Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Republic of Croatia

My first visit to Croatia was back in 2010 and it is one of my favorite holiday spots in Europe.  Other people feel the same way because it gets over 10 million visitors each year.  It is one of the top holiday destinations for many Czechs.  So far I've been to Hvar, Split, Brač, Plitovice and Zagreb.  And there are more places still on my list such as Dubrovnik, Zadar, Trogir, Bol, Pula, Rovinj, Vukovar, Rijeka and Osijek.  So here's a bit more about Croatia.

The Republic of Croatia is located in the Balkans and is slightly smaller than West Virginia.  There are more than 1,000 islands.  The country has a population of 4.29 million people.  The capital, and largest city, is Zagreb.

Until the end of WWI, Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  In 1918, it became part of the Kingdom of Croats, Serbs and Slovenes, which later became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  During WWII, Croatia was a fascist Nazi puppet state.  After the war, Croatia became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In June 1991, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia.  Croatia's War of Independence lasted more than four years.  Most of the bitter fighting was between Croatia and Serbia.  Despite that the economy was severely hurt during the Balkan War; Croatia is still one of the wealthiest of the former Yugoslav republics.

Today, Croatia is a member of the UN and NATO.  It is scheduled to join the EU in July 2013.  Right now, the currency is Croatian Kuna (Crowns) but once it joins the EU, it will eventually have to adopt the Euro.

In the days of Yugoslavia, the primary language was Serbo-Croatian.  Although many Croats called it Croato-Serbian.  Serbo-Croatian was used in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.  Serbian and Croatian are pretty much the same language.  The big difference is that Croatian uses a Latin alphabet and Serbian uses a Cyrillic alphabet.  While there are some differences between the two languages, I think that they are more similar than the differences between Czech and Slovak.  Since the breakup of Yugoslavia there has been a push in the former republics to have their own languages.  Now all of a sudden there is Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin.  They're all the same thing.  It's like me saying that I can speak Californian, Georgian and Bostonian.

Update 2023:  Croatia joined both the Eurozone and Schengen.


  1. Yes Christopher - Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin are effectively the same thing other than the alphabet/script that is used. Now they are separate nation states, great emphasis is put on the slight differences rather than on the similarities. It has been just the same since the Velvet Divorce with the Slovaks in particular, emphasising the slight differences between Czech & Slovak even though an adult Czech can understand an adult Slovak with very little difficulty & vice versa.

    1. Yes, adult Czechs and Slovaks don't have a problem but the younger generations have more difficulty. It seems that it is easier for young Slovaks to understand Czech than it is for young Czechs to understand Slovak.

      My Czechs friends jokingly say that if a drunk Czech tries to speak Russian, what you end up with is Slovak. My Slovak friends don't seem to find that one as funny as my Czech friends.

    2. Yes Christopher - you are quite right about the younger generation of Czechs & Slovaks. The explanation I've heard more than once is that because there are just over 10 million Czechs but only 5 million Slovaks, many children's books do not get translated into Slovak so the Slovak schools use the Czech versions instead.

      As for your second paragraph, (which had me LOL), it does reflect the general tendency of most Czechs who tend to look down on Slovaks & see them as their country cousins. Not surprisingly, that attitude doesn't go down well with Slovaks.