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Aug 14, 2009

Beginners.

 We are continuing our study of different countries, with Croatia. It is a realtively small country in Central and Southeastern Europe, that is sandwiched between Slovenia and Hungary to the North, Serbia to the Northeast, Bosnia and Hertzegovina to the East, and Montenegro to the Southeast. Just opposite, to the West, across the Adriatic Sea, is Italy. It is shaped like a crescent moon. The geography of this country is quite varied. It has a very long rocky coastline, plains, lakes and rolling hills to the North and East, and very dense forests and mountains in the Dinaric Alps. Certainly there is a lot of variety in an area of 56 and a half thousand square kilometres. There are over 1000 islands in the Croatian territory, many inhabited, and enjoyed by tourists. Croatia is famous for its national parks and for having 49 caves, three of which are deeper than 1000 metres. It is also home to seven Unesco World Heritage sites. It has certainly become a hot spot for tourist in recent years. If you are looking for natural beauty and history at a reasonable price, apparently you need look no further.

Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: to be sandwiched (in) between, rolling hills, a hot spot.

Exs:

Our house is sandwiched between a butcher's and a baker's.

The rolling hills look smooth because they are not very high, nor do they have jagged rocks.

That night club is the city's main hot spot.

Advanced.

The earliest inhabitants of Croatia have been found to be Neanderthals. Several tribes of different regions lived in various areas of what now forms Croatia. In  9 AD, it became part of the Roman empire. However, in the 7th century AD, European Avars invaded and destroyed nearly all of the roman towns. The Croats organized themselves into 2 areas, and missionaries set about christianizing the people. Pope John V111 recognised Branimir as the Croats first leader in 872, but it did not become a kingdom until a century later. The Hungarian and Croatian royalties were related, and Hungary took over for 400 years, though Croatian independence was recognized. A Sabor, or kind of parliament ruled for the next 400 years. Croatia joined the Hapsburg empire in 1527 but then became independent in 1918. At this point Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes united to become Yugoslavia, much to the outrage of the majority of Croats; they wanted state independence.

Yugoslavia was quickly overtaken by Nazi Germany and a puppet Croatian ruling party, the Ustache, was set up. It was a brutal regime. After the war, Yugoslavia became socialist, and later a major war between the Croats and the Serbs took place between 1991 and 1995. Croatia was finally recognized in 1992 as an independent country.