"For Croatia, the protection and preservation of its cultural heritage is an important element which helps forge a sense of identity."
In the territory of Croatia, many layers of prehistoric cultures are present, the formation and disappearance of which is tied to the migration of unidentified ethnic groups. The prehistoric Mediterranean groups in the coastal regions and the Pannonian groups in the continental areas developed Neolithic and Eneolithic cultures (Danilo, Hvar, Vucedol) and quite likely the first phases of culture of the Metal Age. They were connected to the Illyrians, the ethnic group with a clearly defined cultural and artistic physiognomy. In the period of their development, the first serious conflicts appeared with the ancient Greek world (the colonies of Issa, Faros, Tragurion) and later with the penetration to Rome, which ended with the inclusion of the entire region into the Roman Empire, despite the long resistance by the Illyrians. Dalmatia was made a special province, with its capital Salon. The Romans left lasting traces in the social and culture life of this region; they built roads and fortified centers and erected many towns with a numerous monumental structures. These towns, particularly in the coastal regions, remained the foundation for later urbanization in the Middle Ages (Porec, Pula, Zadar, Salon-Split). The fall of the Roman Empire brought the cultural sphere of Byzantium to the southern regions of Croatia, and this new cultural influence was expressed with a series of monuments from Porec (the Euphrasian Basilica) to Dubrovnik.
Many different cultural areas are brought together in Croatia - for example Istria and Dalmatia have been shaped by northern Italy, Zagreb and northern Croatia by Double Monarchy, Slavonia by Central and Eastern European countries and north-east by Hungarians. This cultural diversity is often nurtered by the various cultural traditions.
Important cultural and monumental heritage include:
World Monumental Heritage Sites (UNESCO) - Trogir, Split, Šibenik, and Dubrovnik;
monumental wholes-Solin (ancient and early Christian complex), Korčula, Hvar, Ston, Diocletian’s Palace;
cathedrals in Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, Hvar, Korčula, and Dubrovnik;
archaeological sites - Bribir, Biskupija, the surroundings of Zadar, early Croatian churches from Nin to Dubrovnik.
Did you know?
- Founder of San Marino, the first republic in Europe - Marin (4th century) was born on the island of Rab.
- Famous world traveller and explorer Marco Polo, was most probably born in 1254 on the island of Korčula. Even today there are people on the island who bear the same family name.
- Mathematician, Marin Ghetaldus Getaldić (1566 - 1606) is known for the application of algebra in geometry and also as a pioneer in the making of conic lenses.
- Physicist, mathematician and astronomer Ruđer Bošković (1711 - 1787) was one of the most educated people of his time, predecessor of modern physics, founder of dynamic atomistic.
- Inventor of the torpedo was Ivan Lupis (1813 - 1875), nautical officer from Rijeka.
Inventor of dactyloscopy (identification through fingerprints) Ivan Vučetić (1858 - 1925), was born on the island of Hvar.
- One of the world greatest innovators Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943) was born in a village Smiljani near Gospic.
- Inventor of propelling pencil (a penkala), Eduard Penkala (1871 - 1922) lived in Zagreb.
- Famous sculptor, known for monumental sculptures with national themes Ivan Meštrović (1883 - 1962) is also Croat. His best known sculpture is "Indians" in Chicago.
- Chemist Vatroslav Ružička (1887 - 1976) is the winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939.
- Chemist Vladimir Prelog (1906 - 1998) is the winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975.
Ministry of Culture
An Overview of the Croatian History, Culture and Science