Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Will Croatia Euro Coins Be Able to Feature Tesla?

July 27, 2021 - Last week, the Croatian National Bank announced five motifs to be featured on Croatia euro coins, with the image of Nikola Tesla being the most popular one according to the vox populi. However, these are just the first steps of the process of creating Croatian euro coins. Who has the ultimate say on whether Tesla is to be kept or to be scrapped off? A look into the procedure of approving the designs of euro coins.

The announcement of five motifs chosen to grace the national side of Croatian euro coins that came last Wednesday was soon greeted by a statement on the official website of the National Bank of Serbia. In it, NBS objects to the Croatian idea of using the image of Nikola Tesla. It's described as ''an appropriation of the cultural and scientific heritage of the Serbian people.'' Serbia also stated it would file a complaint if Croatia put his image on one of the coins.

The question is, to whom would these complaints be filed, and to what effect? Is there a set legal way to get Croatia to remove Tesla from the coins not yet minted? (Un)surprisingly, there are a few precedents guarding the question, as this is not the first time that one country objected to the design of another country's euro coins, claiming it belonged to its own national heritage.

In 2005, Slovenia's use of the Prince's Stone on the 2 cents coins launched a protest from the Austrian state of Carinthia. Prince's Stone is an ancient Roman column that was used during the early Middle Ages in the ceremony of installing the rulers of the Slavic principality of Carantania. The ceremony was conducted in the Slovene language, and Caranthania was located, in part, on the territory of present-day north-eastern Slovenia. The stone itself used to be kept in a museum in Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia, where it was considered a historical icon of the state. The Carinthian state government (headed by the then-governor Jorg Haider) issued a resolution of protest on October 25, 2005, which was rejected as "not to be taken seriously" by the Slovene foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel.

Ten years later, in 2015, Belgium issued a €2 commemorative coin (individual Member States are allowed to issue commemorative coins to celebrate subjects of major national or European relevance). To mark the Battle of Waterloo, and the 200th year anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon,  the coin featured an image of the monument at the site. France objected, saying that the image carried a negative connotation. 

According to the COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) No 729/2014 on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation, when a eurozone country wants to issue a new €2 commemorative coin, it is required to send a draft design of the coin to the Council, the European Commission and to other eurozone countries. In the end, as RFI wrote in 2015, ''Brussels has been forced to scrap 180,000 coins worth 1.5-million-euros that it had already minted before Paris got wind of the affair.''

And in 2013, Slovakia re-thought its idea of issuing commemorative coins with the images of Christian saints and missionaries Cyril and Methodius with crosses and halos above their heads, as some Member States pointed out that the designs went against the ''principle of respect for religious diversity in Europe''. 

However, all of these disputes were started and resolved between the EU Member States, not a Member State and a third country, as is the case with Serbia. As European Commission Deputy Chief Spokesperson Dana Spinant said on Friday, ''the design of the national side of euro coins is decided by the country adopting the euro.''

The designs have to be passed from the Croatia National Bank to the National Council for the Introduction of the Euro for approval and then have to be confirmed by the government of Croatia.

That doesn't mean that the design lays solely in Croatia's hands.

The abovementioned Council Regulation also states that ''each Member State (....) should take into account the fact that euro coins circulate in the whole euro area and not only in the issuing Member State'', and should ''avoid the use of inappropriate designs''.

Recognizing the potential problem when it comes to defining the term ''inappropriate'' the Regulation states that ''uniform conditions'' for the approval of the designs should be laid down and also that ''in view of the fact that the competence for an issue as sensitive as the design of the national sides of the euro coins belongs to the issuing Member States, implementing powers should be conferred on the Council.'' 

Therefore, Croatia has to submit draft designs to the Council, to the Commission, and to the other Member States whose currency is the euro at least three months before the planned issue date. Since Croatia is set to enter the eurozone in 2023, that criterion shouldn't be difficult to meet. 

Within seven days following the submission, any Member State whose currency is the euro may, in a reasoned opinion addressed to the Council and to the Commission, raise an objection to the draft design proposed by the issuing Member State if that draft design is likely to create adverse reactions among its citizens.

If the Commission considers that the draft design does not respect the technical requirements set out by the Regulation, it shall, within seven days following the submission, submit a negative assessment to the Council.

If no reasoned opinion or negative assessment has been submitted to the Council, the decision approving the design shall be deemed to be adopted by the Council.

In all other cases, the Council shall decide without delay on the approval of the draft design, unless, within seven days following the submission of a reasoned opinion or of a negative assessment, the issuing Member State withdraws its submission and informs the Council of its intention to submit a new draft design.

Since there are essentially two criteria to meet - the suitability of the design requirement and the technical requirement, both assessed by other Member States (the EU), the only tool any country outside of the EU can use is its political influence on a Member State to try and come up with a reasoned opinion as to why a draft design is ''likely to create adverse reactions'' - but only among its (a Member State's) citizens.

There is nothing in the Regulation on the influence the design may have on the non-EU countries. In fact, the Regulation even makes sure to point out that the other Member States whose currency is not the euro are excluded from deciding. Will Croatia be able to keep Tesla on its coins?  If these provisions are anything to go by, then yes. 

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Would Nikola Tesla Have Preferred to be on a Croatian or Serbian Coin?

July 26, 2021 - A global citizen equally proud of his Serb origin and Croat homeland, what would Nikola Tesla have made of the latest Balkan political row over his identity?

It is almost 80 years since the genius that was Nikola Tesla died alone in a New York hotel room, the end of an extraordinary life of invention and creativity that changed the world for the better. 

He certainly deserves to be remembered and celebrated for all he contributed, but the latest proposed recognition of his genius has once more ignited a Balkan political row and fired up the Internet's army of Balkan keyboard warriors. 

