Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a sovereign state located between Central Europe, Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. Its capital is Zagreb, which together with the twenty counties forms one of the main subdivisions of the country. Croatia covers an area of 56,594 square kilometers and has a diverse climate, mostly continental and Mediterranean. There are more than a thousand islands on the Croatian Adriatic coast. There are 4.28 million residents in the country, the majority of them being Croats, with Roman Catholicism being the most common religion.
The Croats came to the territory of present-day Croatia in the first half of the 7th century AD. By the 9th century they organized the state into two duchies. In the 9th century into two duchies. Tomislav became the first king in 925 and elevated Croatia to a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia managed to keep its sovereignty for nearly two centuries. During 1102 Croatia established a union with Hungary. Facing the Ottoman invasion in 1527, Croatian parliament chose Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg on the Croatian throne. After World War I, in 1918, Croatia was incorporated into the unrecognized state of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, which seceded from Austria-Hungary and was absorbed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During World War II, the fascist Croatian puppet state existed, supported by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. When the war ended, Croatia had become a constituent member and federal part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was a constitutionally socialist state. On June 25, 1991, Croatia declared its independence, which became fully effective on October 8 of the same year. In the four years following the declaration, the Croatian War of Independence was successfully fought.
Being a unitary state, the Republic of Croatia is administered by a parliamentary system. Croatia was classified as an emerging and developing country by the International Monetary Fund and was identified as a high-income nation by the World Bank. Croatia is the member of (EU), (UN), The Council of Europe, NATO, (WTO).
In Croatia, the service sector dominates its economy, which is followed by the industrial sector along with agriculture. In summer, tourism is a significant source of revenue. The country is the 18th most popular travel destination of the world. The state controls part of the economy, with significant government spending. At present, the EU is Croatia’s most important trading partner.A significant part of Croatia’s energy is generated from internal sources, while the rest is imported. Croatia provides a universal health care system along with free elementary and secondary education, while it supports culture through many public institutions and through corporate investments into the media and publishing houses.
Tourism in Croatia
Tourism dominates the Croatian service sector and contributes up to 20% to Croatia’s GDP. The annual income of the tourism industry was estimated at 7.4 billion euros in 2014. Its positive impact is felt throughout the Croatian economy, as evidenced by increased business volumes in the retail sector, orders in the manufacturing industry, and seasonal employment in the summer. In the period since the end of the Croatian War, the travel industry experienced significant and rapid growth, with tourist numbers increasing 4 times, reaching more than 11 million tourists per year. The largest number of tourists comes from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic, and from Croatia itself. The average length of a tourist’s stay in Croatia is 4.9 days.
Most of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic coast. Opatija was the first resort since the middle of the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century it became one of the most important European health resorts. Later, a number of resorts developed along the coast and on the islands, ranging from mass tourism to gastronomy and various niche markets. The most important is nautical tourism, as there are numerous marinas with more than 16 thousand berths, and cultural tourism, based on the attraction of the medieval coastal towns and the numerous cultural events that take place during the summer. In the interior there are mountain resorts, agrotourism and health resorts. Zagreb is also a major tourist destination competing with major coastal cities and spas.
Croatia is blessed with unpolluted seaside areas, which are reflected with numerous nature reserves and incredible 116 Blue Flag beaches. Croatia has been ranked as 18th most popular tourist destination of the world. About 15% of these visitors (over one million per year) engage in naturism, an industry for which Croatia is world famous. The country has also become first European country to have developed commercially nudist resorts.
Geography of Croatia
Located in Central and Southeastern Europe, Croatia is bordered by Hungary to the northeast, in the east with Serbia, in the southeast with Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the southeast with Montenegro, in the southwest by the Adriatic Sea and in the northwest with Slovenia. It lies mainly between latitudes 42° and 47° N and longitudes 13° and 20° E. Part of the territory at the far south around Dubrovnik is a practical exclave linked to the rest of the mainland by territorial waters, although separated on land by a short coastal strip belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.
It covers an area of 56,594 km2 and is made up of 56,414 km2 of land and 128 km2 of water. The country is the 127th in size. Altitude ranges from the mountains of the Dinaric Alps with the highest point of Dinara Peak at 1,831 meters (6,007 feet) near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south to the Adriatic Sea which forms its entire southwestern border. Insular Croatia is made up by more than a thousand islands and islets of different sizes, of which 48 are permanently inhabited. The biggest islands are Cres and Krk, each of them having an area of about 405 km2.
