About Croatia

Croatia is a country between Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. Its capital city is Zagreb, which forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with its twenty counties. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometers (21,851 square miles) and a population of 4.28 million, most of who are Roman Catholics.

The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organized the state into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Petar Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir. Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. During the early 19th century, parts of the country were split into the French Illyrian Provinces, and Austria-Hungary occupied its Bosnia and Herzegovina side–a dispute settled by the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs this seceded from Austria-Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. A fascist Croatian puppet state backed by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany existed in World War II. After the war, Croatia became a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a constitutionally socialist state. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully for four years following the declaration.

Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. The International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. Croatia is a member of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. As an active participant in the UN peacekeeping forces, Croatia has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 terms. The service sector dominates Croatia's economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. International Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Since 2000, the Croatian government has constantly invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors. Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia; the rest is imported. Croatia provides a universal health care system and free primary and secondary education, while supporting culture through numerous public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing.

Capital Zagreb
Largest city Zagreb
Official language and national language Croatian
Area 56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi)
Total Water (%) 1.09
Population 4,190,700
Currency Kuna (HRK)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
Country Code +385

The Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to Croatia

DO’s

• Do shake and with men for greeting, but not women unless they offer to do so first. The traditional greeting or salaam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp people greet visitor by placing their right and hand over the left chest to mean I greet you from my heart.

• Do remove your shoes before entering a Malaysian home or temples and mosques. It is customary to remove and leave footwear outside the house. This practice is also applicable when visiting religious building.

• Do use right hand to receive or giving something. The right hand should also be used for eating. It is considered discourteous in Malay custom to use your left hand when you hand over or receive things.

• Do carry essential travel document and have your health insurance and health certificate ready before your travel.

• Do be aware that the cameras, watches and pens, portable radio-cassette players, perfumes, cosmetics and lighters are duty free in Malaysia. If you are bringing in dutiable goods then a deposit is require for temporary importation, which would be refundable and departure.

• Do convert most of your currency in Malaysia. There is restriction of bringing large amount of ringgit (Malaysian currency) into or out of the country.

• Do follow simple rules when visit a Buddha temple. Show respect and remove your hat and shoes, Dress conservatively, no shorts. When sitting, never point your feet at a person or image of Buddha, Stand up to show respect When monks or nuns enter.

• Do Enter the shrine with your left foot first and exit by leading with your right foot. This gesture symbolically represents a whole.

DON’T

• Do not touch a head of an Adult. Touching people on the head is considered rude.

• Do not point forefinger at thing s, Instead, the Thumb of the right hand with four finger folded under is this proffered way.

• Do not pound your Fist into the palm of the other hand, Which is considered as obscene gesture to some people

• Do not point your feet towards people or Scared images.

• Do not wear hot pant and low vest at mainland beaches if you are female. Topless sunbathing is NO. Malay women usually go swimming fully dressed and some keep their scarves on.

• Do not kiss in public. Public behaviors’ is important in Malaysian culture. Most Malaysian refrain from displaying affections such as embracing or kissing in public.

• Do not ever touch or hand a monk something if you are a women. Even accidently brushing against their robes requires that they fast and perform a clean sing in public.

• Do not be offended if your offer of Handshake is not reciprocated by Muslim who is of the opposite sex. In Islam, Physical contact between the opposite sex is discouraged.

• Do not be embarrassed for burping. In Malay, Dining etiquette, or belching after a meal is acceptable.

• Do not discuss ethnic relation or the political system. They are both sensitive subject

• Do not drink Alcohol. The country large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.

• Do not ever involve in illegal drugs. There is mandatory death penalty for trafficking.

Demographics

With its estimated population of 4, 20 million in 2015, Croatia ranks 125th by population in the world. Its population density stands at 75.9 inhabitants per square kilometer. The overall life expectancy in Croatia at birth was 78 years in 2012. The total fertility rate of 1.5 children per mother, is one of the lowest in the world. Since 1991, Croatia's death rate has continuously exceeded its birth rate. Since the late 1990s, there has been a positive net migration into Croatia, reaching a level of more than 7,000 net immigrants in 2006. According to the 2013 United Nations report, 17.6% of Croatia's population were foreign-born immigrants.

