- The official name of the country is Republika Hrvatska, translated as the Republic of Croatia.
- Geography. Located in southeastern Europe, Croatia borders the Adriatic Sea, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. It also has borders with Hungry and Serbia. The landscape is diverse, with fertile plains in the north, low mountains and highlands along the coast. Croatia's Adriatic Sea coast contains 1246 islands, isles & inlets - only 48 of them are inhabited. One third of Croatia is covered in forest.
- History. Croatia was home to the largest Neanderthal community. Romans ruled the area from about 11 BCE. The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century CE and settled in the ruins of the Roman Empire. Aside from this, experts disagree on the origin of the earliest tribes of Croats. The Kingdom of Croatia was formed in 925 when King Tomislav united Dalmatia and Pannonia into a single kingdom, and became one of the most powerful forces in the Balkans. The exact geographical extent of Tomislav’s kingdom is controversial. In the latter part of the 11th century Hungary took over the country.
- Etymology. The name of Croatia derives from Medieval Latin Croātia, found in the Branimir inscription, which was derived from the North-West Slavic. The origin of the name is uncertain, but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan name given to a Slavic tribe. It may be related to the Russian word "khrebet" meaning mountain chain, from the Old Church Slavonic Churvatinu "Croat" meaning mountaineer, highlander, or it may be from the Iranian (Sarmatian) name "Horoathos" found in two second-century tablets found at the mouth of the River Don (Tanais).
- Neckties. The tie (cravat) originated as a part of the uniform of Croatian soldiers during the Thirty Years War. As part of their uniform, they tied a length of fabric around their necks. The Parisians noted this Croatian custom and adopted it as their own.
- Dalmation. The Dalmatinac is a famous dog named after the Croatian historical province of Dalmatia, where it was bred in the past. Actually the breed probably originated in the eastern Mediterranean from where they spread to India and over Europe. Some suggest they did this while traveling with the Romani. There is also a Croatian Sheep Dog
- Fauna. There are three protected animals in Croatia: the wolf, the brown bear and the lynx. The olm is a large predator in the underground caves of the Dinaric karst region. It can survive ten years without feeding, is about a foot long and lives in total darkness. In Croatia it is called "čovječja ribica", which translates to human fish. Called so because the color of its skin, its eyes that are covered with a layer of skin, and the presence of both gills and lungs.
- Currency. The kuna is the currency of Croatia. Kuna is the word for the marten, and indeed the fur of the marten was a form of currency in the Middle Ages. The coins are called "lipa", which means linden (lime) tree.
- Slavery. The Croatian island of Korčula banned slavery in 1214. The Dubrovnik Republic abolished slave trading in 1416 and became one of the first in Europe to do so.
- Truffles. Croatia holds the title for the world's largest white truffle. The record-holding truffle was discovered by a dog. The nearly-football-sized truffle weighed 2 lbs, 8 oz.
- Politics. The political system of Croatia is based on the principle of the division of power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Croatians can vote by the age of 16 provided they’re employed. If not, they must wait until the age of 18.
- Shakespeare. Illyria was the setting for Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Illyria was an ancient region of the Western Balkans whose coast covered modern day Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Albania.
- UNESCO Intangible Goods. Croatia, along with Spain, has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European country. These include lace making, gingerbread baking, and wooden toy carvings.
- Sports. Football (Soccer) is Croatia's most popular sport - followed by basketball, handball and tennis. Croatians claim that the Croatian waterpolo league is the best in the world. Picigin is traditional ball game from Croatia that is played on the beach. It is an amateur sport played in shallow water consisting of players keeping a small ball from touching the water.
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