In today’s article, I am planning to share with you some interesting and fun facts about Croatia. Some of the things listed below might be more common knowledge than others, but I am sure that some of these facts will really surprise you.
The truth is that Croatia, even though one of the younger nations in Europe, has managed to influence the world a lot and the world without Croatia and things invented here would’ve been completely different today.
But we’ll cover all these – and a lot more – in today’s article filled with fun facts about Croatia. So sit back and enjoy the ride – you’re going to learn some amazing things today!
20 Fun Facts about Croatia
1. Croatians have invented the tie back in the 17th century. Back then, King Louis XIII hired some Croatian mercenaries to help him win battles and fell in love with the necktie that they were wearing (partly for decorative purposes, partly to keep their jackets tied).
He liked the effect they had so much that he made them mandatory for official meetings and named them “La Cravate” (since this is how they were calling the Croats). And many Europeans call the tie in a similar matter (cravatta in Italian, Krawatte in German etc)
2. Hum, Croatia is one of the smallest towns in the world. The settlement, located in the Istria peninsula, only has 30 permanent residents (as of 2011) but despite its size, it has a rich history, the main landmark being the Church which was built in 1802.
But the city itself was first mentioned in 1102, with its second most impressive landmark – the watchtower – was built in the 1500s. And this makes it even more impressive: despite its size, it has such a rich history and, believe it or not, beautiful architecture.
3. The dalmatian – the beautiful spotted dog that you might know from the cartoon 101 Dalmatians (among other things) has its origin in Croatia. Actually, this should make sense as Dalmatia is one of the country’s regions.
4. If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy eating rice chocolate, you know now who to thank for it. This interesting confectionery was invented in Croatia in 1963, in a small chocolate factory in the Pozega town.
5. The famous Mag-lite, the flashlight that astronauts and deep sea explorers use today was actually invented by Croatian native, Ante Maglica. He eventually moved to the US and made the Maglite as one of the best known US exports.
6. The first public theater in Europe was opened in Croatia, back in 1612, in the city of Hvar.
7. A very fun fact that few people know about Croatia is that the first dedicated nudist beaches were inaugurated in this country.
The measure was mainly made to boost tourism, as naturism was starting to become a thing in Germany in the 20th century. So here’s another thing to thank this country for!
8. Marin Soljacic, an engineer born in Zagreb, is the one you have to thank for coming up with the wireless non-radiative energy transfer technology. So next time you wirelessly charge your device, you know who to thank for this!
9. The torpedo was actually invented by a Croatian scientist, even though it was created by British engineer Robert Whitehead.
However, it was Giovanni Luppis who created the prototypes of the self-propelled torpedo. And even though his invention was more similar to a propelled boat filled with explosives and adapted by Whitehead into the modern day torpedo, the British scientist still credited the Croatian as its inventor.
10. Forensic fingerprinting was invented by Ivan Vucetic, born in the city of Hvar. It all happened in the 1890s, when he set up the first fingerprinting bureau in the world, in Argentine.
As an additional fun fact, he’s usually referred to as Juan Vucetich (as the Argentinians called him), but he’s actually Croatian.
11. If you’re into more abstract art in any shape or form, you should know that the Sea Organ – which creates music with the help of the sea waves – and is one of the main attractions in Zadar, Croatia.
12. The term of Psychology was coined by Croatia’s national poet, Marko Marulic, also known as the “crown of the Croatian medieval age” and the “father of the Croatian Renaissance”.
13. The white limestone used to build the White House came all the way from Croatia, from the island of Brac. The same stone was used to build other important structures in the world, from Diocletian’s palace in Split, the Parliament in Austria or the Budapest Parliament building.
14. The Parachute was created by Croatian inventor Faust Vrancic in 1616. And even though it was based on Leonardo da Vinci’s plans, it was him who actually created the thing and tested it by jumping off a tall tower in Venice.