It wasn't long after starting Total Croatia News 6 years ago that I learned that the two most clickbait evergreen topics which would attract tons of aggressive comments were the origins of Nikola Tesla and anything that mentioned the word Tito. As such, I have learned to avoid referring to either for the most part, but the latest row regarding Tesla's origins has included statements from the Croatian President, as well as both Croatian and Serbian Prime Ministers.

Someone once told me that the quickest way to start a lively negative debate on Facebook in this region is to invite thoughts on whether Tesla was a Serb or a Croat. It is a question that the Serb authorities take very seriously, as appears to be the case once again after Nikola Tesla was voted to appear as a symbol of Croatia on three coins when Croatia eventually joins the EU.  

Before we dive into the quagmire, it is worth recalling Tesla's own words on the subject, back in 1936:

"I am equally proud of my Serb origin and my Croat homeland. Long live all Yugoslavs."

A nice, balanced statement paying tribute to the two nationalities with which he clearly associated, even though he went on to be an American citizen. Nobody disputes that he was ethnically Serb, or that he was born and grew up in Smiljan, a small village in what is today modern Croatia. 

But then things get interesting. Serbia claims Tesla as their own - and ONLY theirs - there is no question that Tesla is anything but a Serb, despite the great man professing equal pride at his Croat homeland. Serbia has certainly done a great job at getting the message out there, even naming its main international airport after him. But the proud Serbs who claim him as their own fail to mention a couple of relevant facts. Tesla never had Serbian citizenship, and he only actually spent 31 hours in Serbia in his entire life, a solitary visit in 1892. If you travel to Serbia to search for places that Tesla spent time or created things, then you are going to be disappointed, as there is nothing to see, apart from his ashes which were transferred to Belgrade in 1952. Hardly surprising, given that he only spent 31 hours of his life in Serbia. 

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The claim that he was born in Croatia should also be clarified, as Croatia was not an independent country at the time of his birth, rather part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Smiljan was in the zone of the Military Frontier at the time, and his citizenship was Austrian, before he bcame an American later in life. Having said that, the quote above shows that Tesla identified with both his Serb ethnicity and Croatian homeland. 

There is, of course, a certain irony - given the nationalist passions in some quarters of this region - of Serbia objecting to the celebration of a Serb on a Croatian coin, but that is perhaps another discussion. 

What can also not be disputed is that Smiljan today is firmly within the boundaries of modern Croatia. And for those looking for evidence of Tesla's formative years, there is plenty to explore, from the visitor centre at Smiljan, his school in Karlovac, the surrounding nature which inspired him, and the city of Sibenik, which was the first city in the world to have street lights powered by alternating current. It is probably worth mentioning that had Tesla's education and life experience continued in this region, he would probably not have fulfilled his potential, as it was only once he got to the States and was exposed to bigger things that he flourished. 

As I wrote a couple of years ago in It is Time for Croatia to Claim its Nikola Tesla Heritage, Croatia has thus far done a terrible job marketing its Tesla heritage, and it is one of the several gifts that it possesses which are totally underutilised. The birthplace of Tesla should be a global attraction, and one which is there to inspire the minds of the next generation. It could - and should - be developed for that purpose, rather than the very poor effort that we have at the moment at Smiljan - there was not even a cafe the last time I visited. Combining the Tesla story with the huge success of Croatia's 21st-century innovator, Mate Rimac, is a compelling story which will bring more interest not just to Croatia, but to the wider region. 

Would Tesla have preferred to be represented on a Croatian or Serbian coin 80 years after his death? He would probably not have had to choose, as Serbia will also get to choose its motifs for the coins if and when it adopts the euro. And wouldn't it be nice for him to be commemorated by both, given that he was equally proud of his association to both?

Just as Nikola Tesla was equally proud of his Serb origins and his Croat homeland, wouldn't it be nice if his Serb origins and Croat homeland could agree to celebrate the genius of a man who gave the world so much, rather than try and score cheap political points?

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Milanović: Once Serbia Enters Euro Zone, Let It Propose Tesla As Well

ZAGREB, 24 July, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Saturday commented on the reactions from Belgrade following the announcement that Croatia will put the image of scientist Nikola Tesla on euro coins, saying that "once Serbia enters the euro zone, let it propose Tesla as well." 

Writing in a Facebook post, Milanović recalled a failed initiative by the Serb National Council (SNV) of more than ten years ago to establish "a Serb ethnic bank" in Croatia that was to be named after Nikola Tesla.

The initiative was launched in cooperation with "the state leadership and a development fund of Serbia, which allocated nearly five million euro of Serbian taxpayers' money for that purpose", and the SNV's idea was also for Croatia to make its contribution to the initial capital.

"The entire project for an ethnic bank was half forgotten over time, primarily because it was untenable businesswise," Milanović said. 

Milanović, who had served as prime minister at the time, said that he and his finance minister, Slavko Linić, had tried to find a solution, but to no avail, despite the millions of euro from Belgrade and the Croatian contribution. "Our intentions were sincere, but it didn't work."

"It's all right when a financial institution (Tesla Bank) should be established with the joint financial support of Croatia and Serbia. In that case, I guess, Tesla is our common heritage. When Croatia, a forthcoming member of the euro zone, proposes that Tesla should be on a coin, that is cultural appropriation according to Serbia's central bank," Milanović said, adding in conclusion: "Once Serbia enters the euro zone, let it propose Tesla as well and everyone will be happy." 

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Celebrate Nikola Tesla On His 165th Birthday This Weekend in Gospić

July 6, 2021 - This Saturday marks the 165th anniversary of the birth of the genius born in Smiljan, and the Tourist Board of Gospić, the city of Gospić, and the Nikola Tesla Memorial Center have prepared a worthy event called ''Tesla Power of Lights'' to celebrate Nikola Tesla in style.

