The culture of
Croatia has roots in a long history: the Croatian
people have been inhabiting the area for fourteen centuries, but there
are important remnants of the earlier periods still preserved in the
Because of its geographic position,
Croatia represents a blend of four
different cultural spheres. It has been a crossroad of influences of
the western culture and the east—ever since division of the Western
Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire—as well as of the Mitteleuropa
and the Mediterranean culture. The
Illyrian movement was the most
significant period of national cultural history, as the 19th-century
period proved crucial in emancipation of the
Croatian language and saw
unprecedented developments in all fields of art and culture, giving
rise to a number of historical figures. Most notably,
Croatia has a
place in the history of clothing as the origin of the cravat, a
precursor of the modern necktie.
1 Ancient heritage
2 Visual arts
7 Festivities and traditions
12 See also
14 External links
Ancient monuments from the
Paleolithic era consist of simple stone and
bone objects. Some of the earliest remaining historical features
include 100,000-year-old bones of a
Neandertal man near Krapina,
The most interesting
Copper Age or
Eneolithic finds are from Vučedol
culture. Out of that culture sprung out
(named after the city of Vinkovci) that is recognizable by bronze
fibulas that were replacing objects like needles and buttons.
Bronze Age culture of Illyrians, ethnic group with distinct culture
and art form started to organize itself in 7th century BC. Numerous
monumental sculptures are preserved, as well as walls of citadel,
Nezakcij near Pula, one of numerous Istrian cities from Iron Age.
Greeks from Syracuse in
Sicily in 390 BC came to the islands of Vis
Hvar (Pharos), and
Korčula (Corcyra Nigra), and there have
founded city-states in which they lived quite isolated. While the
Greek colonies were flourishing on the island, on the continent the
Illyrians were organizing their centers. Their art was greatly
influenced by Greek art, and they have even copied some. Illyrians
Greek colonies on Dalmatian islands. Famous was the
Teuta of Issa (today island of Vis) which waged wars with the
Romans. But finally, Rome subdued the
Illyrians in the 1st century,
cesar and after that the history of these parts is a history of
Illyrian provinces of Rome and Byzantium.
The Romans organized the entire coastal territory by transforming
citadels to urban cities. There have been at least thirty cities in
Dalmatia with Roman citizenship (civitas). The
best-preserved networks of Roman streets (decumanus/cardo) are those
in Epetion (Poreč) and Jader (Zadar). The best preserved Roman
monuments are in Pola (Pula) including an
Amphitheater (an arena) from
the 2nd century.
In the 3rd century AD, the city of
Salona was the largest (with 40,000
inhabitants) and most important city of Dalmatia. Near the city,
emperor Diocletian, born in Salona, built
Diocletian's Palace (around
year 300 AD), which is the largest and most important monument of
late antique architecture in the World. In the 4th century, Salona
became the center of Christianity for entire western Balkans. It hade
numerous basilicas and necropolises, and even two saints: Domnius
(Duje) and Anastasius (Staš).
One of few preserved basilicas in western Europe (beside ones in
Ravenna) from the time of early
Euphrasian Basilica in
Poreč from the 6th century.
Pre-Romanesque Church of St. Donatus in Zadar, from the 9th century
The early Middle Ages brought the great migration of the
this period was perhaps a
Dark Age in the cultural sense until the
successful formation of the Slavic states which coexisted with Italic
cities that remained on the coast, each of them were modelled like
Main article: Art of Croatia
Portal of the
Trogir cathedral by sculptor Radovan, c. 1240
In the 7th century the Croats, along with other
Slavs and Avars, came
from Northern Europe to the region where they live today. The
Croatians were open to
Roman art and culture, and most of all to
The altar enclosure and windows of early medieval churches were highly
decorated with a transparent shallow string-like ornament that is
Croatian interlace because the strings were threaded and
rethreaded through themselves. Sometimes the engravings in early
Glagolitic appear. Soon, the
were replaced with
Latin ones on altar boundaries and architraves of
Well of Life, Ivan Meštrović, 1905
In Croatian Romanesque sculpture, we have a transformation from
decorative interlace relief (Croatian interlace) to figurative relief.
