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Croatia

Croatia

The timber-built curias and tiny churches f Turopolje, south of Zagreb, are built from ie domestic common oak growing in the floodrests. The overall unity of popular architec-jre and traditional rural life in harmony with ature is particularly prominent in the region of ie Lonja range. The homesteads and farms of avonia and Baranja reflect life in the plains, ie narrow, stone-slabbed kale(streets) of Dastal and island towns, as well as the patches f fields and vineyards bordered by drystone alls, are the identifiable features of the littoral yle of building. For instance, the authen stone-built hamlet of Beli, located in the orthern part of the Island of Cres is situated ithin the equally well preserved environment Tramuntana. The finest examples of halfund roofing tiles - typical of the southern arts of the country - are best seen on the roofs f Sibenik, Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik. lany of the small Istrian towns, such as Movun, Groinjan, Beram, Roc, Hum, Oprtalj, II monuments in themselves and built on levated points like acropolises, have become sntres of art colonies and venues for many jltural events. astles, fortifications and stately homes in con-nental areas date from the period between ie 15th and 18th centuries: Veliki Tabor,

Bezanec, Gornja Stubica, Trakoscan, Ozalj, Marusevac, Opeka. The defensive towers and walls of Varazdin, Sisak, Knin, Klis, the magnificent walls of Dubrovnik - are all historical monuments of the highest category, as are old burghs, castles, palaces, Early Christian basilicas, monuments dating from the period of Antiquity, lllyrian hill forts... Museums and collections enrich the visitor's cultural experience during almost all his or her travels. The ambiances of towns large and small dotted along the coast and on the islands, lend special charm to any event - whether it be a concert, opera, a play, a comedy, a folklore perform-ance or a festival. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival never fails to fascinate with its open air venues - squares, fortresses, common greens, or indeed within palaces and churches. Split, Sibenik, Zadar, Osor, Omis, Motovun, and Pula with its splendid Amphitheatre, all play host to a wide variety of cultural events, from music and art exhibitions to film festivals. Hosting the largest number of cultural events in the continental part of the country is the country's capital, Zagreb. But there are music and folklore events, some local, some of international character, regularly taking place in other towns and cities, such as Krapina, Varazdin, Pozega, Bakovo, Vinkovci, Osijek...

With its unusual shape, with a vague resemblance to a rather stretched out horseshoe or a boomerang, Croatia encompasses many diverse regions - the Pannonian plain, the Dinaric range, a sub-Alpine region and the Mediterranean basin/together with all the various influences they bring. This wealth of influences is especially reflected in our cultural and historic heritage, in our folklore tradition, in our way of life.

Folk songs, popular instruments, dances, folk costumes and handicrafts, games - all these bear specific features of the region from which they come. Your hosts take pleasure in life. Gregarious hospitality and good J mood are emphasized by song and dance, and the arrival of dusk by no means the end of socializing. Quite the contrary. Streets, squares, promenades by the sea and other gathering points live on late into the night.

Croatian is a Slavic language of Stokavian standard, although with s§veral dialects. But to communicate with your hosts you may opt for English, German, Italian, French and other languages, particularly with the young people, whose schooling includes the learning of foreign languages - which they also use on the Internet, of course.

The bill of fare of traditional Croatian dishes is exceptionally long and imaginative, and a great many pleasant surprises await you in that area too. Croats are both great , lovers of and ex-perienced producers of wine, and Croatia is one of the few countries to possess four wine growing regions. Grapes from the continental and littoral vineyards provide the basis for the production of almost 700 different quality wines. Local beers are equally good in their way, and provide the usual sublime satisfaction. Being traditional and dedicated eonophiles, Croats have developed sound wine-drinking customs: in continental parts thirst is quenched with a mixture of white wine and h soda water known locally known as gemist; in coastal areas a similar drink, bevanda, is consumed but the wine of choice is red and the water used to dilute it is normal tap water. When choosing a wine to accompany traditional dishes it is always best to heed the advice of your host.


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