Turističke priče reports that as part of the celebration of the 165th anniversary of the birth of Nikola Tesla on July 10th, a lot of content was prepared that will serve as a kind of reminder of the fact that one of the world's greatest geniuses, Nikola Tesla, was born in Lika. On his birthday, this Saturday, as part of the July program in Gospić, the event "Tesla Power of Lights" will be held.

It is a one-day event to celebrate Nikola Tesla, organized by the Tourist Board of the City of Gospić, the City of Gospić, and the Nikola Tesla Memorial Center, and the program will be held in the evening. This year, a light spectacle will be organized in Gospić and its surroundings, and citizens and visitors will be able to enjoy a laser show, among other things. In addition to the extraordinary light effects that will spread the sky over the city, the program of the celebration also includes a multitude of contents on the main city square.

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Gospić Tourist Board Facebook Page

Thus, Interactive Games of Light, Laser Harp, Light Labyrinth… will be held on Stjepan Radić Square, and part of the “Tesla Power of Lights” program will also take place on the newly built Nikola Tesla Square. At 9 pm, in the Atrium of the Cultural Information Center Gospić, there will be a promotion of T-shirt From Smiljan by ELFS and Traumatic Lights - Led acro duo, followed by a House party that will start at 10 pm. DJ Felver and DJ Ian Podley will perform.

Under the colored light beams will be buildings related to the life of Nikola Tesla in Gospić, and the Nikola Tesla Memorial Center in Smiljan, which includes the birthplace of the great inventor, physicist, and inventor, will have an Open Day on July 10.

Total Croatia included Nikola Tesla in its guide to Croatian inventions and discoveries, which you can read HERE.

For more news about everything made in Croatia, be sure to follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Nikola Tesla Statue, Largest in the World, Unveiled in Varaždin!

April 24, 2021 - The famous Croatian sculptor Nikola Vudrag was in Varaždin, his hometown, where his Nikola Tesla statue, the largest in the world, found its permanent home.

As Jutarnji.hr reported, a special occasion was held in Varaždin on Wednesday, where Mayor Ivan Čehok presented the Nikola Tesla statue, the work of renowned Croatian artist Nikola Vudrag. The iron statue of 12.5m high, 4.5m wide statue and weighing almost 4 tons, is now the largest statue in the world dedicated to the Croatian genius.

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Credits: Pixsell

The artist

Nikola Vudrag is an artist born in 1989 in Varaždin, and now currently living in Zagreb. After growing up next to his grandfather and father, both metalworkers and welders, he became interested in the creative aspect of metalworking, craft, construction, and art.

He has now been sculpting and exhibiting since 2005 all around Europe and Croatia, on more than fifty independent and group exhibitions. He is the author of several public awards and medals. He deals with philosophical and linguistic concepts in fine arts but pays most attention to the classical approach and symbolism as the language of visual art.

The Nikola Tesla statue, the largest in the world

It is a Tesla Powerline sculpture, constructed in 2017 by Nikola Vudrag, for the exhibition "Tesla mind from the future" in Zagreb, in the form of a model for a high transmission line. Earlier that year, Vudrag had been chosen as the author of the portrait "Our Lady of Loreta", a 12 m high monument in Primošten.

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Credits: Pixsell

"Nikola Tesla's sculpture began as a conceptual project as part of the rethinking of Croatian visual identity, in which power lines would alternate with sculptures dedicated to many real and narrated protagonists, including Tesla, Oak, Triumphal Arch, Torpedo, Veli Jože, Bear and the like.", said Nikola Vudrag, adding that sculptural forms would replace some of the transmission lines on the tourist route throughout Croatia.

Nikola Tesla, born in 1856 in the town of Smiljan, was an inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. All over the world, he’s been celebrated in several forms, and among them, through sculptures and statues. Now, the largest in the world has been erected in the city of Varaždin.

The unveiling

Before its presentation in his native Varaždin, Vudrag’s monumental work had been exhibited in cities such as Zagreb, Budapest, and Berlin, and from now on it will be permanently placed in front of the Varaždin Technology Park.

"It started with a half-meter sketch, until the Tesla Mind from the future exhibition appeared, for which I made a similar 12-meter sculpture," said Vudrag, noting that parts of the sculpture were exhibited at his solo exhibitions in northern Croatia.

"Six months ago, the idea was launched to finally collect this Tesla from all locations and put it in front of the Technology Park. He finally found his happy home," said Vudrag, thanking the project's initiator, Varaždin's Varkom director Željko Bunić and the City of Varaždin, for choosing his hometown as the place were the almost 13 meters tall Nikola Tesla statue will be permanently erected.

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Credits: Pixsell

Mayor Ivan Čehok, who was present in the ceremony, pointed out that, considering its appearance points to the essence of his work, it is the only sculpture of Nikola Tesla that most clearly shows the greatness of his work.

"We decided to place it in our renovated Technology Park because, in fact, this monument goes with innovation, with what today represents the innovation potential not only of Varaždin but also of Croatia," said Čehok.

"The installation started a month ago, first preparing the entire foundation structure, grounding, then placing legs up to six meters high, then pouring concrete and adjusting the balance of the plane. Then we lifted the upper torso, arms, and head with two cranes of twenty meters. six months of planning and three years, which he "spent" in studios, foreign and domestic exhibitions, the monument to Nikola Tesla finally found a permanent home in front of the Technology Park building in Varaždin, a city institution dealing with new technologies’’, Nikola Vudrag told Jutarnji.

Total Croatia included Nikola Tesla in its guide to Croatian inventions and discoveries, which you can read HERE.

You can find more information about the city of Varaždin in Total Croatia’s Varaždin in a Page 2021.

