GREY LANDS

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annie-spratt

Experience Croatia from the traces of its past to the details of its present

Words: Emily Georgieva

Photography: Annie Spratt

09 May 2019

Away from the dazzling depths of the turquoise water, there is a whole other, different side to the Mediterranean country. The city stands strong where the edges of an Empire once used to be.

Croatia is situated between the Balkans and Europe and has a very complicated history. Croatia has been ruled by kingdoms, empires and republics. Different kinds of rulers have had possession over the territory over the centuries. This variety can be seen in the architecture and the ruins of what is left from the past to remind about itself in the present. From the Napoleonic forts to the Roman columns and spacious plazzi, from the splendid mansions to the Slavic churches the history speaks very loudly through the buildings.

 

A lot of museums and theatres can be seen around Croatia. They successfully showcase the legacy of the European art that has been created there and left for the world to see and for Croatians to be proud of.

The territory of Croatia varies. With the deep lakes, the long-running rivers and the pastel canyons, there is always something to do. You can explore the hike trails, go rafting or zip lining over the forests as Croatia is known to have the fastest zip line in all of Europe. The Dinaric Alps are quite a scenery to see. They run from Italy to Albania. You can also head towards the 40 km long cycling trial, running around the country. There are several competitions held there for the lovers of biking. The Pmonian Challenge is a competition where BMX and Mountain bikers compete for the duration of a couple of days.​ The European cycling road runs through the country, connecting the Black Sea with the Atlantic.

The food culture revolves around freshness. Sea food is very popular, and you can go to the fish markets and pick what you want to eat yourself. Olive oil, sheep milk, Pag Island cheese and wine taste incredible and are a must try if you want to have an authentic Croatian experience and eat the way that locals do. Wine gets produced in Croatia. The history of the wine production dates back more than 2 500 years.

A total of 3.9 million people identifies themselves as Croats and 80% of the population are multilingual. The languages people speak vary depending on the region they live in. The nation is very welcoming. They are used to tourists and like showing their cities off.

Festivals are widely celebrated within Croatia. Some of them are worldwide famous. From the Love International Festival in Tisnu to the Outlook Festival in Fort Punta Christo near Pula and The Dimension Festival, they are tons of fun and a promise of a great time. Some of the parties are held within the medieval walls of the in Istria for the entire duration of the festivals.

There still exist some places that haven't been spoiled by tourism. Zadar is a place that combines traditional and modern in its tiny streets. Pula is a town build 3 000 years ago and you can find a lot of reefs, beaches and caves there. You can also swim around shipwrecks if you are a fan of depths and the bottom of the sea. The town of Senj is positioned at the bottom of two mountains while Sibenik is known to be an oceanfront town that has 150 islands and is very culturally and historically diverse. The town of Pag fills up with locals, who go there to celebrate multiple carnivals. It gets especially busy in September after the Outlook Festival finishes.

Interesting facts about Croatia:

The water is incredibly clear, and you can see the bottom from the surface. The reason for this is the fact that the Croatian beaches are stony instead of being covered with sand. The pebbles and rocks filter the water and keep it clean. There is a total of 803 beaches across the country and the water is crystal clear and beautifully blue in all of them.

You can see dinosaurs' footprints in the Brijuni National Park in the isle of Veliki Brijun as dinosaurs once walked over those lands sometime around 79 - 145 million years ago.

Osijek was the first Croatian city and the first ever place in this part of Europe to have urban transport. In 1884 the tram started moving up and down the streets of Croatia.

The islands of Brac are very graceful because of the white and glorious stones. They have been used in the construction of The White House in Washington D.C.

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