Here is my list of random facts about Croatia. Some of them are pretty awesome.
#1: Croatians invented a tie. OK, this fact is everywhere on the internet, and you probably knew it all together. I had to start with something. And possibly with something THIS big.
#2: Croatian inventor Slavoljub Penkala invented the ball-point pen in 1906 and the first solid-ink fountain pen in 1907. Remember, Penkala!
#3: Nikola Tesla, master of the electricity and a true inventor, was born in Croatia, in a small, remote village Smiljan. His family house is still there and it’s open for visitors as well as Tesla museum. It is really in the middle of nowhere. You know, not far from Gospic.
#4: White House was apparently built with the stone from Croatian island of Brac. However, this fact has lots of controversy. Like it was totally practical to bring the stone from the remote island 6000 miles away from USA.
#5: Dalmatian dogs’ roots trace back to Croatian region of Dalmatia. Apparently they are cute and lovely dogs.
#6: Marco Polo is born on the Croatian island of Korcula. Don’t listen to Italians.
#7: Janica Kostelic, one of the best female skiers of all times, is Croatian. Not so surprising considering that Croatia has 10 ski lifts and 30 km of slopes… in total.
#8: Ston walls are the longest fortification walls in Europe. They are 5.5 km long. OK, they are not maybe The Great Wall of China, but laugh after you walk them on a hot summer day.
#9: Croatian mountain Velebit was a principal shooting location for the famous German Karl May Winnetou movies in 60′s. Hey, this is really huge in Germany.
#10: Museum of Broken relationship is one of its kind and it is in Zagreb. You know, it is a display of love gone wrong. Great stuff!
#11: Zinfandel grape variety comes from Croatia. Oh yeah, this one is for real. Croatian old wine variety, Crljenak Kastelanski, is the same grape variety as Zinfandel. DNA proved. Napa Valley, you’re welcome!
#12: Words without vowels are everywhere in Croatian language. Try pronouncing: Krk, trn, vrt, prst, strm… Do you really want me to continue?!
#13: The native name for Croatia is Hrvatska. I am just throwing it in, while we are still on pronunciation exercise.
#14: Croatia has over 1.000 islands. That’s…. a lot of islands.
#15: You pay public TV and radio station in Croatia (and in Croatian) even if you never watch or listen to these stations. Yep, even if you don’t understand a word they are saying. This is not cool!
#16: Ice will give you a bad throat, sitting on the cement will destroy your kidneys, and draught will instantly kill you and should be avoided at any cost. This is all old wisdom we believe in here in Croatia. Don’t try to tell us differently.
#17: When giving flowers to somebody, make sure there is an odd number of stems. At least if you are giving them to a live person. Flowers with an even number of stems are for the graveyards.
#18: Croatia was the first country in the world to offer nudist holidays. Of course, according to the legend, we got an idea from the British royals, King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson. They were the first ones to swim naked in the Bay of Kanda, on the island of Rab, back in 1930.
#19: If somebody invites you for a coffee, you can actually order something else. Coffee culture in Croatia is so strong, that the word “coffee” just got the meaning of the word “drink”. Sometimes by watching busy cafes in the middle of the day, you might get a wrong impression that Croatians don’t work. We actually do. In the bar. While we drink coffee.
#20: The largest white truffle ever was found in Croatia. Yep, you can all check it in The Guinness World Records. This is pretty awesome, you must admit.
Photo credit (main photo): Flickr & Ivan Ivankovic
35 thoughts on “Random facts about Croatia”
Croatia is amazing! :)
In the Croatian countryside not far from Zagreb we saw some timber houses that had blue “something” between the logs. Would you please tell be about the “blue” color and what those houses are call?
Hi Mark, in all honesty, I have no clue. But do share it here with us if you find out.
I think it’s fair to write in English, but I’m from Split, you forgot to mention that the torpedo was invented here in Rijeka :)
Thanks, Nikola! I’ll make sure to add it to the list.
The flower one is interesting…you’ll have to help me with my pronunciation when I visit :D
Lol, Ashley. Frank has given up already on pronunciation :).