For more news about everything made in Croatia, be sure to follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Croatian Pioneers and Inventors: Croats Who Changed the World

February 10, 2021 –For a relatively small country, Croatia punches above its weight in terms of global impact. Croatian pioneers, inventors and artists have changed the lives of millions and the world in which they live. Here are just a few of them

For a relatively small country, Croatia punches above its weight in terms of global impact. And, no, this time we're not talking about football or olive oil. Croatian pioneers, inventors and artists have changed the lives of millions and the world in which they live. Now, a new exhibition is about to open in Zagreb which collects Croatian pioneers together in just tribute.

'Croatia to the World' is the title of the exhibition and it looks at not only Croatian pioneers and inventors but also prominent scientists, artists, writers and researchers. The exhibition, which is jointly organised by the Croatian media title Večernji list, opens on February 12 in Zagreb's Meštrović Pavilion, otherwise known as the House of Croatian Artists. 1500 exhibits demonstrate the ingenuity and achievements of Croatian pioneers, with each accompanied by text that tells you about the individuals and the significance of their work.

Ranging from household names to the unjustly overlooked, here are some of the Croatian pioneers from the exhibition who have changed the world.

Croatian pioneers who changed the world

Ruđer Bošković

rudjer-boskovic.jpgRuđer Bošković (1711 – 1787) © Zagreb City Libraries

It's difficult to imagine the mind Dubrovnik-born polymath Ruđer Bošković was blessed with. He was a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, engineer, writer, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian and also became a Jesuit priest. Perhaps today remembered best for his visionary predictions in the realms of physics - including the idea of the relativity of space and time and the constant speed of light - and his lasting discoveries in the field of astronomy, the most trivial of which is perhaps the easiest to explain (he discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon) in his time, he was famed across Europe for much more besides. The world-famous Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, Croatia's largest institute of natural sciences and technology, now stands as a permanent testament to him and his achievements.

Josip Belušić

1584015909josip_belusic.jpgJosip Belušić (1847 - 1905) © Public domain

An Istrian-born inventor, Josip Belušić's best-known creation is the speedometer, which instantaneously informs the speed of the vehicle in which you're travelling. His invention was installed in every motorised vehicle manufactured thereafter, including motorbikes, boats and cars.

Faust Vrančić

FaustVRANCIC123.jpgFaust Vrančić (circa 1551 – 1617) © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Born into a well-connected family, it is not possible to attribute Faust Vrančić's breadth of vision solely to a privileged youth and education. His documented imaginings and inventions extended to water, wind and solar energy, mill workings, agricultural machinery, the building of bridges and a forerunner of the parachute which, while later than Leonardo da Vinci's sketchings, is believed to have been the first to have actually been built and tested. A memorial centre on the protected island of Prvić, near his birthplace of Šibenik, is a great place to learn more about him.

Ivan Blaž Lupis Vukić

Luppis-Johannrijek.jpgIvan Blaž Lupis Vukić (1813 – 1875) © Prirodoslovna i grafička škola Rijeka

The great Croatian city of Rijeka had a big part to play in the era of modern Naval warfare, not least for Croatian pioneers developing the torpedo there. Ivan Blaž Lupis Vukić headed a commission to develop the first prototypes of the self-propelled torpedo, perfecting early designs with the help of English engineer Robert Whitehead (from Bolton, near Manchester - the writer of this article went to school with his descendants - Ed).

Antun Lučić

Anthony_F._Lucas1.jpgAntun Lučić (1855 – 1921) © Public domain

Born in Split but raised further up the Adriatic coast in Trieste, after completing his studies in engineering, Antun Lučić must have imagined he might forever apply these skills on the Adriatic ships he subsequently sailed on as a member of the Austro-Hungarian navy. But, his destiny lay elsewhere. Something persuaded him to stay on for longer while he was visiting his uncle near Detroit, Michigan. The Great Lakes which lay just ten kilometres to his north are so vast, perhaps they reminded him of the Adriatic and he felt at home? He scored a job in a local sawmill, but he couldn't suppress his engineer's instinct and set about improving their saw machinery. It was perhaps his success in doing so that persuaded him to return to more engineering-based endeavours. He went to work as a mechanical engineer in the mining industry, in which he stayed for 13 years. He ended up working for a salt mining company. By this time he'd learned the relationship between salt deposits, sulphur, natural gas, and oil deposits so, when he visited the Sour Spring Mound, south of Beaumont, Texas in 1899, instinct told him that something worth drilling for lay beneath this distinct topography. He was right. It took a fair amount of begging and borrowing to attain the funds required to drill to the necessary 347 metres but, on 10 January 1901, mud and water erupted from the drill hole, followed by a stream of crude oil that reached 46 metres into the air. The eruption lasted nine days, flowing between 70,000 and 100,000 barrels per day, before finally being brought under control. The significance of his work cannot be overstated. As well as the many innovations he constructed specifically for this kind of drilling and capping, Lučić is considered to be the founder of modern petroleum reservoir engineering. He helped revolutionize world fuel use, transformed the economy of southeast Texas, made the automobile a viable, widespread transport option and made the city of Houston the centre of an American oil industry, which thereafter surpassed Russia as the world's leading producer. Lučić subsequently served as the lifelong chairman of the American Committee for Oil and Gas.

Saint Jerome

1754px-Italian_Emilian_-_St_Jerome_in_Penitence_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgSaint Jerome In Penitence © Dulwich Picture Library. Saint Jerome lived circa 342/347 – 420

Born on the borders of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia, Jerome of Stridon was a priest and writer who is best known for his translation of most of the Bible from Hebrew into Latin. It took him some 20 years to complete and he went to live in the region once known as Judea (today's Israel) in order to fully learn the language. Beyond any religious reference, his work still shapes the laws, customs and culture of the European continent today - much of its construction has its foundations in his Bible translation and commentary.

