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Croatia

Capital Zagreb
Continent Europe
Code +385
Currency Croatian Kuna (HRK)
Languages Croatian

Description

Croatia is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe. It shares a coastline along the Adriatic Sea and borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Italy to the west and southwest. Croatia's capital and largest city, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, with twenty counties. The country spans an area of 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), with a population of nearly 3.9 million.

The Croats arrived in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Croatia was first internationally recognised as independent on 7 June 879 during the reign of Duke Branimir. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. During the succession crisis after the Trpimirović dynasty ended, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of Austria to the Croatian throne. In October 1918, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918, merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of Croatia was incorporated into a Nazi installed puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia. A resistance movement led to the creation of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, which after the war became a founding member and constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, and the War of Independence was fought for four years following the declaration.

A sovereign state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. It is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. An active participant in United Nations peacekeeping, Croatia has contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force and took a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.

Croatia is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy and ranks 43rd on the Human Development Index. Service, industrial sectors, and agriculture dominate the economy, respectively. Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with Croatia ranked among the 20 most popular tourist destinations. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Croatia provides social security, universal health care, and tuition-free primary and secondary education while supporting culture through public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing.

 History

At the time of the Roman Empire, the area of modern Croatia comprised two Roman provinces, Pannonia and Dalmatia. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th Century A.D., the area was subjugated by the Ostrogoths for 50 years, before being incorporated into the Byzantine Empire.

Croatia, as a polity, first appeared as a duchy in the 7th century, the Duchy of Croatia, and the near Principality of Lower Pannonia, which were united and elevated into the Kingdom of Croatia which lasted from 925 until 1918. From the 12th century the Kingdom of Croatia entered a Personal Union with the Kingdom of Hungary, it remained a distinct state with its ruler (ban) and Sabor, but it elected Royal dynasties from neighbouring powers, primarily Hungary, Naples and the Habsburg Monarchy.

The period from the 15th to the 17th centuries was marked by intense struggles between the Ottoman Empire to the south and the Habsburg Empire to the north.

Following the First World War and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary (1918), Croatian lands were incorporated into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was dominated by Serbia. Following the German invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, the Independent State of Croatia allied to the Axis powers was established to be defeated in May 1945, a week after the German Instrument of Surrender. The Socialist Republic of Croatia, a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was constituted. In 1991, Croatia′s leadership severed ties to Yugoslavia and proclaimed independence amidst the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

Geography

Croatia is in Central and Southeast Europe, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It borders Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast and Slovenia to the northwest. It lies mostly between latitudes 42° and 47° N and longitudes 13° and 20° E. Part of the territory in the extreme south surrounding Dubrovnik is a practical exclave connected to the rest of the mainland by territorial waters, but separated on land by a short coastline strip belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum. The Pelješac Bridge, scheduled to open in 2022, will connect the exclave with mainland Croatia.

The territory covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), consisting of 56,414 square kilometres (21,782 square miles) of land and 128 square kilometres (49 square miles) of water. It is the 127th largest country in the world. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Dinaric Alps with the highest point of the Dinara peak at 1,831 metres (6,007 feet) near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south to the shore of the Adriatic Sea which makes up its entire southwest border. Insular Croatia consists of over a thousand islands and islets varying in size, 48 of which are permanently inhabited. The largest islands are Cres and Krk, each of them having an area of around 405 square kilometres (156 square miles).

The hilly northern parts of Hrvatsko Zagorje and the flat plains of Slavonia in the east which is part of the Pannonian Basin are traversed by major rivers such as Danube, Drava, Kupa, and the Sava. The Danube, Europe's second-longest river, runs through the city of Vukovar in the extreme east and forms part of the border with Vojvodina. The central and southern regions near the Adriatic coastline and islands consist of low mountains and forested highlands. Natural resources found in the country in quantities significant enough for production include oil, coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, and hydropower. Karst topography makes up about half of Croatia and is especially prominent in the Dinaric Alps. There are several deep caves in Croatia, 49 of which are deeper than 250 m (820.21 ft), 14 of them deeper than 500 m (1,640.42 ft) and three deeper than 1,000 m (3,280.84 ft). Croatia's most famous lakes are the Plitvice lakes, a system of 16 lakes with waterfalls connecting them over dolomite and limestone cascades. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from turquoise to mint green, grey or blue.

Politics

The Republic of Croatia is a unitary state using a parliamentary system of governance. With the collapse of the ruling communist party in SFR Yugoslavia, Croatia organised its first multi-party elections and adopted its present Constitution in 1990. It declared independence on 8 October 1991 which led to the break-up of Yugoslavia and countries international recognition by the United Nations in 1992. Under its 1990 Constitution, Croatia operated a semi-presidential system until 2000 when it switched to a parliamentary system. Government powers in Croatia are legislative, executive, and judiciary powers.

