Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Croatia declared its independence in 1991. It is bordered by Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Serbia to the south and east, Montenegro, and Bosnia & Herzegovina to the south, and the Adriatic Sea to the west.
The Croats settled in the region in the early 7th century. Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until its dissolution in 1918, when the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom that became known as Yugoslavia.
The country’s geographic profile makes it an appealing tourist destination, with its spectacular coastline and more than 1,000 islands, its mountainous region to the north, and its particular blend of Mediterranean and eastern European culture.
Attractions include medieval relics in Zagreb, the capital, the romance of Dubrovnik’s old town, the Palace of Diocletian at Split, one of Europe’s greatest Roman ruins, and the forts and castles that dot the countryside.
Croatia’s cuisine reflects numerous neighboring influences, and ranges from the spicy sausage and paprika-flavored shepherd’s stew of the eastern regions to central Croatia’s cheese-filled pasta to the wild game and mushroom-based meals of the mountains to the fresh seafood of the coastal region.
Nikola Tesla, scientist and inventor, is among the most famous Croatian-born individuals.