Nikola Tesla

AnyConv.com__N.Tesla_1.jpgNikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) © Public domain

Arguably the most famous of all Croatian pioneers, Tesla was an inventor and hugely innovative engineer who applied his visionary mind to the fields of early x-rays, wireless power supply, electromagnetic radiation, radio waves and much, much more. However, he is best known for pioneering the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system by which electricity is safely distributed to every home, street and business to this day. Over 130 streets are named after him in Croatia.

Herman Potočnik Noordung

Herman_Potocnik_Noordung.jpgHerman Potočnik (1892 – 1929) © Public domain

Often eclipsed in modern memory by the achievements of the American space programme, the first astronaut in space was actually Russian Yuri Gagarin . He completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Yet his achievements perhaps help eclipse that of a Pula-born Croatian pioneer who was concerned with space travel some three decades earlier. Way back in 1928, Herman Potočnik Noordung published his sole book, Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums - der Roketen-Motor (The Problem of Space Travel - The Rocket Motor) in which, over 188 pages and 100 handmade illustrations, Potočnik set out a plan for a breakthrough into space and the establishment of a permanent human presence there. He conceived a detailed design for a space station, regarded by Russian and American historians of space flight to be the first architecture in space, described the potential use of orbiting spacecraft for detailed observation of the ground and how the special conditions of space could be useful for scientific experiments.

Andrija Štampar

AndrijaStampar1.jpgAndrija Štampar (1888 – 1958) © Štampar

Nothing short of a genius, Andrija Štampar was a selfless proponent and pioneer of public health. He ignored class, conventions and ruling regimes in order to benefit the health of millions of everyday people, all over the world, and insisted that anyone holding the position of doctor should do the same. He was imprisoned more than once for his efforts but, undeterred, pursued a path of education and reform, helped to form the World Health Organisation and saved millions of lives.

Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić

Ivana_brlic_mazuranic_II.jpgIvana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874 – 1938) © Public domain

Both born and married into families within the upper echelons of Croatian society, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić is regarded as Croatia's greatest writer for children. Though written over a century ago, her books like 'The Brave Adventures of Lapitch' (Čudnovate zgode šegrta Hlapića) and 'Croatian Tales of Long Ago' (Priče iz davnine) still remain popular. In the latter, she invented fantastical fairytales that referenced ancient folklore, earning her comparisons to Hans Christian Andersen. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature no less than four times and was the first female to enter what is today the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Benedikt Kotruljević

Benedikt_Koturljevic.jpgStatue of Benedikt Kotruljević in Zagreb © Suradnik13. He lived 1416 – 1469

The double-entry bookkeeping system described first by 15th-century merchant, economist, scientist, diplomat and humanist Benedikt Kotruljević remains integral to modern accounting.

Andrija Mohorovičić

AndrijaMihlvc.jpegAndrija Mohorovičić (1857 – 1936) © Davorka Herak and Marijan Herak

No less than the founder of modern seismology, Andrija Mohorovičić was the first person to establish that the geologically alive Earth is covered with large plates whose movement and collision are the cause of earthquakes. He determined the thickness of the Earth's crust and predicted the effects of earthquakes on buildings, as well as working within the areas of meteorology and climatology. He founded the Meteorological Observatory in Zagreb, which remains internationally significant in seismic measurements.

Ivo Andrić

AnyConv.com__1739px-S._Kragujevic_Andric_na_vest_o_N._nagradi_1961.jpgIvo Andrić and his wife in 1961, upon hearing he had been awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature © Stevan Kragujević

In his best works 'Travnička kronika' and 'Na Drini ćuprija', Ivo Andrić (1892 – 1975) offered staggering depictions of the lives of his multi-ethnic countrymen in Bosnia under Ottoman rule. No stranger himself to the volatile changing of regimes in the Balkans, he wrote them while confined to an apartment in Nazi-occupied Belgrade, which today exists a museum in his honour. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961, having been chosen over the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck and E. M. Forster. He donated the entire prize money to the purchase of books for libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Julije Klović

Julije_Klovic_2.jpgPortrait of Julije Klović by El Greco © Public domain. He lived 1498 – 1578

The making of a great book was a much more laboured and careful undertaking in the 16th century, their pages adorned not only with text but vivid ornamental decorations, known as illuminations. Julije Klović's were the greatest of them all. He was the foremost illuminator of the Italian High Renaissance, and arguably the last very notable artist to work within this long tradition. His now priceless works exist in some of the world's most prestigious museums, although an impressive number were brought to Zagreb in 2012 for an exhibition at the famous Klovićevi Dvori gallery, which is named after him.

Marko Marulić

Marko_Marulic_Zagreb.jpgStatue of Marko Marulić in Zagreb © Suradnik13

Born into an aristocratic Dalmatian family, Marko Marulić (1450 – 1524) is today revered in Croatia as the father of the Croatian renaissance, one of the first writers to describe his language as Croatian and something of a national poet. His achievements do actually extend beyond the national obsession – his Christianity-informed writings on humanist and ethical matters were largely produced in Latin and subsequently translated into many languages. His use of the word 'psychology' is the oldest known in literature.

Ivan Meštrović

600-biografija-753-Kopirajmestro.pngIvan Meštrović (1883 – 1962) © Archive of the Ivan Meštrović Museum

The pre-eminent sculptor of his era, you genuinely need to be in the actual presence of Drnis-born Meštrović's major works to understand them. They do not live solitary existences. Instead, they inhabit the space around them, creating indelible memories of time and place. In doing so, his globally famous works help define the cities of Split, Chicago, Belgrade and Zagreb. Incredible!

