Unspoiled Villages | Diverse Culture | Iconic Landmarks | Genuine Hospitality
Croatia’s history and character are inextricably entangled with the sea and the flow of trade to and from Europe and the east. The rich history, complex culture, pristine waters, 1000 islands, world class sailing and charm of its unspoiled villages make Croatia an irresistible holiday destination in the very heart of Europe.
The identity of its people is shaped by the seafaring lifestyle, Croatia’s 5,000 km of rugged coastline, the geography of its 1000 islands, and the rich continental culture influenced by a host of foreign travelers, conquerors and traders throughout the centuries traipsing between the East, Dubrovnik, Continental Europe and Istria. Even Ghengis Khan left his footprints in Croatia.
Seeking access to the sea and trade routes between east and west, Croatia became a safe passage for trade and a pathway for armies – each visitor leaving their mark on the landscape, architecture and culture. The Illyrians date back to 1000 BC, the Greeks to the 4th century BC, followed by the Romans, the Venetians, the Ottomans, the Austro Hungarians and the Italians. Today you can even visit sites of 13th century battles between the Croatians and the Mongols. Napoleon marched all the way through Istria to southern Dalmatia, leaving his indelible influence on Croatia. After the battle of Austerlitz, most of Croatia became a satellite of Napoleon’s French Republic. Some claim that Napoleon said “Give me 100,000 Croatian soldiers and I will conqure all the world”.
This constant flow of people has shaped the distinct island culture and continental flavor of the mainland – even affecting its language, which is Slavic with a strong influence of Italian (with Venetian and Tuscan dialects for added flavor), German, Turkish and English.
The lingering effect is visible everywhere, from the Viennese flavor of the cafes in Opatia on the Istrian coast to the Roman ruins in Cavtat, a waystop south of Dubrovnik, which was actually founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC. Even today, Croatia’s geography influences its destiny, culture, cuisine and place in history.