Croatian Studies

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  • CroatianStudiesNotesGeneralfacts

    TheterritoryofCroatiaincludes56,414km2oflandand33,268km2ofsea,makingup89,810km2.

    Consideringonlylandarea,Croatiais:a)the126thcountrybysizeamong197countriesoftheworldb)the26thcountrybysizeamong48Europeanstates(or43countries,ifweexclude

    Europeanmicrostateswithterritorieslessthan1000km2). ThusCroatiacanbeplacedinthelowermiddlesizerange,bothamongcountriesofthe

    worldandamongEuropeancountries. AnexceptionalfeatureofCroatia,whichdistinguishesitmarkedlyfromothercountriesof

    moreorlesssimilarsize,isitslargeproportionofterritorialsea,andrelativelyverylongcoastline.

    Bythelengthofitscoastline,Croatiaisranked22th(or21st)amongallcountriesoftheworld,and7thinEurope.

    RANKINGSOFTHELANDAREASOFEUROPEANCOUNTRIES(km2)1 EuropeanRussia* 3,960,000 17 Hungary 93,028 33Moldova 33,8512 Ukraine 603,500 18 Portugal 92,090 34Belgium 30,5283 France 545.630 19 Serbia 88,361 35Armenia 29,7434 Spain 505,992 20 Austria 83,871 36Albania 28,7485 Sweden 450,295 21 CzechRepublic 78,867 37Macedonia 25,7136 Germany 357,022 22 Ireland 70,273 38TurkeyinEurope* 23,7647 Finland 338,145 23 Georgia 69,700 39Slovenia 20,2738 Norway 389,224 24 Lithuania 65,300 40Montenegro 13,8129 Poland 312,685 25Latvia 64,589 41Cyprus 9,25110 Italy 301,318 26CROATIA 56,594 42Luxembourg 2,58611 UnitedKingdom 243,672 27BosniaandHerzegovina 51,197 43Andorra 46812 Romania 238,391 28Slovakia 49,035 44Malta 31613 Belarus 208,000 29Estonia 45,228 45Liechtenstein 16014 Greece 131,957 30Denmark 44,487 46SanMarino 6115 Bulgaria 110,879 31Netherlands 41,543 47Monaco 1.9516 Iceland 103,000 32Switzerland 41,284 48VaticanCity 0.44

    TotalsizeforRussiais16,996,800km2andforTurkey770,760km2;theEuropeanpartofKazakhstan,constitutedforthemostpartbytheWestKazakhstanregion(151,300km2)hasbeenommitted.

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    LENGTHOFTHECOASTLINESOFEUROPEANCOUNTRIES(km)1 Norway 28,735 17 Ireland 1,4482 Greece 13,676 18 Finland 1,2503 UnitedKingdom* 13,001 19 Cyprus 6484EuropeanRussia** 9,000 20 Latvia 5315 Italy 7,600 21 Poland 4916 Denmark* 8,431 22 Netherlands 4517CROATIA 5,835 23 Albania 3628 Iceland 4,988 24 Bulgaria 3549 Spain 4,964 25 Georgia 31010 Estonia 3,794 26 Romania 22511 EuropeanTurkey** 3732 27 Montenegro 19912 France 3,427 28 Malta 19713 Sweden 3,218 29 Lithuania 9914 Ukraine 2,782 30 Belgium 6615 Germany 2,389 31 Slovenia 4716 Portugal 1,793 32 BiH 20

    *IncludesEuropeanselfgoverningterritories**Approximation

    InordertoappreciatetherelevanceofCroatiaslongcoastline,wecannotethatCroatiaslandmassisabouttentimes(9,7)smallerthanthatofFrance,butitscoastisalmosttwiceaslong(1,7)astheFrenchcoast.

    CroatiaalsohasalongercoastlinethanSpain(1,2times),andisaboutnine(8,9)timessmallerthanthatcountry.Italyhasalongercoastline(1,3),buthasalandmassaboutfive(5,2)timesthatofCroatia.

    SimilarhighlyindentedseacoastsarepresentalsointhecasesofNorwayandGreece.LANDSCAPEFEATURESIslands

    Croatiahasbeendescribedasacountryofathousandislands.Allinall,ithas1185islands,islets,seastacksandreefs(outofatotalof1233intheAdriaticsea);718constituteislands,butonly66areatpresentinhabited.

