26 interesting facts about Croatia

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From the home of the Dalmatian dog breed to the world’s longest line of strudels, these are the most interesting facts about Croatia.

Interesting facts about Croatia include the walled city of Dubrovnik
Interesting facts about Croatia include the walled city of Dubrovnik (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Republic of Croatia
Population: 4.1 million
Area: 56,594 sq km
Capital city: Zagreb
Major languages:
Major religions: Christianity
Time zone: UTC+1 (Central European Time)
– Source: CIA World Factbook

Interesting facts about Croatia

1. Croatia is a country located in southeastern Europe bordering Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

2. Croatia was part of the former country of Yugoslavia until June 1991 when it declared independence.
– Source: BBC News

3. Croatia was embroiled in a series of wars in the region until 1995 when its traditional borders were confirmed in the Dayton Accord.
– Source: Baker et al (2022) Lonely Planet Eastern Europe. Lonely Planet: London

A map of Croatia and its bordering countries
Croatia is in southeastern Europe (Shutterstock)

4. Croatia’s name comes from the Croats, a Slavic tribe who migrated to the Balkans in the 7th century CE.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

5. Croatia is home to the world’s smallest town. With a population of just 30, Hum has just two streets but it is still classed as a town despite it being similar in size to a village. It measures just 100m (328ft) long and 30m (98ft) wide.
– Source: The Sun

6. Croatia’s flag is made up of three horizontal strips of red, white and blue – the Pan-Slav colours which were inspired by the 19th-century Russian flag. There is also a central coat of arms.
– Source: Wanderlust (2021) Flags, Capitals and Countries of the World: The Complete Handbook. Wanderlust Press: London

Croatia's flag flying near tress
Croatia’s flag (Shutterstock)

7. The coat of arms is made up of a shield featuring a checkerboard of 13 red and 12 white squares with five smaller shields forming a crown above. The five small shields represent the five historic regions of Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia.
– Source: Wanderlust (2021) Flags, Capitals and Countries of the World: The Complete Handbook. Wanderlust Press: London

8. The Pula Roman Amphitheatre in Croatia is the sixth-largest of its kind. The 133m long, 105m wide and 32m high amphitheatre was built in the 1st century CE and could hold up to 20,000 people.
– Source: Lonely Planet

9. The Dalmatian dog breed is named after the coastal region of Dalmatia in present-day Croatia.
– Source: Britannica

A Dalmatian dog standing in grass
The Dalmatian dog is originally from Croatia (Shutterstock)

10. In 2011, the largest box of popcorn was created in Croatia. With a volume of 52.59m³ (1857ft³), the box took 1 hour and 57 minutes to fill.
– Source: Guinness World Records

11. Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia, has an Egyptian sphinx dating from the 15th century BCE. It was one of 12 looted from Egypt when the palace was constructed in the 4th century CE.
– Source: Croatian National Tourist Board, Lonely Planet

12. Croatia has 1,244 islands of which only 49 are permanently inhabited.
– Source: European Commission

An aerial view of islands surrounded with turquoise waters
Croatia is famous for its islands (Shutterstock)

13. The longest moonwalk over one hour took place in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2009, Krunoslav Budiselic moonwalked 15.7km (3.54 miles) breaking his previous record of a total of 5.23km (3.265 miles).
– Source: Guinness World Records

14. The necktie was created in Croatia around the 17th century and is celebrated on Cravat Day on 18th October every year.
– Source: The Atlantic

15. Croatia has a total of 10 properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
– Source: UNESCO

A wide view of  Dubrovnik in Croatia
Dubrovnik (Shutterstock)

16. The most famous of which is the Old City of Dubrovnik, known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ which has been an important Mediterranean sea power since the 13th century.
– Source: UNESCO

17. Dubrovnik is also famous as several scenes from the TV series Game of Thrones were filmed there, including the famous King’s Landing. The filming locations have become popular tourist attractions.
– Source: Lonely Planet

18. In Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, there is a Museum of Broken Relationships which displays mementoes left over from former relationships. Exhibits include a toaster stolen so an ex could never make toast again to a suicide note from somebody’s mother.
– Source: Lonely Planet

19. On the island of Susak, women wear a traditional skirt called the kamizot which is believed to be the shortest folk costume in Europe, preceding the mini skirt by over 100 years.
– Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

A close up of the kamizot
The traditional kamizot skirt (Fair Use)

20. Croatia has 21 elements on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage – only six countries – China, France, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Turkey – have more. Elements include lacemaking, gingerbread craft and falconry.
– Source: UNESCO

21. Before Croatia joined the Euro in 2023, its former currency kuna was named after a rodent. Kuna is the Croatian word for marten – a valuable pelt which was used for trade in the middle ages.
– Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

22. Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s most popular single natural attraction. The mineral-rich waters appear bright turquoise along an 8km (5 miles) series of 16 lakes and waterfalls surrounded by dense forests and hills.
– Source: Rough Guides

The turquoise Lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes (Shutterstock)

23. Croatia’s capital Zagreb means “beyond the trench (or ditch)”. Archaeologists believe the city’s original settlement was established beyond a water-filled hole known as a graba. In Slavic, za means “beyond”.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

24. Croatia holds the world record for the longest line of strudels, consisting of 5,874 strudels. It was achieved in the city of Sisak in 2019.
– Source: Guinness World Records

25. Croatia has had two Nobel laureates. Leopold Ružička was the joint winner of the 1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Vladimir Prelog won the 1975 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
– Source: Nobel Prize1, Nobel Prize2

26. Acclaimed inventor Nikola Tesla was born in modern-day Croatia even though he is often described as Serbian. Among other inventions, Tesla discovered and patented the rotating magnetic field, the principle behind alternating-current machines.
– Source: Smithsonian

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Croatia using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.