Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands.
Croatia is a sovereign state at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean.
Its capital city is Zagreb, which forms one of the country’s primary subdivisions, along with its twenty counties.
Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and has diverse, mostly continental and Mediterranean climates.
The country’s population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism.
The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Peter Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir.
Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne.
In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognised State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. A fascist Croatian puppet state existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a founding member and a federal constituent of Second Yugoslavia, a constitutionally socialist state. In June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration.
The service sector dominates Croatia’s economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world.
The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia’s most important trading partner.
Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.
Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia; the rest is imported. Croatia provides a universal health care system and free primary and secondary education, while supporting culture through numerous public institutions and through corporate investments in media and publishing.
Croatian traditional cuisine varies from one region to another. Dalmatia and Istria draw upon culinary influences of Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines which prominently feature various seafood, cooked vegetables and pasta, as well as condiments such as olive oil and garlic. The continental cuisine is heavily influenced by Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish culinary styles. In that area, meats, freshwater fish and vegetable dishes are predominant.
There are two distinct wine-producing regions in Croatia. The continental region in the north-east of the country, especially Slavonia is capable of producing premium wines, particularly whites. Along the north coast, Istrian and Krk wines are similar to those produced in neighbouring Italy, while further south in Dalmatia, Mediterranean-style red wines are the norm.
Annual production of wine exceeds 140 million litres. Croatia was almost exclusively a wine-consuming country up until the late 18th century when a more massive production and consumption of beer started, the annual consumption of beer in 2008 was 83.3 litres per capita which placed Croatia on a relatively high 15th place among the world’s countries
Zadar, the largest city in the region, gained its urban structure in Roman times; during the time of Julius Caesar and EmperorAugustus, the town was fortified and the city walls with towers and gates were built. On the western side of the town were theforum, the basilica and the temple, while outside the town were the amphitheatre and cemeteries. The aqueduct which supplied the town with water is partially preserved. Inside the ancient town, a medieval town had developed with a series of churches andmonasteries being built.
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