The best examples of
Romanesque sculpture are: the wooden doors of the
Split cathedral made by
Andrija Buvina (c. 1220) and the stone portal
Trogir cathedral by the artisan Radovan (c. 1240).
Zadar was an
independent Venetian city. The most beautiful examples of Gothic
Zadar are reliefs in gilded metal as in Arc of St. Simon
by artisans from
Milan in 1380.
Most prominent modern sculptors include Ivan Meštrović, Antun
Augustinčić, Frano Krišnić and others.
Gothic painting is less well-preserved, and the finest works are in
Istria such as the fresco-cycle of Vincent from Kastav in the Church
of Holy Mary in Škriljinah near Beram, from 1474. From that time are
two of the best and most decorated illuminated liturgical books made
by monks from Split, Hvals’ Zbornik (today in Zagreb) and the Missal
of the Bosnian Duke Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić (now in Istanbul).
The most prominent painter from
Federiko Benković who
worked almost his entire life in Italy, while an Italian, Francesco
Robba, did the best Baroque sculptures in Croatia.
In Austrian countries at the beginning of the 19th century the
Romantic movement in
Croatia was sentimental, gentle and subtle. Vlaho
Bukovac brought the spirit of impressionism from Paris, and he
strongly influenced the young artists (including the authors of
"Golden Hall"). On the Millennium Exhibition in
Budapest they were
able to set aside all other artistic options in Austro-Hungary.
The turbulent 20th century re-oriented
Croatia politically on many
occasions and affected it in many other ways, but it could not
significantly alter its already peculiar position at the crossroads of
many different cultures.
Fragmenta Vindobonensia dated 11th/12th century from the
west of Croatia
Main article: Music of Croatia
Croatia has two major influences: Central European, present
in the central and northern parts of the country including Slavonia,
and Mediterranean, particularly present in the coastal regions of
Dalmatia and Istria.
In Croatia, both pop and rock are popular, and often incorporates
Dalmatian or Slavonian folk elements. Since the mid-20th century,
schlagers and chanson-inspired music have formed the backbone of the
Croatian popular music.
Main article: Education in Croatia
Croatia enjoy free government-sponsored education at the
primary and secondary level, and partially free university education.
There are over 800 primary schools and over 400 secondary schools in
The higher education is also government-sponsored, and mostly free for
students who enroll with better results. There are thirty two various
polytechnic schools, as well as seven universities in seven larger
cities: Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, Zadar, Dubrovnik, and Pula.
Each of the universities in
Croatia is composed of many independent
"faculties" (Croatian fakultet, meaning college or department), which
focus on specific areas of learning: Natural Sciences, Philosophy,
Law, Engineering, Economy, Architecture, Medicine, and so on.
There are also a number of other educational and scientific
institutions, such as institutes (most notably the Ruđer Bošković
Institute) or the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, a learned
society promoting language, culture, and science from its first
conception in 1866.
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church was instrumental in the founding of many
educational facilities in Croatia. The Catholic Church in Croatia
continues to maintain numerous seminaries and theological faculties in
the country, as well as the Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome
for Croatian students in Rome.
Category II (National Park)
UNESCO has marked seven places in
Croatia as World Heritage Sites:
Episcopal complex of the
Euphrasian Basilica in the historic center of
The cathedral of St. James in Šibenik
Historic city of Trogir
Diocletian's Palace, built by Roman Emperor Diocletian
Old city of Dubrovnik
Stari Grad Plain
Stari Grad Plain on the
Adriatic island of Hvar, parceled by Ancient
Regarding conservation and natural beauty,
Croatia has eight national
parks, mostly situated along the
Main article: Architecture of Croatia
St Stephen in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, the 14th
The oldest preserved examples of architecture in
Croatia are the 9th
century churches, with the largest and the most representative among
them being Donatus of
Zadar and Church of Holy Trinity, Split.
