Croatian Customs service. A PDV refund in Kuna can be obtained within six months, either at the same shop where the goods were purchased (in which case the tax is refunded immediately), or by posting the verified receipt back to the shop, together with the account number into which the refund should be paid. In this case the refund is dealt with within 15 days of receipt of the claim. Medical care: Medical assistance is available in hospitals providing a 24-hour emergency service.
1 January - New Year's Day; 6. January - Epiphany; Easter, including Easter Monday; 1 May - Labour Day; Corpus Christi (Movable feast); 22 June - Anti-Fascist Resistance Day; 25 June - Statehood Day; 5 August - Victory Day and National Thanksgiving Day; 15 August - Assumption; 8 October - Independence Day; 1 November - All Saints' Day; 25 and 26 December - Christmas Holidays.
Shops and department stores are open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., or to 3 p.m. A smaller number of stores close between noon and 4 p.m. Many stores are also open on Sundays, especially in the summer, and a smaller number in the larger cities are open 24 hours a day. Public services and companies usually work from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Post and Telecommunications: Post Offices are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays until 1 p.m. There are Post Offices in the larger cities which are open until 10 p.m. in the summer. Postage stamps are sold in Post Offices and at newsstands. Public telephones can be used only with phone cards, which can be purchased in Post Offices and at newsstands, in hotels and tourist complexes.
The Adriatic sea got its name from an ancient port of the same name. The Adriatic spans from the Balkan to the Apennine peninsula. The part belonging to the Republic of Croatia is the east coast which extends all the way from Prevlaka in the south to cape Savudrija in the west, including all islands, islets and cliffs along the coast, and the archipelago of Palagruza (the number of islands, islets and cliffs is more than 1700). This is a unique area in Europe for cruising with motor boats, speedboats, or sailboats, but also for enjoying the underwater world.
Historical facts - 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 and 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 (for example&Mac246; Pharos, today's Starigrad, on the islands 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 from wine to wheat, oils and perfumes. Wherever you choose to go diving, you will find the remains of Antique ships and their cargoes. One of the most precious findings from that time are remains of pythos or dolias, large pottery vessels which were built into ships and used to transport bulk cargo (wheat, etc). One such site is near Cavtat, while another is near Murter. A new era dawned with the arrival of the Slavs, a period characterized by constant struggle for supremacy and by defence against diverse enemies. Dubrovnik, eminent in its position as a republic, played a leading role in culture and trade. A 17th-century shipwreck bears witness to those times - a galley which sailed from Venice carrying muran glass, window glass, and other valuable objects, and was fitted with cannons. But during a storm it sank near the island of Olipe, off the coast of Dubrovnik. In the 18th century, Napoleon ruled for a short period of time, after which he was replaced by the Austrian monarchy. During the next hundred years, Italy and Austria fought each other for supremacy of the east coast, culminating in the battle of Vis in 1866. The Austrian fleet, led by Admiral Tegetthoff, who commanded the battleship Erzherzog Ferdinand Max, was opposed by Admiral Persano, commander of the Italian fleet. In the battle, Persano, on his flag ship the battleship Re d'Italia, was roundly trounced by Tegetthoff, and the Italian fleet withdrew in defeat. Testimony to those 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 the 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.
Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous, and is therefore known as "the cuisine of regions". Its modern roots date back to Proto-Slavic and ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by the earlier Proto-Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more famous gastronomic orders of today - Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish - while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine - Italian and French. A large body of books bears witness to the high level of gastronomic culture in Croatia, which in European terms dealt with food in the distant past, such as the Gazophylacium by Belostenec, a Latin-Kajkavian dictionary dating from 1740 that preceded a similar French dictionary. There is also Beletristic literature by Marulic, Hektorovic, Drzic and other writers, down to the work written by Ivan Bierling in 1813 containing recipes for the preparation of 554 various dishes (translated from the German original), and which is considered to be the first Croatian cookery book.