Our trip around the globe continues with a beautiful little sliver of Europe, the Republic of Croatia. Located at a crossroad of Central and Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean, Croatia doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves – so let's fix that, with our choice of 10 amazing facts about Croatia!
Croatian World Records
Remember when we told you about that awesome Croatian invention, the neck-tie? Apparently we here at Top10Archive aren't the only ones who think so, and this picture is proof. Go ahead, take a look.. Nope, that is NOT photoshopped! It's no biggy, just the longest neck-tie ever that measured 808 meters or 2,650 feet long and wrapped around the Pula Arena. I mean, come on world, this is just class! Croatia is also home to the Largest box of popcorn, longest distance moonwalked in one hour - at 5.7 kilometers or 3.54 miles - largest collection of panda-related items, and the largest chocolate bar by area.
The Significance of January 15th
Whereas the United Sates has July 4th, Mexico has September 16th, and France has July 14th, the European country of Croatia celebrates recognition of its independence on January 15th. Though the war for Croatian independence was still technically active, the Croat and the Yugoslav People’s Army, backed by Serbian forces, entered a ceasefire on January 2nd, 1992. Thirteen days later, the European Community began to officially recognize Croatia as an independent state. It was June 1991 when Croatia had officially declared its independence and October 8th of the same year marked the severing of ties with Yugoslavia, but it wasn’t until 1992 that this independence was recognized by greater European powers.
The Town of Hum
Croatia is no large country with its approximate population of 4.2 million people, but it certainly doesn’t sound small enough to be home to one of the smallest towns in the world. Hum, located centrally on the Istrian peninsula, has a population of just over 20 people, all of whom are surrounded by ancient walls that date back to the Middle Ages. The town was first mentioned at the start of the 12th century and was originally known as Cholm. Throughout its years, the town built a watch tower and church, but never seemed to grow and flourish into a budding town overflowing with citizens. It stands today as an extremely small town and one of Croatia’s more popular tourist destinations.
Before Croatia was Croatia, it belonged to the Romans; but even before them, regions of what is now Croatian land were inhabited by Neanderthals. That’s right, Croatia was once the site of Palaeolithic human life, or at least so says discoveries of early human life found in what is now the Zagorje region, the village of Punikve, and the Sandalja Cave in Pula. Croatia has proven to be a gold mind of Neanderthal remains, specifically an area in Krapina, which is considered the one of the most abundant sites in the world. When the Stone Age came to an end and gave way to the Bronze Age, Croatia became the site of the Vucedol culture.
If Cruella de Vil really wants to get her hands on a pack of Dalmatians, she should be looking in Croatia, specifically the historical region of Dalmatia. The spotted pup, made famous by Walt Disney and firehouses across the world, is traced back to an alter painting dated between 1600 and 1630 AD, found in Veli Losinj. During the 18th century, the archives of the Archdiocese of Dakova describes the dog, dubbing it Canis Dalmaticus. Croatians have also brought the world the Croatian Sheepdog, the Tomjak, Posavac Hound and the Istrian Coarse-haired Hound.
The beauty of Croatian modern and historic architecture is matched only by the majestic creatures that call the European country home. Once near extinction, the wolf population has increased a bit in regions of Croatia thanks partially to laws protecting them from hunters. Even closer to vanishing from not just Croatia but all of Europe is the Eurasian Lynx, known for being the largest cat in Europe. Much like the Lynx, the Golden Jackal is another sport for poachers, its fur fetching a pretty penny. Unlike the Lynx, though, the Jackal still thrives within the region, along with Eurasian beaver, the Beech Marten, otters, and quite the variety of bats, like the horseshoe bat, Giant noctule, and long-fingered bat.
Croatian Tourist Attractions
Croatia is a country ripe with culture and history, so you can bet there is plenty to fill up your camera’s memory card. One impressive series of structures are the Dubrovnik city walls, a collection of forts, casemates, towers, and bastions that make up a historic perimeter defense for the city of Dubrovnik, dating back as far as the 9th century. Near Dubrovnik is the Trsteno Arboretum, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the region, home to 500-year-old Asian plane-trees. Beautiful beaches are in no short supply, but there is only one Croatian Museum of Broken Relationships, a collection of artifacts and relics of failed relationships donated by those seeking some odd artistic closure.
To be Croatian, you must eat like a Croatian! So… what is it that Croats eat? It actually depends on the region you’re visiting, but some more common dishes include burek, a pastry stuffed with meat, cheese, or sometimes apples; a shish kabob dish known as raznjici; the spicy pork sausage, kulen; and palacinke, a crepe-like dessert stuffed with a myriad of sweets or fruits. Heavy Mediterranean influence can be seen across all regions, but you’ll also come across Italian, Greek, and Turkish influence in everything from homemade pastas to sarma. While on your travels, if you want to experience the wonderful taste of authentic Croatian cuisine, be sure to check out Restoran Lanterna na Dolcu in Zagreb. If the beautiful atmosphere isn't relaxing enough for you, try coupling it with the gnocchi and spinach, baked strudel or the Dalmatian przolica to make the night even better.
With a mind like Nikola Tesla hailing from Croatia, the country is responsible for some pretty important discoveries that we already covered; but other very notable inventions include the modern necktie, which stems back to neckerchiefs worn by Croatian mercenaries during the 30 Years’ War and the electric speedometer, designed by Josip Belusic in 1888. Croatian inventor Faust Vrancic is also believed to have elaborated on Leonardo da Vinci’s parachute design, adding a sail-like cloth. Sure, Tesla may have developed alternating currents and the framework for wireless concepts and inspired a series of luxury vehicles, but… come on – Neckties!
One of Croatia’s shining stars, without a doubt, would be Nikola Tesla, the man behind electrical engineering and early wireless communications. Tesla is responsible for bringing the world three-phase electric power, the induction motor, wireless telegraphy, the neon lamp, remote control and the Tesla Coil. Perhaps his biggest contribution to mankind never came to fruition, the Wardenclyffe Tower. To make a long story short, this unfinished tower was meant to inject electric current into the Earth at just the right frequency where he could harness what he believed was the planet's own electrical charge - in turn, providing the entire world with free electricity. Other notable names include sculptor Oscar Nemon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows actor Rade Serbedzija, writer of The Bridge on the Drina, Ivo Andric, astronomer Ruder Boskovic, novel prize winners Vladimir Prelog and Lavoslav Ruzicka, and for those hoping to see Croatian YouTubers, be sure to check out KingsOfFailShow and The official Severina's YouTube channel. You may come across names like Denise Richards, Eric Bana, and John Malkovich in your searches, but they’re Croatian by bloodline only. Those imposters!