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Hrvatska! (That is, Croatia!)

Croatia, called Hrvatska in Croatian, is located in Southeastern Europe and boasts 1,100 miles of coastline on the sparkling blue Jadransko more (Adriatic Sea). About the size of West Virginia, Croatia borders Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro, and has more than 1,000 islands in the Adriatic. It is comprised of several historical and cultural regije or pokrajine (regions). Dalmacija (Dalmatia), Slavonija (Slavonia), Istra (Istria), and Zagorje (Zagorye) are four of the most notable, and each of them also has its own regional dialect. The population of Croatia is just over 4.2 million, but for such a small country, it offers an endless variety of beauty and wonder to satisfy all kinds of interests.

Here are just a few sites to see across Croatia’s diverse lands:

Inland lies Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, whose medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town) is a main point of interest.

At the Southernmost tip of Croatia is Dubrovnik, known as Biser Jadrana (the “Pearl of the Adriatic”). This ancient coastal city is famous for its Stari Grad (Old City) with its limestone-paved streets, Renaissance-style architecture, and massive stone wall that encircles most of the Stari Grad. It was completed in the 16th Century and runs a whopping 6,365 feet in length.

And if you’re looking to catch some rays amidst olive trees and lavender bushes, look no further than the truly majestic island of Hvar in the southern Dalmacija region, which receives approximately 2,700 hours of sun per year that warms its glittering beaches.

For all those nature-seekers out there, be sure to check out Plitvička jezera (Plitvice Lakes), a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national park world famous for its lakes and cascading waterfalls in colors you won’t believe are real.

On the southern tip of the Istra region, which stretches over a peninsula in the Northwest of the country, lies the city of Pula. It is home to the Pula Arena, the elliptical Roman amphitheater which was constructed in the 1st Century and can accommodate over 20,000 people. This impressive monument is one of the six largest Roman amphitheaters in the world, and once served as a space for gladiatorial battles. Nowadays, it acts as a venue for live concerts, operas, and film festivals, including the annual Pulski Filmski Festival (Pula Film Festival), traditionally held in the summer.