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Croatia covers a geographically diverse area. Along the Hungarian border there are plains and hills. The part near Zagreb is the most developed industrially, while Slavonija and Baranja are agricultural areas. A few kilometers south towards the sea there is a hilly and mountainous area. The Adriatic coastline, about 1,700 km long, is divided into Istria and Dalmatia separated from the hinterland by high mountains. The country has more than 1200 islands and islets.


During the first millennium BC the area was inhabited by the Illyrians. With the Romans (168 BC) the region was divided into Dalmatia and Upper and Lower Pannonia, which covered much of the current northern Croatia. The Romans founded the cities of Jadera (Zadar), Parentium (Poreč), Polensium (Pula) and Spalato (Split). Dalmatia was the birthplace of the Roman Emperors Diocletian and Theodosius. When the Roman Empire was divided into the Western and Eastern Empires, the territories of the current Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina belonged to the Western Roman Empire, while present-day Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia were a part of the Byzantine Empire. During the VII century the Slav tribes had begun to settle in Pannonia and Dalmatia. The Christianization of the Croat rulers encouraged cultural ties with Rome that recognized King Tomislav as King of Pannonia and Dalmatia in the X century. At the end of the XI century Hungary’s King Ladislav invaded Pannonia, while Dalmatia remained under Byzantine control. During the following years the Dalmatian cities warred with each other and Venice again took advantage of the confusion to conquer the coastline from Zadar to Dubrovnik (XV century). The cities in the interior fell one after another to the Turkish troops and only a small area around Zagreb, Karlovac and Varaždin remained under Habsburg control.

The Adriatic coast was threatened by the Turks but never captured. With the Treaty of Sremski Karlovci (1699), the Turks renounced all claims on Croatia. At the beginning of the XIX century, Dalmatia was occupied by the Austrians and then by Napoleon. After the revolution of 1848, Croatia and Slavonia were placed under Hungarian administration, while Dalmatia remained under Austrian control. At the end of WWI the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was established. In the postwar period Croatia became one of six republics of the Yugoslav Federation. The months following Croatia’s declaration of independence (June 1991) were characterized by heavy clashes between the Croatians and Serbians troops which led to the Yugoslav Wars. The Dayton Accord (1995) recognized Croatia’s traditional borders and provided for the return of Eastern Slavonia.

Unesco Croatia

Dubrovnik Old City

The 'Pearl of the Adriatic', situated on the Dalmatian coast, became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration programme co-ordinated by UNESCO.

Trogir Historic City

Trogir is a remarkable example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period.

Split Historical Complex with the Palace of Diocletian

The ruins of Diocletian's Palace, built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries A.D., can be found throughout the city. The cathedral was built in the middle Ages, reusing materials from the ancient mausoleum. Twelfth- and 13th-century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications, 15th-century Gothic palaces and other palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style make up the rest of the protected area.

Hvar Island Stari Grad Plain

Stari Grad Plain on the Adriatic island of Hvar is a cultural landscape that has remained practically intact since it was first colonized by Ionian Greeks from Paros in the 4th century BC. The original agricultural activity of this fertile plain, mainly centring on grapes and olives, has been maintained since Greek times to the present. The site is also a natural reserve. The landscape features ancient stone walls and trims, or small stone shelters, and bears testimony to the ancient geometrical system of land division used by the ancient Greeks, the chora which has remained virtually intact over 24 centuries.

Šibenik Cathedral of St James

The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik (1431-1535), on the Dalmatian coast, bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The three architects who succeeded one another in the construction of the Cathedral - Francesco di Giacomo, Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus and Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino - developed a structure built entirely from stone and using unique construction techniques for the vaulting and the dome of the Cathedral. The form and the decorative elements of the Cathedral, such as a remarkable frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces of men, women, and children, also illustrate the successful fusion of Gothic and Renaissance art.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

The waters flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams which in turn have created a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. These geological processes continue today. The forests in the park are home to bears, wolves and many rare bird species.