The Croatian Bureau of Statistics forecast that the population may shrink to 3.1 million by 2051, depending on actual birth rate and the level of net migration. The population of Croatia rose steadily from 2.1 million in 1857 until 1991, when it peaked at 4.7 million, with exception of censuses taken in 1921 and 1948, i.e. following two world wars. The natural growth rate of the population is currently negative with the demographic transition completed in the 1970s. In recent years, the Croatian government has been pressured each year to add 40% to work permit quotas for foreign workers. In accordance with its immigration policy, Croatia is trying to entice emigrants to return.

The population decrease was also a result of the Croatian War of Independence. During the war, large sections of the population were displaced and emigration increased. In 1991, in predominantly Serb areas, more than 400,000 Croats and other non-Serbs were either removed from their homes by the Croatian Serb forces or fled the violence. During the final days of the war in 1995, more than 120,000 Serbs, and perhaps as many as 200,000, fled the country before arrival of Croatian forces during Operation Storm. Within a decade following the end of the war, only 117,000 Serb refugees returned out of 300,000 displaced during the entire war. Most of Croatia's remaining Serbs never lived in areas occupied in the Croatian War of Independence. Serbs have been only partially re-settled in the regions they previously inhabited while some of the settlements previously inhabited by Serbs were settled by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly from Republika Srpska.

Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (90.4%) and is ethnically the most homogeneous of the six countries of former Yugoslavia. Minority groups include Serbs (4.4%), Bosniaks, Hungarians, Italians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs, Romani people and others (5.9%).

Largest cities or towns

1. Zagreb 2. Split
3. Rijeka 4. Osijek
5. Zadar 6. Pula
7. Slavonski Brod 8. Karlovac
9. Varaždin 10. Šibenik

Languages

Croatian is the official language of Croatia, and became the 24th official language of the European Union upon its accession in 2013. Minority languages are in official use in local government units where more than a third of population consists of national minorities or where local legislation defines so. Those languages are Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Ruthenian, Serbian and Slovakian.

According to the 2011 Census, 95.6% of citizens of Croatia declared Croatian as their native language, 1.2% declared Serbian as their native language, while no other language is represented in Croatia by more than 0.5% of native speakers among population of Croatia. Croatian is one of the three standard varieties of the Serbo-Croatian language of the South Slavic group of languages. Croatian is written using the Latin alphabet. Croatia has three major dialects of Serbo-Croatian represented, with standard Croatian based on the Shtokavian dialect. The Chakavian and Kajkavian dialects are distinguished by their lexicon, phonology, and syntax.

From 1961 to 1991, the official language was Serbo-Croatian. Even during socialist rule, Croats often referred to their language as Croato-Serbian (instead of Serbo-Croatian) or as Croatian. Croatian and Serbian variants of the language were not officially recognized as different at the time, but referred to as the west and east version, and had different alphabets: the Latin alphabet and Serbian Cyrillic. Croatians are protective of their Croatian language from foreign influences, as the language was under constant change and threats imposed by previous rulers (i.e. Austrian German, Hungarian, Italian and Turkish words were changed and altered to "Slavic" looking/sounding ones). Efforts made to impose policies to alter Croatian into "Serbo-Croatian" or "South Slavic" language, met resistance from Croats in form of Croatian linguistic purism. Croatian replaced Latin as the official language of the Croatian government in the 19th century.

A 2011 survey revealed that 78% of Croatians claim knowledge of at least one foreign language. According to a survey ordered by the European Commission in 2005, 49% of Croatians speak English as the second language, 34% speak German, and 14% speak Italian. French and Russian are spoken by 4% each, and 2% of Croatians speak Spanish. However, there are large municipalities that have minority languages that include substantial populations that speak these languages. A odd-majority of Slovenes (59%) have a certain level of knowledge of Croatian. The country is a part of various language-based international associations most notably, the Organization international de la Francophone and the European Union Language Association.