    ThelargestislandsareCresandKrk,practicallyequalinsize(405,78km2),andBra(394,57km2),allthreeofwhicharelargerthantheRepublicofMalta(316km2).

    OtherlargeislandsincludeHvar(299,66km2),Pag(284,56km2),Korula276,03km2),Mljet(100,41km2),Vis(90,84km2),Rab(90,26km2)andLastovo(41km2).

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    ThefarthestoutlyingpointofCroatiaisthesmalluninhabitedisletGalijula(4222'49"N1620'23"E),locatedabout3NauticalmilesfromthePalagruagroupinthemiddleoftheAdriatic.

    ThesmallislandsinthemiddleoftheAdriatic,suchasPalagrua,GalijulaandthevolcanicislandJabuka,aresignificantinthattheygreatlyincreasethesizeofCroatiasterritorialwaters.

    Whilethelargeislandsoftenrepresentparticularentities,eachwithitsownpersonality,smallislands,especiallyiftheyarelocatedfarfromthecoast,havebeensufferingfromprogressivedepopulation.

    Smallislandslocatedclosetothecoasthavemanagedtopreservepermanentsettlements,dependingonhowwellcommunicationlinesfunctionandonotheravailableresources.

    Othersmallislandsserveasseasonalpastureareas,andsomehavebecomeattractivetonauticaltourists(Robinsontourism).

    ThepredominantlyuninhabitedislandsoftheKornatiarchipelagohavebeenorganisedintotheKornatiNationalParkandregularlyreceivetoursfromZadar,ibenik,Murterandotherplacesonthecentralmainlandcoast.

    WhereastheKornatiislandshavegenerallyverysparsevegetation,typicallyonlyMediterreanmacchia,Mljetislandinthesouthischaracterisedbyexceptionalgreenery.MljetNationalParkislocatedonthisisland.

    TheBrioniislandsinthenorth,alsohavebecomeanationalpark.TheseislandsshowaremarkablecontinuityofhumanfocusfromRomantimesuntilthepresent,andtheyaremostknownasthepersonalresortofMarshalTito.

    Another"case"datingfromtheformerYugoslavperiodisGoliOtok(literally"NakedIsland),whichservedasanotoriousprisoncampinthecommunistperiod;itsworstperiodwasduringtheInformbirocrisisafterthebreakbetweenTitoandStalinin1948.

    Mountains AlargepartofCroatiaismountainous.ThisappliesfirstofalltotheDinaricchain,

    sometimesreferredtoastheDinaricAlps. TheDinaricregionextendsalongtheAdriatichinterland,andincludesalsoalargepartofthe

    territoryofneighbouringcountries,Montenegro,BosniaHerzegovinaandsouthwestSlovenia,whereitblendsintotheJulianAlps.

    CarstisthebasiccomponentoftheDinaricregion,whichrepresentsthelargestareaofcontinuouscarstinEurope.Itismadeupofdynamicandporouslimestone.Caves,pitsandundergroundriversarefrequent.Dependingonlocalconditions,thelandscapemayberugidandcraggy,orcoveredbyalayerofsoil,producingforestvegetation.

    TheDinaricchainisnamedaftertheDinaramountain,locatedontheborderbetweenCroatiaandBosniaHercegovina.DinarapeakmarksthehighestpointinCroatia(1831m);othermajormountainsinclude:Kamenica(1810m),Biokovo(Sv.Jure1762m),Velebit(Vaganskivrh,1758m),Pljeivica(Ozeblin1657m),VelikaKapela(Bjelolasica,1533m),Risnjak(1528m),Svilaja(1508m)andSnjenik(1506m)

    VelebithasaparticularplaceinCroatianidentity,probablyduetoitssplendidrise,practicallyfromtheverycoast,andlikewisebecauseitbringstogetherContinentalandMediterranean

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    Croatia.ItisseenastheabodeoflegendsandtheNymphofVelebit(vilavelebitska),whoinspiredtheCroatpeople.

    ClimaticallyVelebitdividestheMediterraneanzoneanditsparticularterrainofmacchiafromtheforestedlandscapenorthofthemountain.ThistransformationisevidentinPaklenicaNationalPark,locatedinthesouthernpartoftheVelebitchange.