Some of the first churches build by the
Croats were royal
sanctuaries, and the influences of
Roman art were the strongest in
Dalmatia where urbanization was most dense, and there were the largest
number of monuments. Along the coast, the architecture is
Mediterranean with a strong influence of renaissance architecture in
major urban areas best exemplified in works of Venetian Giorgio da
Sebenico and Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino. Architecture in Croatia
reflects influences of bordering nations. Austrian and Hungarian
influence is visible in public spaces and buildings in the north and
in the central regions. Large squares named after culture heroes,
well-groomed parks, and pedestrian-only zones, are features of these
orderly towns and cities, especially where large scale Baroque urban
planning took place, for instance in Varaždin and Karlovac.
Subsequent influence of the
Art Nouveau was reflected in contemporary
Festivities and traditions
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Main article: Croatian cuisine
Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous, and is therefore known as "the
cuisine of regions". Its modern roots date back to proto-Slavic and
ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs and
forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and
those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by
the earlier proto-Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more
famous gastronomic orders of today, Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish,
while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and
Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine, including
Italian and French.
A large body of books bears witness to the high level of gastronomic
culture in Croatia, which in European terms dealt with food in the
distant past, such as the Gazophylacium by Belostenec, a
Latin-Kajkavian dictionary dating from 1740 that preceded a similar
French dictionary. There is also Beletristic literature by Marulić,
Hektorović, Držić and other writers, down to the work written by
Ivan Bierling in 1813 containing recipes for the preparation of 554
various dishes (translated from the German original), and which is
considered to be the first Croatian cookbook.
Main article: Sport in Croatia
Croatia has been a fairly successful sporting
country. The most popular team sports have been association football
Croatian Football Federation
Croatian Football Federation (Croatian: Hrvatski
nogometni savez), with more than 118,000 registered players, is the
largest sporting association in the country.
Other popular sports are handball, basketball and to some extent water
polo. The most popular sports played mainly by individuals are tennis,
skiing, swimming, and to some extent table tennis and chess. The
nation's arenas are primarily used for handball and basketball games.
Science fiction in Croatia
List of radio stations in Croatia
Croatian language television channels
Television in Croatia
Natural and Cultural Heritage of Croatia
List of museums in Croatia
^ "Culture and History". Croatian National Tourist Board. Archived
from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
^ "Roman Art". Artchive.com. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
^ Map, The Megalithic
Portal and Megalith. "Diocletian's Palace". The
Megalithic Portal. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
^ Valentin V. Sedov,
Slavs in the Early Middle Ages Archived
2013-11-11 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Žagar, Mateo (1 January 2005). "Grapholinguistic description of
Becki listici". Bib.irb.hr. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
^ "CROATIAN ART HISTORY – OVERVIEW OF PREHISTORY". Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and European Integration (Croatia). Archived from the
original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
^ "Church of Saint Donat".
Zadar Tourist Board. Retrieved 10 October
^ The First Croatian State Archived 2008-03-31 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Varaždin – Baroque Capital of Croatia".
Varaždin County Tourist
Board. Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 10
^ "Najljepši gradovi Sjeverne Hrvatske – Karlovac, Ozalj, Ogulin"
[The Most Beautiful Cities of the Northern
Croatia – Karlovac,
Ozalj, Ogulin]. Jutarnji list (in Croatian). 14 August 2010. Retrieved
10 October 2011.
^ Darja Radović Mahečić (2006). "Sekvenca secesije – arhitekt Lav
Kalda" [Sequence of the
Art Nouveau – Architect Lav Kalda] (PDF).
Radovi Instituta za povijest umjetnosti (in Croatian). Institute of
Art History (Croatia). 30: 241–264. ISSN 0350-3437. Archived
from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 10 October
^ "About Croatian Football Federation". Croatian Football Federation.
Retrieved 6 August 2014.
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