The President of the Republic (Croatian: Predsjednik Republike) is the head of state, directly elected to a five-year term and is limited by the Constitution to two terms. In addition to being the commander in chief of the armed forces, the president has the procedural duty of appointing the prime minister with the parliament and has some influence on foreign policy. The most recent presidential elections were held on 5 January 2020, when Zoran Milanović became the new president. He took the oath of office on 18 February 2020. The Government is headed by the Prime Minister, who has four deputy prime ministers and 16 ministers in charge of particular sectors. As the executive branch, it is responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies. The Government is seated at Banski dvori in Zagreb. Since 19 October 2016, the Croatian Prime Minister has been Andrej Plenković.

A unicameral parliament (Sabor) holds legislative power. A second chamber, the House of Counties, set up in 1993 according to the 1990 Constitution, was abolished in 2001. The number of Sabor members can vary from 100 to 160. They are all elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The sessions of the Sabor take place from 15 January to 15 July, and from 15 September to 15 December. The two largest political parties in Croatia are the Croatian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of Croatia.

Economy

Croatia has a high-income economy. International Monetary Fund data projects that Croatian nominal GDP stands at $60,688 billion, or $14,816 per capita for 2018 while purchasing power parity GDP stands at $107.406 billion, or $26,221 per capita. According to Eurostat, Croatian GDP per capita in PPS stood at 65% of the EU average in 2019. Real GDP growth in 2018 was 2,6 per cent. The average net salary of a Croatian worker in October 2019 was 6,496 HRK per month (roughly 873 EUR), and the average gross salary was 8,813 HRK per month (roughly 1,185 EUR). As of July 2019, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.2% from 9.6% in December 2018. The number of unemployed persons was 106.703. The unemployment rate in Croatia between 1996 and 2018 averaged 17.38%, reaching an all-time high of 23.60% in January 2002 and a record low of 8.40% in September 2018. In 2017, economic output was dominated by the service sector accounting for 70.1% of GDP, followed by the industrial sector with 26.2% and agriculture accounting for 3.7% of GDP.

According to 2017 data, 1.9% of the workforce were employed in agriculture, 27.3% by industry and 70.8% in services. Shipbuilding, food processing, pharmaceuticals, information technology, biochemical, and timber industry dominate the industrial sector. In 2018, Croatian exports were valued at 108 billion kunas (€14.61 billion) with 176 billion kunas (€23.82 billion) worth of imports. Croatia's largest trading partner was the rest of the European Union, with the top three countries being Germany, Italy, and Slovenia.

Privatization and the drive towards a market economy had barely begun under the new Croatian Government when war broke out in 1991. As a result of the war, the economic infrastructure sustained massive damage, particularly the revenue-rich tourism industry. From 1989 to 1993, the GDP fell 40.5%. The Croatian state still controls a significant part of the economy, with government expenditures accounting for 40% of GDP. A particular concern is a backlogged judiciary system, with inefficient public administration, especially land ownership and corruption. In the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, the country is ranked 60th scoring 48, where zero denotes "highly corrupt" and 100 "very clean". At the end of June 2020, the national debt stood at 85,3% of the GDP.

Culture

Because of its geographical position, Croatia represents a blend of four different cultural spheres. It has been a crossroads of influences from western culture and the east since the schism between the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, and also from Central Europe and Mediterranean culture. The Illyrian movement was the most significant period of national cultural history, as the 19th century proved crucial to the emancipation of Croatian and saw unprecedented developments in all fields of art and culture, giving rise to many historical figures.

The Ministry of Culture is tasked with preserving the nation's cultural and natural heritage and overseeing its development. Further activities supporting the development of culture are undertaken at the local government level. The UNESCO's World Heritage List includes ten sites in Croatia. The country is also rich with intangible culture and holds 15 of UNESCO's World's intangible culture masterpieces, ranking fourth in the world. A global cultural contribution from Croatia is the necktie, derived from the cravat originally worn by the 17th-century Croatian mercenaries in France.

In 2019, Croatia had 95 professional theatres, 30 professional children's theatres, and 51 amateur theatres visited by more than 2.27 million viewers per year. Professional theatres employ 1,195 artists. There are 42 professional orchestras, ensembles, and choirs in the country, attracting an annual attendance of 297 thousand. There are 75 cinemas with 166 screens and an attendance of 5.026 million. Croatia has 222 museums, visited by more than 2.71 million people in 2016. Furthermore, there are 1,768 libraries in the country, containing 26.8 million volumes, and 19 state archives. The book publishing market is dominated by several major publishers and the industry's centrepiece event—the Interliber exhibition held annually at Zagreb Fair.

Images

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Dubrovnik

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Hvar

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