Republics of ex-Yugoslavia
|Name||Republic of Croatia|
|Local name||Republika Hrvatska|
|Area||56 538 km²|
|Religions||Roman Catholic, Serbian Orthodox, Muslim|
|Population||4 671 584 Croate|
Croatia, independent since 1991, was throughout its history at the crossroads of four great cultural spaces, which gives to the country an astonishing rich heritage, as well architectural as artistic. In addition to the Slavic character of its inhabitants (from the end of 6th century), Croatia was under the Venetian influences on the Dalmatian coast, and the austro-Hungarian influences in the northern plains of Slavonia and in the Danube regions. This heritage superimposes on the pre-roman - Roman and Byzantine - more complex but to which it owes its Christian tradition, of Roman rite, and its Latin alphabet. The immediate vicinity of the Otoman Empire, from 15th to 19th century, whose expansion was stopped on Croatian ground, also had its importance since Croatia then inherited its current borders in form of a “horseshoe”.
Since 2004, Croatia is officially candidate to the European Union, with hopes to integrate in 2008.
Rich of a better saved cultural inheritance than his neighbours, Croatia makes considerable efforts to develop tourism. Its exceptional coast abounds in islands and pleasant seaside resorts. Dubrovnik is the pearl of the coast ; it is classified by UNESCO.