Marco Polo

Marco_Polo_Mosaic_from_Palazzo_Tursi.jpgMosaic of Marco Polo displayed in the Palazzo Doria-Tursi, Genoa © Public domain. He lived 1254 – 1324

In the age of television and the internet, it's difficult to imagine parts of the world being completely unknown. But, at the time of Korčula-born Marco Polo's travels and subsequent writings, that's exactly what China and the Far East were to the inhabitants of Europe. His book, 'The Travels of Marco Polo' shockingly revealed these lands and their people to a fascinated European populace. Collated over 24 years of life and exploration in the East, the details of his travels helped join these two continents together and the book became the third most translated in the world, after the Bible and the Qur'an.

Gjuro Armeno Baglivi

1525px-Portret_van_Giorgio_Baglivi_op_34-jarige_leeftijd_Georgius_Baglius_aetat._34_titel_op_object_RP-P-1909-5657.jpgPortrait of Gjuro Armeno Baglivi © Public domain

Gjuro Armeno Baglivi (1668 – 1707) was a scientist and physician who helped drag physicians' knowledge of the workings of the human body (and treatment of illness) away from ridiculous, near-baseless assumptions that had existed from the times of Ancient Greece right up until the 17th century. His correct identification that the inner organs were more crucial to functioning health, rather than the nature of the fluids they produced, lead to an early era of human biological understanding that was the first to be based on a scientific observation comparable to that of today.

David Schwarz

HE9_1061scwarz.jpg David Schwarz (1850 – 1897) © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Raised in Županja, Slavonia, David Schwarz was a woodcutter whose own curiosity and problem-solving instincts lead him towards engineering pursuits. Completely self-taught, he successfully set about redesigning woodcutting machinery and thereafter became interested in mechanics and technology. In a rather bold leap, he turned his interest to airships and designed a radical new ship with a rigid envelope made entirely of a relatively new building material - the lightweight metal aluminum. Realisation of the project nearly bankrupted his woodcutting business and made him a laughing stock, but the project eventually got the funding it needed and, after two unsatisfactory models had been tried, Schwarz's airship was successfully flown in Germany, although not until several months after Schwarz had sadly died. Industrialist Carl Berg, who had both funded the project and supplied the aluminum, went on to provide aluminum parts and expertise from the project in the building of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's similarly rigid airships.

Marcel Kiepach

marcel_kiepach_1krz.jpgMarcel Kiepach (1894 - 1915) © krizevci eu

Marcel Kiepach died a soldier on the Russian front in 1915 at the age of just 21. Though all who knew him are surely now also dead, the loss of this young Križevci-born man lingers, because you can't help but think what might have been. Kiepach was a child prodigy. As a boy of just sixteen, he patented a maritime compass that indicates north regardless of the presence of iron or magnetic forces and an improved version in 1911. He patented a dynamo for vehicle lighting that generated power from the mechanical drive of the vehicle itself, which was thereafter used on both cars and bicycles, and he also patented a power switch. Who knows what innovations this youngest of Croatian pioneers would have brought to the world had his life not been cut so short?

Ivan Vučetić

HTE_0823vuketic.jpgIvan Vučetić (1858 – 1925) © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Ivan Vučetić pioneered the use of forensics in law enforcement, specifically fingerprinting. He greatly expanded on previously established ideas in order to make the first positive identification of a criminal in a case, correctly identifying a murderer from a fingerprint left at the scene.

Slavoljub Eduard Penkala

hbl9032penkala.jpgSlavoljub Eduard Penkala (1871 – 1922), one of the Croatian pioneers whose work changed everyday lives © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Naturalised Croat Slavoljub Eduard Penkala was an inventor who, at the time of his death, held 80 patents to his name, including ones for a hot water bottle, a rail-car brake and an anode battery. However, it is for his innovations with pens and pencils for which he is best remembered. He further developed pre-existing ideas for the retractable/mechanical pencil and the first solid-ink fountain pen. One of the Croatian pioneers able to transform his innovations into a successful business, his company TOZ Penkala still operates in Zagreb today – although it's not where we originally get the word 'pen' from, the company and founder's name played a part in this name maintaining its popularised standing.

Franjo Hanaman

Dr._Just_Sándor_és_Hanaman_Ferenc.jpgFranjo Hanaman (seated) and Alexander Just © Public domain

Of all of the Croatian pioneers who changed the world, the biography of Franjo Hanaman (1878 - 1941) is frequently written as the shortest. And yet, you can see his chief innovation inside almost every room you walk into. Franjo Hanaman, from Drenovci, Slavonia, invented the world's first tungsten filament electric light-bulb. The invention was also applied in improving early diodes and triodes. Sometimes it takes just one bright idea to guarantee your place in history...

Lavoslav Ružička and Vladimir Prelog

Lavoslav_Ružićka_1939.jpgLavoslav Ružička (1887 – 1976), one of the Croatian pioneers who won a Nobel Prize  © Nobel Foundation

Vukovar-born, Osijek-educated Lavoslav Ružička was a chemist whose work had wide-reaching implications over several sectors of society. In his early career, his innovations were of benefit to the perfume industry. But, thanks to his lifelong devotion to education, he was drawn into another field. He became interested in steroids and sex hormones and secured his place as a giant in the world of pharmaceuticals with the first synthesis of testosterone. His laboratory thereafter became the world centre of organic chemistry and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1939. His greatest achievements in chemistry actually lay ten years further ahead, though these are nowhere near as easy to explain. He retired in 1957, turning his laboratory over to the younger Croat who for so many years he had mentored - Vladimir Prelog. So much more than a footnote within the story of Lavoslav Ružička, Vladimir Prelog's contributions to the world are also not easy to understand, nor explain as a layman, but he too received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He did so in 1975 for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions.

