There are lots of interesting little fun facts about Croatia. Here are just 55 of them – some you may know and some you most likely won’t.
1. If you were to spread a map of the world flat the town of Ludbreg in Croatia would be bang in the centre.
2. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia today, but both Nin on the Dalmatian coast and Varazdin in the north have been capitals at one time in history.
3. The oldest inhabited city in Europe is the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci. The city has been inhabited for the past 8,000 years.
4. Split’s Diocletian Palace has a genuine Egyptian sphinx thanks to Emperor Diocletian who had it brought in from Egypt to adorn the entrance to his tomb.
5. The dog breed Dalmatian can be traced back to Croatia and the Dalmatia region.
6. Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European country together with Spain.
7. On the island of Susak women wear the shortest folk costumes in Europe.
8. Rice chocolate was invented in Croatia in 1963 at the Zvečevo factory in the western Slavonian city of Požega.
9. 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.
10. The Walls of Ston are the longest preserved fortification system in the world after the Great Wall of China.
11. The first King of Croatia was named Tomislav in 925 – this elevated Croatia to the status of a kingdom.
12. Nikola Tesla was born in Smiljan, Croatia.
13. One of the first medieval places in Europe to have a sewage system was Dubrovnik.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. The Roman amphitheater in Pula is the 6th largest amphitheatre in the world and the only one with all 3 rows preserved.
17. In the Croatian waters lives the last specimen of the Mediterranean seal.
18. 78% of Croatians claim knowledge of at least one foreign language.
19. Hum in Istria with a population of around 20 is the world’s smallest town.
20. Zagreb Cathedral holds the title of the tallest building in Croatia at 108 meters high.
21. The world’s first torpedo was constructed in Rijeka. Ivan Luppis (Ivan Vukić) developed the first prototypes of the self-propelled torpedo in 1866.
22. The national flower of Croatia is the Iris.
23. The island of Vis plays Greece in the Hollywood film ‘Mamma Mia 2’.
24. Croatia is ranked 127th in the world when it comes to the size of the country.
25. Croatia won the biggest haul of gold medals in Europe (per capita) at the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio.
26. The highest mountain in Croatia is the Dinara peak at 1,831 metres.
27. 10% of Croatia is protected via 11 Nature Parks, 8 National Parks, and 2 Nature Reserves.
28. The richest collection in the world of remains of Neanderthals was discovered in Krapina in central Croatia.
29. The island of Hvar off the Dalmatian coast is the island with the most hours of sunshine in Europe – more than 2,800 hours a year.
30. Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night was set in Dalmatia.
31. A sculptor from the island of Rab, Marin, founded San Marino.
32. There are nearly more Croatians living outside of the country as living in Croatia (4.2 million).
33. The Maglite flashlight which was designed by Croatian Anthony ‘Tony’ Maglica.
34. Croatia has over 1,200 islands, isles, and inlets.
35. Krk Island in the north part of Adriatic sea is the largest island in Croatia covering an area of 409 sq km (38 km length – up to 20 km width). It is also the most populated.
36. The island of Biševo has only 13 residents.
37. Famous Zlatni rat beach changes shape when winds are strong enough.
38. Croatia has the top two ace servers in tennis history – No.1 Ivo Karlović, No.2 Goran Ivanišević.
39. There are 41,188 winemakers and vineyards covering 20,885 hectares of land in Croatia.
40. Croatia is ranked 4th in the world for alcohol consumption per capita.
41. Croatia is the home of the necktie.
42. The biggest ever necktie in the world, measuring 808 metres, was displayed in Croatia. It took five days to complete and was tied around the Pula Arena in 2003.
43. The most-watched Croatian film of all time at the cinema is the 1996 film “Kako je počeo rat na mom otoku“ (How the War Started on My Island) with 342,000 tickets sold.
44. The highest ever temperature recorded in Croatia was 42.8°C in the town of Ploče back on 4 August 1981.
45. Dalmatian Klapa singing is protected by UNESCO.
46. Croatian Slavoljub Penkala was the inventor of the mechanical pencil.
47. The capital Zagreb used to be known by the name Agram.
48. The island of Cres is home to the last remaining colony of griffon vultures.
49. Croatian Ivan Vučetić from pioneered the use of fingerprinting. He was born on the island of Hvar before he moved to Argentina.
50. Oscar-winning Fiddler on the Roof, Sophie’s Choice and Dr. Who all were filmed in Croatia, as were Game of Thrones and Star Wars.
51. Luka is the most popular boys’ name in Croatia, whilst Mia is currently the most popular female name.
52. Horvat is the most common surname in Croatia with over 22,000 of them.
53. Croatian men are the 7th tallest on the planet.
54. There are around 15 different varieties of snakes living in Croatia, but only three of those are venomous – Common Adder, Karst Meadow Viper and Nose-horned Viper (Poskok).
55. The longest strudel in the world was baked in in Jaškovo, Croatia. It was 1,479.38 metres long.