I always believed that Marco Polo was born in Mexico. Dammn, Mexican history classes are sure very far behind :(
Lol, Raphael. I guess many countries are claiming him. Did they open a Marco Polo birth house there? We did in Croatia :)
Weird I thought I commented on this post a couple months ago. Anyways, I was surprised at how many islands there were in Croatia! I had no idea.
Lol, Samantha! I would publish it, believe me. I treasure every comment on my website. Thanks for the comment :)
Stoked I already knew a few of these from my time in Croatia! Thanks for the ballpoint pen, by the way. I love those! Agree with the coffee culture thing I think England has fallen foul of the coffee culture thing to! We all ask each other if we “wanna go out for coffee?” then drink tea anyway. Haha.
Don’t you find that funny. It impresses me anyway. And, we love your stories on Croatia, and the region. Quite unique point of view, and also you made us discover so many thing we haven’t known about (regardless of living here).
Haha, Hungarians have also laid claim to the ball point pen with László Bíró. When I was in Zagreb, my friends and I hunted down the statue of Tesla. If we had time we would have gone out where he was born. Next time!
Dammit, everybody is turning the facts around :). Definitely another reason to visit Croatia again (beside to cook an amazing Chinese meal for us :)
Some really great, interesting tips here! I am sure I would struggle with the language in Croatia especially when you have to get your head around words without any vowels – not sure how that works! Remember watching Kostelic dominate the slopes a few years ago whenever I watched both mens and women’s skiing on TV, but I seem to have lost track of whats going on nowadays despite the Sochi 2014 Olympics currently taking place.
Croatia just seems like a really interesting place that is frequently underrated but hopefully through your excellent blogs, you will encourage more folks to experience the country for themselves and make their own judgements.
Thanks, Chris! It’s a beautiful country, really worth visiting. Yeah, I’m not following Socchi much. No time for anything beside this blog :).
now I like #11 – that I did not know and now that I do, well it has to be another location to add to the list of potential wine-tasting holidays!! have you stayed on many vineyards?
It’s pretty interesting one, isn’t it?! Thanks for your comment, Anna!
Overall, a fun and interesting post!! I had no idea that ties originated in Croatia!! And those words without vowels!! Oh, there are so many of them that I wasn’t aware of that I could go on all day!!
Words without vowels are totally challenging. Many I am not able to pronounce.
I didn’t know even a small part of these facts about our neighbours:) What a cool compilation of interesting facts! that museum about broken relationships especially intrigued me, sounds a genuine idea!
Thanks, Gabor! The museum of broken relationship is really cool, and a must-visit if you come to Zagreb.
Winnetu was also shot near Pakoštani in Dalmatia too, and I am not quite sure, but I think that some scenes were shot at the Plitvice lakes.
Some old movie about Vikings was shot on Limski kanal location in Istria, but I can’t remember the original title of the film. I only can remember that Kirk Douglas was in it.
Parts of “The Winds of War” series have been taken in Samobor, near Zagreb, and The Game of Thrones’ location is in Dubrovnik.
Some films have been shot in Zagreb too.
Greetings from Lago di Bundek, Zagreb
thanks for the information. Few movies were shot at different locations in Croatia. Cool!
About the words without wovels:)… There are 30 letters in Croatian language but we have also a voice similar to indefinite article in English that is pronounced before that r in krk, rt, hrt, vrt and similar words. So, you should read the word Krk the same way you pronounce name of captain Kirk from Star Trek. But, very interesting thing is that most of Croats are not aware of the existence of this sound and when they have to pronounce it in English language you will sometimes hear e (like in word bet) or i (like in hit) or something else instead.
Greetings from Lago di Bundek, Zagreb
Thanks for your tips. Now it should be easier for me to actually pronounce Krk!
About Marco Polo… Yes, agree with some people that everybody claims him and nothing can really be proven as truth:).
And both can be true his origins might be from nowadays Croatia and he still can be Italian…
Hard to say, isn’t it?! Thanks for stopping by.
Actually, Penkala’s invention is one kind of a mechanical pencil (propelling pencil), too.
Greetings from Lago di Bundek, Zagreb
Didn’t know that. Thanks!
Okay, I won’t argue :D plus not about Marco Polo :P
LoL. Everybody is claiming Marco Polo.
Ohh man, I hope I got my stem count correct. I had no idea about that one (and many others)!