Vladimir_Prelog_ETH-Bib_Portr_00214.jpgVladimir Prelog  (1906 – 1998) © ETH Zurich

Total Croatia News would like to remind this is only a sample of the Croatian pioneers included in the exhibition. While the number of men included in the exhibition of Croatian pioneers does greatly exceed the number of women, more women are actually included in the exhibition than are represented in this short overview – notably from the fields of opera, ballet, art and photography

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Around Zagreb: Meet Zagreb Statues, Dressed for Tie Day

ZAGREB October 18, 2020 - Happy Tie Day! Worn today by millions across the world, the tie is a Croatian invention. In celebration of its Croatian origin, some of the most prominent monuments in Zagreb are each year dressed temporarily in red cravats. In these photos, we meet Zagreb statues on Tie Day

Croatia is today celebrating Tie Day. The country is the birthplace of the necktie or cravat - the forerunner of the tie worn by millions across the world. In the Croatian capital, Zagreb statues have been fitted with red cravats to mark the occasion. They are instantly noticeable to all of the city's visitors and residents, reminding us of the tie's Croatian origin.

IMG_6805.jpegJosip Jelačić, the most famous and most prominently placed of all Zagreb statues

The cravat originated in the 1630s and was worn by members of the Croatian military. Renowned for their ferocious fighting and bravery, Croatian soldiers fought in the army of King Louis XIII of France. Ever holding a sharp eye for the aesthetic, the French admired the Croats' red neckties and took them back to France where they were popularised. The French word cravat describes how the tie should be worn – a la Croat.

Tie Day is 18 October and to mark the occasion, over 40 city monuments are today wearing red cravats. These figures are scattered across the city, though some of the most famous are located in the heart of the Croatian capital. They can be visited on an untaxing stroll around beautiful Zagreb city centre. In this photos series, join us as we meet Zagreb statues on Tie Day.

IMG_6745.jpegKing Tomislav, facing the main train station - one of the most-striking Zagreb statues

King Tomislav of Croatia

The 10th-century first king of Croatia, Tomislav fended off encroaching influences from all sides in order to hold his kingdom together. That it fell apart after his death perhaps tells us something about the man's singular abilities. He stands impressively at the entrance to the three incredible parks in the heart of Zagreb, facing the main train station. It is thanks to him that Tomislav has remained such a popular boy's name in Croatia.


IMG_6704.jpeg

August Šenoa

Born to an ethnic German and Slovak family, it is for his contributions to Croatian literature, language and identity that August Šenoa is remembered. Although he passed away aged just 43, so influential are his books and writings that he is regarded as the father of the Croatian novel and of modern national literature. 'I have never seen more horrible images, nor deeper sorrow in my life,' he wrote of the destruction visited upon his home city Zagreb in the earthquake of 1880. He died of an illness caught while assisting others in the earthquake's aftermath.

IMG_6800.jpegOne of the more contemporary Zagreb statues, Antun Gustav Matoš sits overlooking Zagreb on Strossmayer Promenade

Antun Gustav Matoš

A giant of Croatian modernist literature, Antun Gustav Matoš's wide-ranging legacy contains poetry, journalism, essays, art critique, short stories and beautifully emotive travel writing. He was separated from his home country of Croatia for 13 years of his 41-year existence, at first, as he was studying overseas, later, because he had deserted from the army. However, his home was never far from his thoughts. Croatian landscapes, Zagorje and the city of Zagreb are common locations depicted in his work (although he was actually born in Tovarnik, Vukovar-Srijem, eastern Croatia).

IMG_6755.jpegAndrija Medulić has two Zagreb statues. You can find this one at the southern entrance to Zrinjevac park, where no less than five Zagreb statues are wearing red cravats.

Andrija Medulić

Born in Zadar in 1510, Andrija Medulić was an artist who worked in fresco, painting and etching. Born to Italian parents and active as a painter in Venice, it's doubtful he ever heard the Croatian version of his family name. He certainly didn't use it. His works are kept in some of the most famous European museums including the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Uffizi and Pitti galleries in Venice and also in the Graphic Collection of the National and University Library in Zagreb.

IMG_6737.jpegAndrija Medulić has two Zagreb statues

IMG_6749.jpegIvan Mažuranić is one of several Zagreb statues you can find in Zrinjevac park

Ivan Mažuranić

Born into a regular, non-aristocratic household in Novi Vinodolski in 1814, Ivan Mažuranić nevertheless rose to the status of Ban of Croatia. He was the first commoner to do so. A poet, linguist, lawyer and politician, he is considered to be one of the most important figures in Croatia's political and cultural life in the mid-19th century thanks to his contributions to the development of the Croatian law system, economics, linguistics, and poetry.

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St George

A saint of both the Christian and Islamic religions, George of Lydda was the Christian son of an ethnically-Greek member of the Roman army. He followed in his father's footsteps and was popularised during the Crusades for his refusal to renounce his faith. He is often referenced as a slayer of dragons, as he is here on Radićeva - his horse stands on top of the slain beast. Despite this clear depiction, and St George being the patron saint of England (he is also claimed in the same role by Ethiopia, Georgia, and Catalonia and Aragon in Spain), this English writer still had to ask the tour guide on a Segway in the background who was depicted in this Zagreb statues.

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Tin Ujević

One of the more contemporary Croatians to have a statue in Zagreb, Tin Ujević was a Croatian poet, considered by many to be the greatest poet in 20th century Croatian literature. Born in Vrgorac in the Dalmatian hinterland, his continued studies brought him to Zagreb where he studied under Antun Gustav Matoš. In addition to his poetry, Ujević also wrote essays, short stories, literature critique, and worked as a translator on many documents of a philosophical nature from many foreign languages. He lived in many major cities throughout his life including Paris, Split and Belgrade as is remembered as a bit of a bohemian. He is known to have frequented cafe bars in the area around Kino Europa, where his statue now stands.