Religion

• 86.28% Roman Catholicism

• 4.44% Eastern Orthodoxy

• 1.47% Islam

• 0.34% Protestantism

• 4.57% Atheism or Agnosticism

• 3.24% Others and unspecified

Culture

Because of its geographic position, Croatia represents a blend of four different cultural spheres. It has been a crossroad of influences of the western culture and the east—ever since division of the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire—as well as of the Mitteleuropa and the Mediterranean culture. The Illyrian movement was the most significant period of national cultural history, as the 19th-century period proved crucial in emancipation of the Croatian language and saw unprecedented developments in all fields of art and culture, giving rise to a number of historical figures. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia is tasked with preserving the nation's cultural and natural heritage and overseeing its development. Further activities supporting development of culture are undertaken at local government level. The UNESCO's World Heritage List includes seven sites in Croatia. The country is also rich with Intangible culture and holds ten of UNESCO's World's intangible culture masterpieces, surpassing all countries in Europe except Spain which possesses an equal number of the listed items. A global cultural contribution from Croatia is the necktie, derived from the cravat originally worn by the 17th-century Croatian mercenaries in France.

As of 2012, Croatia has 60 professional theatres, 17 professional children's theatres and 60 amateur theatres visited by more than 1.8 million viewers per year. The professional theatres employ 1,121 artists. There are 23 professional orchestras, ensembles and choirs in the country, attracting an annual attendance of 294 thousand. There are 162 cinemas with attendance exceeding 4 million. Croatia has 175 museums, visited by nearly 2.2 million people in 2009. Furthermore, there are 1,731 libraries in the country, containing 24.5 million volumes, and 18 archives.

In 2009, more than 7,200 books and brochures were published, along with 2,678 magazines and 314 newspapers. There are also 146 radio stations and 21 TV stations operating in the country. In past five years, film production in Croatia produced up to five feature films and 10 to 51 short films, with an additional 76 to 112 TV films. As of 2009, there are 784 amateur cultural and artistic associations and more than 10 thousand cultural, educational and artistic events held annually. The book publishing market is dominated by several major publishers and the industry's centerpiece event—Interliber exhibition held annually at Zagreb Fair.

Croatia has established a high level of human development and gender equality in terms of the Human Development Index. It promotes disability rights. Recognition of same-sex unions in Croatia has gradually improved over the past decade, culminating in registered civil unions in July 2014, granting same-sex couples equal inheritance rights, tax deductions and limited adoption rights. However, in December 2013 Croatians voted in favor of a constitutional referendum, backed by conservative groups, defining marriage as a "life union of woman and man".

Festivals

Of all the exciting things to happen to Croatian tourism over the last decade, the boom in boutique music festivals has come as the biggest surprise. A surge in party-loving punters flocking to the Adriatic has generated a cool buzz around the country, inspiring promoters near and far to set up temporary camp along its famously sun drenched coastline. And when it comes to Croatian festivals, you really do have the best of both worlds: incredible line-ups are matched by equally impressive locations. The choice here is massive – from sizzling hot boat parties and raves in abandoned forts to live music in the heart of Croatia’s historical cities. With over twenty festivals taking place this summer; it’s harder than ever to pick the right one. To help you decide, we’ve shortlisted ten of the best.

INmusic Festival
The only guitar-driven festival to make the list, Zagreb’s seminal city fest INmusic promises two days of big indie fun. One of the most popular rock festivals in the region, INmusic has put Zagreb definitively on the music map: each year organisers coax the best modern rock bands, cult heros and world musicians to Lake Jarun, a beautiful venue on the outskirts of the capital. This year’s indie-leaning line-up stars Canadian rock powerhouse Arcade Fire, with headliners Kings of Leon, Alt-J, Kasabian, Michael Kiwanuka, Flogging Molly and Booka Shade. There’s a great modern campsite open for six days during the festival with plenty of afterparties and activities happening in and around the city.

