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