By Iva Ralica
Croatia is a beautiful and small country probably best known internationally for its amazing coast. Besides the coast, it is also known the birthplace of Nikola Tesla, the home of the necktie (“cravat”) and for Slavoljub Penkala, the inventor of the mechanical pencil.
There are a lot more interesting little facts about Croatia, here are 20 of them.
1. The dog breed Dalmatian can be traced back to Croatia and the Dalmatia region.
2. Split’s Diocletian Palace has a genuine Egyptian sphinx thanks to the Emperor Diocletian who had it bought in from Egypt to adorn the entrance to his tomb.
3. The oldest city in Europe is the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci. The city has been inhabited for the the past 8,000 years.
4. Croatia has the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO (and shares this first place with Spain) and has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.
5. Zadar has the world’s first pipe organ played by the sea and is also known for its sunset which Alfred Hitchcock said was the most beautiful in the world.
6. On the island of Susak women wear the shortest folk costumes in Europe.
7. One of the first medieval places in Europe to have a sewage system was Dubrovnik.
8. Dubrovnik was known as the “Adriatic pearl” in the early 19th century (thanks to the English poet Lord Byron) and not only as “Game of Thrones” King’s Landing and Star Wars filming location.
9. Hum in Istria with a population of around 20 is the world’s smallest town.
10. Croatians had their own alphabet. The Glagolitic alphabet was preserved only by Croats who used it from the 12th to the 20th century, mostly in liturgy.
11. The Roman amphitheater in Pula is the 6th largest amphitheatre in the world and the only one with all 3 rows preserved.
12. In the Croatian waters lives the last specimen of the Mediterranean seal.
13. Croatia is ranked 127th in the world when it comes to size of country.
14. The world’s first torpedo was constructed in Rijeka. Ivan Luppis (Ivan Vukić) developed the first prototypes of the self-propelled torpedo in 1866.
15. The national flower of Croatia is the Iris.
16. Croatia won the biggest haul of gold medals in Europe (per capita) at the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio.
17. 10% of Croatia is protected via 11 Nature Parks, 8 National Parks and 2 Nature Reserves.
18. The richest collection in the world of remains of Neandethals was discovered in Krapina in central Croatia.
19. Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night was set in Dalmatia.
20. A sculptor from the island of Rab, Marin, founded San Marino.