Hideout Festival
Hideout has earned its stripes as one of Croatia’s most happening festivals, returning for a seventh year of hedonistic dance antics and boat parties. Once again, its stellar mix of DJand artists will delight dance music devotees of all kinds (though house, techno and grime are the primary sounds), as well as those who just like a good party. Its thumping line-up represents some of Europe's best alternative dance and grime artists: this year’s outing features heavyweights like Stormzy, Major Lazer, Diplo, Eats Everything, Wiley and Skream, with tons more big-name DJs as well as plenty of underground aces on hand. As you'd expect, most of the arenas are open-air and beachside, making for plenty of sunrise DJ sets. Expect the party- loving crowd to be whooping and grooving until, well, until they sleep in a huddle on the beach

Love International
Nick Colgan organised the first Garden Festival over a decade ago, steadily transforming a drowsy Dalmatian fishing village into the summer festival capital of Central Europe. The legendary Garden fest waved goodbye in 2015, but Love International picks up where it left off, providing five days of full-on-fun in Tisno. The Garden’s chief programmer Dave Harvey (of Future Boogie and Bristol’s Love Saves the Day fame) has taken over in a symbolic passing of the disco torch, showcasing the world’s finest purveyors of beats and baselines. This year’s dance-focused cast includes Ben UFO, Black Madonna, Axel Bowman, Gerd Janson and Horse Meat Disco, ensuring the spirit of The Garden remains safe in the hands of Dave and Team Love. The beauty of Love International is that it’s small compared to other festivals, fewer than 3,000 people, making it easy to manoeuvre back and forth between stages, the beach, your apartment and the boat parties. The festival is encased in a cove-like atmosphere, caressing the music into a cozy shindig, with a forest to shade you from the sweltering Mediterranean sunshine. Within 15 minutes’ walk is the fishing village of Tisno, where you can enjoy fresh seafood and sizzling

Soundwave
Taking place once again at the legendary Garden site in Tisno, Soundwave is a boutique festival celebrating its 9th season in Croatia. Set in a beautiful fishing village where the Dalmatian Coast meets the Adriatic and the punters meet the Soundwaves, it’s the perfect place to relax and sightsee as well as party until the sun comes up. Musically, Soundwave is something of an all-rounder: funk, hip-hop, reggae, soul, jazz and drum and bass and house are given equal attention here. This year’s line-up has some huge names, including Laura Mvulva, Roy Ayers, The Pharcyde, Roni Size and Gilles Peterson, interspersed with leftfield DJs and live acts. It's an easy hop by boat to the nearby Kornati islands, a short walk to the pretty fishing village of Tisno and the beach itself is clean, the water cool and clear.

Ultra Europe Festival
Ultra Europe Laser shows! Day-glo! EDM! The North American house-dance-trance festival thrills fans worldwide each year, and with its line-up reading like a 'best of' the genre CD – Carl Cox, – David Guetta, Carl Cox, Martin Garrix and Tiesto feature in the first line-up phase – it's completely unsurprising that it's already made a huge impression on Croatia in such a short time. It's an absolute must-go if pulsing beats, an electric atmosphere and shining lights are what gets you up and dancing all night. Associated events include parties on several islands, a Yacht Regatta and more. The main event is held in Split's Poljud stadium, close to the gorgeous walled city itself, numerous sunny Blue Flag beaches and is just a couple of hours' drive from national park Plitvice Jezera, so many choose to extend their stay in Croatia afterwards. Packages include flights, accommodation and tickets, so if you'd like to leave the organising to someone else, you've plenty of options.

Obonjan
A more grown-up affair than the get-rinsed-and-repeat dance festivals, Obonjan (pronounced oh-bon-yan) takes a holistic approach to the art of partying. A self-styled Adriatic Shangri-La, its ten-week programme is curated by artists, labels and cultural institutions – and music isn’t necessarily centre-stage. Fully embracing its ‘boutique’ label, the wellbeing workshops and gastronomy are talked up as much as the music is. Events aren’t ticketed, instead punters book from a range of fancy accommodation packages, sleeping under the stars in a bell-tent or plush forest-lodge. Electric Elephant relocated here after many a happy year at the Garden site. One of the more chilled-out Croatian festivals, DJs throw around house, tech, balearic, disco and funk beats over five sun-kissed days in July. The legendary compilation series Late Night Tales takes over for a session in August, and Gilles Peterson curates three days of globe-spinning beats at the end of the season. If you can’t afford the pricy accommodation packages, much of the festival’s music programme is live-streamed on the net. But if you’ve got the cash, Obonjan is an island idyll, and the perfect place to turn up, tune in and bliss out.

