Republic of Croatia extends from the eastern edges of the Alps in the north-west to the Pannonian lowlands and the banks of the Danube in the east. Dinara mountain range covers its central region, and its southern parts extend to the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The country borders Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Serbia & Montenegro to the east and Bosnia & Herzegovina (southeast from Zagreb; northeast from the Adriatic coastline).
Based on its natural characteristics, as well as its cultural and historical development, Croatia can be divided into three geographically distinct zones:
1. the Coastal region
2. the Mountains region
3. the Pannonian region
Surface: the mainland covers 56,542 km2, and the surface of the territorial sea is 31,067 km2.
Highest peak: Dinara: 1,831 m above sea level.
Population: 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.
Capital: Zagreb (779,145 inhabitants), the economic, traffic, cultural and academic centre of the country.
System of government: multi-party parliamentary republic.
Language: The official language is Croatian.
Currency: kuna (1 kuna = 100 lipa).
Foreign currency can be exchanged in banks, exchange offices, post offices, travel agencies, hotels, camps, marinas; cheques can be cashed in banks. ATMs are plentiful throughout the country and banks, authorized bureaux de change, post offices or most hotels will exchange foreign currency or travelers cheques. Banks open Monday to Saturday and some banks also open on Sundays in the main cities. Major credit cards are widely accepted at the main hotels and restaurants, and may be used to draw cash from ATMs, which are widely available in Zagreb.
Time: Local time is GMT
+1 (GMT +2 from last Saturday in March to end of October).
Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European style round, two-pin plugs are standard.
Communications: The international access code for Croatia is +385. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The city code for Zagreb is (0)1 and (0)20 for Dubrovnik. Public phones take phone cards, which can be bought in post offices and hotels. GSM operators have active roaming agreements with most international networks, and cover most of the country. Internet cafes are available in the larger towns and cities.
Duty Free: Travelers to Croatia can enter the country with the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 1 liter wine, or 1 liter spirits; 250ml of eau de cologne and one bottle of perfume. Regulations apply to firearms and radio instruments. No item of archaeological, historical, ethnographic, artistic, cultural or scientific value may leave the country without a license issued by the appropriate authorities.
Tourist Office: Croatian National Tourist Board, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 469 9333 or www.croatia.hr
Emergencies: 112 ; 92 (Police); 94 (Ambulance)
Climate: There are two climate zones; a temperate continental climate, locally also a mountainous climate, prevails in the interior, whereas a pleasant Mediterranean climate prevails along the Adriatic coast, with an overwhelming number of sunny days, dry and hot summers, mild and humid winters; average temperature in the inland: January 0 to 2°C, August 19 to 23°C; average temperature at the seaside: January 6 to 11°C, August 21 to 27 °C; the temperature is about 12°C in winter, and 25°C in summer.
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 eastcoast 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 forcruising with motor boats, speedboats, or sailboats, but also for enjoying the underwater world.
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.
Like many countries in Western Europe, Croatia was founded on the ruins of the Roman Empire. After arriving in the seventh century to the territory of present-day Croatia and converting to Roman Catholicism, the Croats were politicaly organized in dukedoms. In 925, Croatian King Tomislav united the dukedoms, establishing the first Croatian state. Later, Croatia retained its legal independent status and autonomy throught the personal union within the framework of the Hungarian empire, and the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1918 Croatia joined the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, later renamed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Following the Communist takeover of 1945, Croatia became one of six federal states of the new Yugoslav federation led by Josip Broz Tito who, although himself an ethnic Croat, opposed any expression of Croatian nationalism. However, Croatian nationalism grew once again, following Tito’s death in 1980.
The disintegration of Yugoslavia began in 1990, after multi-party elections in Slovenia and Croatia. The fighting in Croatia, between the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) and Serb militia on one side and hastily assembled Croatian defense forces on the other, was ended by a UN-brokered ceasefire in January 1992.
Although having emerged into the new millennium from a decade in which it experienced a bitter war, Croatia had made sufficient progress to apply for EU membership by early 2003 and it is currently a candidate country.
With 1778km (1111 miles) of mainland coast, emerald-blue waters, secluded pebble beaches and countless unspoilt islands, Croatia is an ideal destination for those who want to avoid the crowds and to enjoy the sea and the sunshine. While the vast majority of tourists head straight for the Adriatic coast, inland Croatia also hides many places of interest, starting with the capital, Zagreb.
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