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*Star Wars Episode VIII is being filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia starting in March 2016. Dubrovnik will become a place where Luke Skywalker was hiding.
*Game of Thrones is filmed in Croatia! The 4th season in Dubrovnik, Hvar, Diocletian’s palace in Split and the 5th season in Šibenik and Klis. *Thanks to Nikola Tesla and his invention: hydropower, Šibenik was the first city ever to get public lighting by alternating current of electricity, before London, Vienna or Rome.
*Roman emperor Diocletian was born to a family of low status in the Roman province of Dalmatia. Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on the 1st of May 305 AD. You can still visit and see remains of this palace in today’s Split. In the basement of the palace was filmed the TV show Game of Thrones.
*Almost all Roman emperors had olive gardens in Istria, the largest peninsula in Croatia. Olive oil from Istria is mentioned in the first Roman’s cook book, but Martial made it more famous in one of his epigrams, writing down that the city he was born in, Cordoba is perfect just as Istrian olive oil is.
*In Istria bones were found from dinosaurs, the only known bones from dinosaurs along the Mediterranean Sea.
*Istria has its own little Stonehenge, very similar to the one in Great Britain. The stone circles are 4000 years old.
*Republic of Dubrovnik was the first in Europe to put an end to slavery in 1416 (for example England did it in 1569, USA 1865, Brazil used to trade people until 1888). Also, in Dubrovnik 1296 existed a sewerage system, which is still in use today, while cities such as London, Paris etc. still poured faeces onto the streets. Quarantine is also a Dubrovnik invention, in use from 1377 to protect people in the city from leprosy and other diseases that were coming on the trade ships. One of the first known nautical laws comes from Dubrovnik in 1272. *The Walls of Ston are the Croatian equivalent to The Great Wall of China, also known as the “European wall of China”. The Walls of Ston were built in the Middle Ages as defence walls for the salt mines in the city of Ston and the Republic of Dubrovnik, and they are now 5.5 km long, connecting Ston to Mali Ston. Originally they were more than 7 km long, but got damaged in earthquakes as the centuries passed by. The walls are in the shape of an irregular pentangle, and they were completed in the 15th century, along with their 40 towers (20 of which have survived) and 5 fortresses. *In the city of Rijeka, there is the leaning tower locals like to compare to the Italian leaning tower in Pisa. It originates from the Middle Ages, but during centuries was changed and rebuilt. The tower, still in use as the belfry of the local church, started leaning in the 18th century, but is still proudly standing as a reminder of the towns rich history. *The Pula Arena is the name of the amphitheatre located in Pula, Croatia. The Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. It was constructed in 27 BC – 68 AD. In 2003 around Arena was tied the world’s largest kravata (tie, one of Croatian inventions). This tie was 808 meters long, and entered the Guinness book of records.
*In October 1999 in Istria was found the world’s largest truffle, it was 1.31 kg and is also in the Guinness book of records. Istria is well known for its gastronomy, and chef’s specialties with truffles. *Once again Istria became part of the Guinness book of records, in the central part of Istria is the world’s smallest city. Hum with its 23 inhabitants still looks the same as it did in the early Middle Ages. The “Hum Glagolitic wall writings” are preserved in the church, written in the formative period of Glagolitic. *Croatia has more than 1000 islands. Some of them are larger and inhabited, other are smaller and deserted. The exact number of the islands varies according to the definitions, but usually it’s considered there are 718 islands, 389 islets and 78 reefs, making the Croatian archipelago the largest in the Adriatic sea and the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea (the Greek archipelago being the largest). *The Island Pag is called the “Croatian Ibiza” as there is located the famous party beach Zrće which is on the north side of the bay of Pag. The beach is artificially gravelled with shallow waters in front of the coast along which are day cafes that turn into night clubs. The party never stops, the beach doesn’t sleep – all the venues are open 24/7, the water is clear and has a blue flag, lifeguards are always ready. Zrće has become a well known destination to various singers and DJ’s (Fedde Le Grand, Carl Cox, DJ Tiesto, Benny Benassi, Van Buuren etc.). *Marco Polo was from Korčula, the island in Croatia where you can still visit his house. *Love Island is also in Croatia, a rare naturally heart shaped phenomena called Galešnjak. It is located in the Pašman channel of the Adriatic sea, between the bigger island Pašman and the town of Turanj on the mainland. The “Love Island” was brought to worldwide attention in 2009 on Google Earth. Some say it is privately owned, but actually it is deserted, so lovers who decide to visit the “Love Island” can enjoy it for themselves. * The Beach Saharun or “Croatian Hawaii” is a beautiful white sand and pebble beach on the long island Dugi Otok. The beach is almost one kilometre long and the color of the water is a Caribbean-like blue, quite unique for the Adriatic. The beach is surrounded by pine trees which provide shades for a nap between swimming. If you’re up for a walk along the beach, visit the Punta Bianca lighthouse. *The Nin Salt mine is one of the rare salt mines to produce salt in the traditional, natural and ecological manner. The salt was very valuable in ancient times: 1 kg of salt was worth approximately 1 kg of gold. The legend connects the word salary to the custom of the Roman soldiers being paid in salt. In Nin you can also buy The Flower of Salt, a crystal that appears only on the surface of the salt pool, rich with minerals and iodine so best to sprinkle on food prior to serving, not to use in cooking. *In Nin is also located “the smallest cathedral in the world” – this title was given to it by the English architect Thomas Graham Jackson. The Church of the Holly Cross (Crkva Sv. Križa) is a pre-romanesque church and it originates from the 9th century. The church was built in the shape of a cross as the Sun’s solar clock and calendar. During the summer solstice the light inside will be minimum coming from the church’s central apse, on the first day of winter exactly at noon all the Sun rays will vanish from the church, on the first day of spring and autumn the equinox light rays will form three parallel shapes in the middle of the church. The first Croatian king, Tomislav, was crowned in 925. and ruled from Nin. *Croatia has a couple of small deserts. One of them is Đurđevečki peski (sand of Đurđevac); among the local people it’s known as the Croatian Sahara. It is a protected area with specific botanic specimens, lots of them endemic and with sand dunes. The second one is called Pustinja Blaca (literal translation would be the Mud Desert but it’s The Blaca Hermitage) on the island Brač. The hermitage was originally established in 1551 by two Glagolitic monks, and continued by successive generations of monks until 1963. This site is added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2007 in the Cultural category. *DID YOU KNOW that Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European country? Croatia stands in first place among European countries, tied with Spain, at 14 Intangible Goods as of the year 2014. Crafts such as lace making, gingerbread baking, and wooden toy carving stand alongside festivals and singing traditions as part of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage. *Remains of people were found near Krapina. Fossils found in the Vindija Cave in Croatia have been dated to between 33,000 and 32,000 years old and belong to Kraneamus, the Krapina Neanderthals. *Croatian, Pavao Skalić in 1559 was the first one to use the word “encyclopaedia” in the meaning it has today. *Croatians invented the tie, the pen (Slavoljub Penkala), the parachute (Faust Vrančić), MP3 player (Tomislav Uzelac), SMS parking, the torpedo (Ivan Lupis), the lightning rod and ac (Nikola Tesla), the rocket engine and orbital space station (Herman Potočnik)…