SuncéBeat
Suncebeat ‘Soul has no musical, geographical, or racial boundaries,’ Roy Ayers, one of the most-sampled artists in music and the ‘Godfather of Neo-soul’, once said. This spirit is also perfectly in tune with Tisno’s soulful house utopia: SuncéBeat. With promoters Alex Lowes and Dave Gardner calling time on their UK festival, the long-running house stalwart Southport Weekender, their focus has turned towards the Adriatic. Celebrating its eighth edition, this year’s bill reads like a fraternity of hip-hop, house and techno legends: Kerri Chandler, David Rodigan, Dennis Ferrer, Louie Vega and David Morales.

Outlook Festival
Outlook is a firm favourite on the underground dance, garage, dub step, hip hop and reggae scene. Fort Punta Christo is brought alive with resound- ing bass, lasers, bars and live acts and the party spreads all the way to nearby camps. Set to astound again this year with a powerful line-up including Dizzee Rascal, DJ Shadow, Giggs, Wiley and Goldie, it’s a delightful celebration of soundsystem culture, with live acts and DJs spread over four sunkissed days. The nearby city of Pula is home also to an ancient Roman amphitheatre as well as numerous clubs, pubs, restaurants and attractions, so take some time off during the day to explore and you won't be disappointed.

Dimensions Festival
Dimensions has established itself as a major player in the international dance music scene. Boasting a line-up of the biggest DJs and live dance acts on the planet – this year’s ever-eclectic line-up features Grace Jones, Moderat, Floating Points, Cymande, Theo Parish, Nina Kraviz and Shuggie Otis – Dimensions is an excellently curated four-dayer with stages hidden among the ancient ruins of Pula and on various boats and swathes of the beach. The sound system is excellent, as is the lighting in these atmospheric settings; there'll be an opening concert, launch parties, boat parties and much more alongside the regular performances. Camping on-site couldn't be easier, with plenty of options, from normal tents to boutique camping and hostel rooms, and off-site accommodation has a lot to offer too, with nearby luxury hotels and plenty of private guest houses.

Climate

Most of Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate as defined by the Köppen climate classification. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −3 °C (27 °F) (in January) and 18 °C (64 °F) (in July). The coldest parts of the country are Lika and Gorski Kotar where snowy forested climate is found at elevations above 1,200 meters (3,900 feet). The warmest areas of Croatia are at the Adriatic coast and especially in its immediate hinterland characterized by the Mediterranean climate, as the temperature highs are moderated by the sea. Consequently, temperature peaks are more pronounced in the continental areas—the lowest temperature of −35.5 °C (−31.9 °F) was recorded on 3 February 1919 in Čakovec, and the highest temperature of 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) was recorded on 5 July 1950 in Karlovac.

Mean annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimeters (24 inches) and 3,500 millimeters (140 inches) depending on geographic region and prevailing climate type. The least precipitation is recorded in the outer islands and in the eastern parts of Slavonia; however, in the latter case, it occurs mostly during the growing season. The maximum precipitation levels are observed on the Dinara mountain range and in Gorski kotar.

Prevailing winds in the interior are light to moderate northeast or southwest, and in the coastal area prevailing winds are determined by local area features. Higher wind velocities are more often recorded in cooler months along the coast, generally as bura or less frequently as sirocco. The sunniest parts of the country are the outer islands, Hvar and Korčula, where more than 2700 hours of sunshine are recorded per year, followed by the middle and southern Adriatic Sea area in general and northern Adriatic coast, all with more than 2000 hours of sunshine per year.

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