15. You probably know about the Great Wall of China, but did you know that Croatia has one of its own? We’re talking about the Walls in Ston which are, at 5.5 kilometers long, the second longest preserved fortification system in the world, after the Chinese one.
16. You probably know already that many scenes of the popular TV series Game of Thrones have been filmed in Croatia (mainly Dubrovnik), but did you know that other famous productions were also filmed here? We’re talking about Dr. Who or Star Wars, to name just a couple.
17. The small city of Vinkovci is the oldest city in Europe, with an estimated age of 8,000 years.
18. Just like the small city of Hum that we talked earlier, Croatia also has an island with a very small number of inhabitants. Around 15 people call it home, even though it’s pretty large at 5.8 square kilometers and an important tourist attraction during the summer.
19. Croatia has one of the most unique beaches in the world: the Zlatni Rat beach in Bol. It constantly changes its shape depending on the wind, but also its color.
20. Last, but not least, one of the most important minds in all history, Nikola Tesla, was actually born in Croatia, in the Smiljan province. He went on to provide some of the most important modern inventions, from the famous Tesla coil to the alternating current and even the radio (although he’s not credited for the latter).
More facts & info about Croatia
Now that you know some fun facts about the country, let’s move one to something a bit more serious – essential things you should know about Croatia.
Let’s get started from its geographic position to have a clear idea of where this country is on the map of Europe. I have been asked many times, where’s Croatia on the map.
Taking a look on this small map above, you can easily figure out that Croatia is a country situated in Central Europe, on the Adriatic coast. Still, the country is referred to even today as being in Easter Europe.
It stretches in the form of an arc from Serbia (with the Danube river as a border) in the northeast to the Istria peninsula in the west and Montenegro in the southeast, forming an arc around Bosnia & Herzegovina, to the south of Hungary and Slovenia.
Geographically, it is situated on the cross-roads between Central Europe and the Mediterranean.
I personally like to classify the country among Mediterranean countries, due to the fact that together with Italy, it divides Adriatic Sea in half.
Croatia has a surface of 56.594 square km , with additional 31.067 sq. km of the Adriatic sea. This makes it one of the smallest countries in the world, ranked 127.
Now let’s check out some other quick facts below – things you might or might not know already:
Official Name: Republic of Croatia
The state system: The Republic of Croatia is a parliamentary democracy, like most countries in Western and Central Europe.
Population: 4.076.000 (2019 data)
Capital City: Zagreb (803,900 inhabitants)
Land Area: 56,594 sq km
Climate: Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast and continental in Croatia’s hinterland. Continental climate features hot summers with cold winters, while the Mediterranean climate boasts with mild winters and dry and hot summers.
Geography: The land is fertile and mostly flat in the north and northeast. The Dinaric Alps and a few smaller mountain ranges (Velebit and Velika Kapela) spread through Croatia. The land along the Dalmatian coastline is hilly, rocky and steep. The major rivers are Sava, Drava and Danube.
The highest mountain is Dinara (1831m) on the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the longest river is Sava, which passes through Croatia for 562km before joining the Danube in the Serbian capital Belgrade.
Islands: 1185 (including inhabited, islets and reefs). There are sixty six inhabited islands.
Coastline: 5.835 km long (mainland 1,777 km and islands 4,058 km)
Religions: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, others
Official Currency: Kuna
Country telephone code: (00385) + city code without zero.
Croatia is an EU (European Union) member since 2013
Public holidays: New Year’s Day, January 1, Epiphany January, Easter , April 16,17,
Labor Day, May 1, Corpus Christy, June 15, Anti-fascism Day, June 22, National Day, June 25, National Thanksgiving Day, August 5, The Assumption, August 15, Independence Day, October 8, All Saint’s Day, November 1,Christmas, December 25 and 26.
These would be the Croatia facts that I wanted to share with you today. If you know other interesting ones, don’t hesitate to share them with us by commenting below.
Either way, you are surely now more versed with your knowledge about this small EU country and you can surprise friends and family with these trivia tidbits next time you meet.