The hilly northern parts of Hrvatsko Zagorje and the flat plains of Slavonia in the east (part of the Pannonian Basin) are crossed by large rivers such as the Sava, Drava, Kupa and Danube. The Danube, the second longest river in Europe, crosses the town of Vukovar in the far east and is part of the border with Serbia. The central and southern regions close to the coast and islands of the Adriatic consist of low mountains and wooded highlands. Among the natural resources found in the country in sufficient quantities for production are oil, coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt and hydropower.
The karst topography represents about half of Croatia and is particularly important in the Dinaric Alps. There are a number of deep caves in Croatia, of which there are 49 with a deepness of more than 250 m, 14 with a deepness of more than 500 m and three with a deepness of more than 1,000 m. The best known lakes in Croatia are the Plitvice Lakes, a system of 16 lakes with waterfalls connecting them by cascades of dolomite and limestone. The lakes are famous for their special colors, which range from turquoise to mint green, gray or blue.
Demographics of Croatia
With an estimated population of 4.20 million by 2015, Croatia ranks 125th in the world. The population density is 75.9 inhabitants per square kilometre. Total life expectancy at birth in Croatia was 78 years in 2012. The overall fertility rate of 1.5 children per mother is among the lowest in the world. Since 1991, the mortality rate in Croatia has been consistently higher than the birth rate. According to the 2013 United Nations report, 17.6% of the Croatian population was made up of immigrant immigrants.
The population decrease was also a consequence of the Croatian War of Independence. The war displaced a significant proportion of the population and led to an increase in emigration. In 1991, more than 400 000 Croats and other non-Serbs in predominantly Serb areas were removed from their homes or fled the violence by Croatian Serb forces. During the last days of the war in 1995, more than 120 000 Serbs, and perhaps as many as 200 000, fled the country before the Croatian forces arrived during Operation Storm. Within ten years of the end of the war, only 117 000 Serbian refugees returned from the 300 000 displaced throughout the war. Most of the remaining Serbs in Croatia have never lived in areas occupied during the Croatian War of Independence. The Serbs have only partially resettled in the areas they previously inhabited, while some of the settlements previously inhabited by Serbs were established by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly from Republika Srpska.
Croatia is predominantly inhabited by Croats (90.4%) and is, ethnically speaking, the most homogeneous among the 6 countries of the former Yugoslavia.
Religion in Croatia
Croatia has no official religion. Freedom of religion is a right enshrined in the constitution, which also defines all religious communities as equal before the law and separated from the state.
The 2011 census showed that 91.36% of Croatians identify as Christians. Islam takes second place (1.47%). 4.57% of the population describes themselves as non-religious. The majority of Croats consider religion important in their daily lives.
Economy of Croatia
Croatia has a high-income economy. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, Croatia’s nominal GDP is USD 52 billion, or USD 12 405 per capita for the year 2017, while the purchasing power parity GDP is USD 97 billion, or USD 23 171 per capita. According to Eurostat data, Croatia’s GDP in PPS per capita was 61% of the EU average in 2012.
Real GDP growth in 2007 was 6.0%. In February 2016, Croatian workers’ average net salary was 5,652 HRK per month and average gross salary was 7,735 HRK per month. In March 2016 the registered unemployment rate in Croatia was 17.2 percent.
Economic output in 2010 has been dominated by the service sector, which represented 66% of GDP, while industry accounted with 27.2% and agriculture with 6.8% of GDP. The employment rate in agriculture was 2.7% of the labour force, 32.8% in industry and 64.5% in services, based on 2004 data. The industrial sector is dominated by shipbuilding, food industry, pharmaceuticals, information technology, biochemistry and the wood industry. In 2010, Croatian exports amounted to 64.9 billion Kuna (€8.65 billion) and imports to 110.3 billion Kuna (€14.7 billion). More than half of Croatia’s trade is with other Member States of the European Union.
Privatisation and the pursuit of a market economy had only just begun under the new Croatian Government when war broke out in 1991. As a result of the war, the economic infrastructure has suffered enormous damage, particularly the tourist industry, which is rich in income. The Croatian state still controls a significant part of the economy, with public expenditure amounting to up to 40% of GDP. An overdue judicial system, combined with inefficient public administration, especially in the areas of land ownership and corruption, is a particular cause for concern. In 2011, the country ranked 66th in Transparency International, with a corruption index of 4.0. Corruption is one of the main causes of this backlog. In June 2013, public debt stood at 59.5% of the country’s GDP.