    VelebitalsoincludesNorthVelebitNationalPark,amosaicforestedandrockyparttherange,withLukasCave(Lukinajama),oneofthedeepestcavesintheworld,reachingadepthof1392m.

    FurthernorthfromVelebit,wefindtherangesfirsttheVelikaKapelarangeandthenRisnjak.TheCroatianOlympicCentreislocatedonBjelolasicapeakinVelikaKapela.

    RisnjakNationalParkincludesthepeaksRisnjak(LynxMountain)andSnjenik(SnowMountain).Theareaisnotedforitsfloraandfauna.TheriverKupa,whichformspartofthebordrbetweenCroatiaandSlovenia,islocatedinRisnjak.

    OutsideoftheDinaricarea,moutainousareascanbefoundalsoinNorthWestCroatia,andinasmallerpartofEastCroatia.

    IntheNorthWest,themostnotedexamplesareumberak(Sv.Gera,1178m),Ivanica(1061m)andMedvednica(Slijeme1061m),andintheEastPsunj(984m),Papuk(953m)andKrndija(790m).BetweentheNorthWestandEast,therearelowerhillareassuchasKalnik(643m)andBilogora(309m),andintheextremeEastasmallpartofFrukaGora(FrankishMountain)entersintoCroatia,aroundthetownofIlok.

    umberakisanareaofsoilcoveredcarst,ontheborderwithSlovenia(inSloveniathemountainrangeiscalledGorjanci).Itwasextensivelysettledinthe16thcentury(duringtheTurkishwars),butinrecenttimeshassufferedfromseveredepopulation.Thehighestpeak,Sv.Gera,wasoccupiedbytheSlovenearmyin1991,whenittookoveraformerYugoslavmilitaryinstallationonthissummit.

    IvanicaisthemajormoutainofCroatianZagorje,ahillyregionintheNorthWest,whereastheMedvednica(BearMountain),locatedimmediatelybehindZagreb,isalsoknownasZagrebMountain.IthasamicroclimaticeffectonZagreb,sinceitapparentlyprotectsthecityfromcoldwindsfromthenorth.

    Rivers SeveralriversrunningthroughCroatiaoriginateintheDinariccarst.Inthesouth,the

    Neretva,Cetina,KrkaandZrmanjaflowfromthecarsthinterlandintotheAdriatric. TheNeretvaisthecentralriverofHerzegovina,butitsdeltaislocatedinCroatia.Theland

    aroundthedeltaisextensivelycultivated.Herewefindlargeplantationsofcitrusfruits,mainlymandarinsandoranges.

    TheKrka,initslowercourse,formsanimpressivecomplexwithmanywaterfallsandlakesthattransformintoabroadestuarythatconnectswiththeAdriaticnearthetownofibenik.ThiscomplexmakesuptheKrkaNationalPark.

    TheZrmanjacutsadeepcanyonthroughthecarst.Todayitsuppercourseservesasanideallocationforsportssuchasrafting.

    Furthernorth,twosmallsubmergingstreams,theLikaandGackahavegiventheirnamestothebroaderregionssurroundingthem

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    InthenorthDinaricare,wefindtheRjeina,lit.BigRiver,whichenterstheAdriatricinRijeka,acitywhichtookitsnameafterthisriver(theCroatianRijekaandItalianFiumearedirecttranslations).

    ThetwolargestCroatianriversoriginatingintheDinariccarst,theKupaandUna,flownorthwardsintotheSavaandhencearepartoftheBlackSeawatershed.BothserveinpartasborderriverstheKupadesiginatesaportionoftheborderwithSlovenia,andtheUna(intwosections)markstheborderwithBosniaandHerzegovina.

    ThesourceoftheUnaislocatedinWesternBosnia,inaregionthatoncebelongedtotheCroatianstate.PriortotheTurkishexpansioninthe16thcentury,oneofthemostimportantlandroutesfromNorthCroatiatotheAdriaticfollowedthecourseoftheUna.Thisriveris212kmlongandtodayCroatiashares120kmofitscourse.

    TheKupaoriginatesintheRisnjakmountainandflowsintotheSavaatSisak.Itis296kmlong,andistheonlymajorriverthatistotallyincludedinCroatia.ItsmostimportanttributariesaretheKorana(linkedwiththeMrenica),theDobraandGlina,whichalloriginateintheDinariccarst,andfinallytheOdra,whichreceivestheinflowofseveralsubmergedsteamsf