WELCOME IN CROATIA: Timeless charm!

History and Culture of Istria

The borders and rulers of Istria have changed so many times throughout history. The biggest empires to claim this peninsula were the Romans, the Venetians and the Austro-Hungarians. Evidence of these strong rulers remain to this day: the sixth largest amphitheatre in the world and temple of Augustus in the town of Pula date from 27BC-68 AD, fine examples of Venetian architecture can be found in the main towns and villages throughout Istria whilst permission was granted from Vienna to construct the narrow-gauge railway line Parenzana, built in the last days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Today, having been dismantled on Mussolini’s orders in 1935 it is a wonderful bicycle and hiking track.
Today, the average Istrian can claim to have been born in Yugoslavia, their parents born in Italy and grandparents in Austria. Istrians speak Croatian, Italian and an Istrian dialect – a mixture of the two. Geographically separated from the rest of Croatia by Mount Učka, Istrians historically considered themselves as different from “Croatians”. Today, the tunnel through the heart of the mountain has made it easily accesssible and many people from the capital Zagreb are maintaining second homes on the peninsula.

Italian Influence
The Italian influence is felt strongly in the cuisine and the language. Fresh pasta is made daily and can be seen on all n restaurant menus ranging from the Konobas to the gourmet restaurants. Road signs are in both Croatian and Italian mainly in north western Istria. Basically, the further away you drive from the coast i.e. from Italy the less the Italian influence.

List of Croatian historical events

Istrian history around 400 BC – the first Greek colonies are founded on Adriatic islands
around 100 BC – Romans rule over the east coast of the Adriatic
305. – Roman emperor Diokletian starts to live in his palace in present-day Split
around 600. – Croats start moving to what is today’s Croatia
852. – Duke Trpimir issues the charter in which the name Croatia is mentioned in official documents for the first time
925. – Tomislav, the first Croatian king, is mentioned, unifier of Pannonian and Dalmatian Croatia
1102. – after the death of Petar Svacic, the last Croatian king, Croatia enters into a union with Hungary
1527. – because of the danger of the breakthrough of Turks, by the decision of the Croatian Parliament, the Habsburg dynasty ascends to the Croatian throne
1699. – Croatia is largely liberated of Turkish rule
1815. – after the short-term rule of the French, almost all of today’s Croatia is included within the Habsburg monarchy
1847. – Croatian becomes the official language of Croatia
1848. – Ban (Vice-Roy) Josip Jelacic defends Croatia against attempts of Hungarian occupation and unites all Croatian provinces ban Josip Jelacic
1918. – after the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in World War I, Croatia becomes a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, later proclaimed Yugoslavia
1941. – German and Italian forces occupy Yugoslavia; the Partisan resistance, which was put up by Croatian antifascists within Yugoslavia, started to be organized
1945. – the Federative Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia is proclaimed, and within this, today’s Croatia is a federative republic
1990. – the first multi-party elections after World War II are organized in Croatia
1991. – Croatian declared independence; after which the Serbian rebellion supported by the Yugoslavian People’s Army started from Belgrade
1992. – the Republic of Croatia becomes a member of the United Nations
1995. – the Croatian army quenched the separatist rebellion
2001. – Croatia signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union