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Marija Juric Zagorka

One of the most widely-read and popular Croatian writers of all time, Marija Juric Zagorka was a trailblazer for women's standing in Croatian society and for liberalism. Highly educated and intelligent, she was forced into an abusive marriage to a Hungarian man 17 years her elder by her own mother. Who could imagine a close Croatian family member meddling so woefully in the affairs of another? She broke free of this disastrous relationship and started life afresh in Zagreb, where she became the country's first female journalist in the 1890s. She died aged 84 and left behind a colossal written legacy, so it's perhaps fitting that her statue now rests in the small, peaceful park area aside Tkalčićeva.

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Giorgio Giulio Clovio aka Juraj Julije Klović

Regarded as the last very notable artist in the tradition of the illuminated manuscript's long, original era, Giorgio Giulio Clovio was a painter associated with the Italian High Renaissance. Born in the Kotor village of Grižane in 1498, his works are today among the best preserved and most cherished within his chosen mediums.

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Fran Krsto Frankopan

The last male descendant of the Croatian noble house of Frankopan, Fran Krsto is best remembered as the co-founder of a failed attempt (alongside his brother-in-law Ban Petar Zrinski) to rebel against Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary Leopold 1st. He was also a writer of poetry.

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Nikola Tesla

An inventor and hugely innovative engineer, Nikola Tesla is best known for pioneering the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. AC enables electricity to be provided safely to every home, street and business today. He was born in 1856 in the village of Smiljan, in Lika, present-day Croatia. He spent most of his adult life working in America and mystique continues to surround him because many of his wondrous ideas remain unrealised. He also worked within the fields of early x-rays, wireless power supply, electromagnetic radiation and radio waves, before his death in 1943. He sits in a pondering position on a street that also bears his name.

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August Cesarec

A native of Zagreb, August Cesarec was a Croatian left-wing intellectual, writer and politician. As a youing man, he was a patriotic idealist. This lead him into trouble when he and cohorts were discovered to be plotting an assassination on Croatia's then-Ban. He was imprisoned and while in captivity, discovered and turned to socialist politics. He wrote poems, plays, short stories and novels and participated in literary magazines run by Miroslav Krleža. Alongside most of the left-wing intelligentsia of Croatia, he was arrested and imprisoned by the fascist Ustasha regime at the start of the Second World War. Following a failed escape attempt, he and others were shot by the Ustasha in Maksimir woods.

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Ruđer Bošković

A polymath who operated as a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian and Jesuit priest, Dubrovnik-born Ruđer Bošković is remembered for many groundbreaking discoveries, not least he absence of atmosphere on the Moon, a precursor of atomic theory and many contributions to astronomy. He lends his name to the largest Croatian research institute working in the fields of natural sciences and technology. The Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb has been responsible for countless scientific discoveries and is famous all over the world.

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Josip Jelačić

Former Ban of Croatia and commander of all Habsburg troops within the country, Josip Jelačić's reputation can be difficult to understand. He sought autonomy for Croatia while remaining loyal to the Habsburgs, helping to put down similar moves towards independence in neighbouring Hungary. He was born in Novi Sad, Vojvodina (present-day Serbia) in 1801 and the very house where he was born was bought from private owners by the Serbian state and gifted the country's Croatian minority in 2020. The most famous statue in Zagreb because of its location on the main square (also named after Josip Jelačić), he used to face north, signifying the Ban's struggle for autonomy from Hungary. Communists removed the statue. Following Croatia's independence, it was put back facing south, as though warding off invaders from the direction of Bosnia. That doesn't seem to have worked so well (joke!) 'Beneath the horse' is a popular place to arrange meeting a friend.

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Josip Juraj Strossmayer

Osijek-born Josip Juraj Strossmayer was a Croatian politician and Catholic bishop. His desire was simultaneously the unification of all south Slavic peoples and the unification of lands that strongly resemble modern-day Croatia into a single autonomous region. He used church money to build schools, libraries, galleries and churches and to help the poor. This incredible statue of Strossmayer was made by Croatia's greatest ever sculptor, the internationally renowned Ivan Meštrović. It sits inside a park also named after the bishop.

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On these links you can check out the other features in our Around Zagreb series:

AROUND ZAGREB VIDEO: Zagreb to Zagorje in a Yugo Car

Around Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery on All Saints


PHOTOS: Around Zagreb Dolac Market with a Michelin-starred Chef





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Friday, 21 August 2020

Nikola Tesla Returns To Gospić After 30 Years

August 22, 2020 – After being destroyed in the war, the famous statue of genius Nikola Tesla will finally return to his home town

Following a 30 year absence, the famous statue of Nikola Tesla will be returned to his home town of Gospić. The original Tesla monument that once stood in the central town square, created by Croatian sculptor Frano Kršinić, was blown up during the 1990s Homeland War.

Gospić mayor Karlo Starčević today signed a contract approving construction works for the renovation of the square in front of the Gospić Culture Information Centre, where the Nikola Tesla statue will be placed. The contract is worth about HRK 1.8 million.

The location where the monument will stand is planned as a quiet area with several benches and gravel footpaths. The statue is an exact replica of the one previously lost to Gospić. Copies of this statue currently reside outside the School of Electrical Engineering section of Belgrade University and on the American side of Niagara Falls (main picture).

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Nikola Tesla is honoured on both sides of Niagara Falls. This is his statue on the Canadian side © Milan Suvajac

An inventor and hugely innovative engineer, Nikola Tesla is best known for pioneering the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. AC enables electricity to be provided safely to every home, street and business today. Tesla was born in 1856 in the village of Smiljan, in Lika, just six kilometres from Gospić.

In 1862, his family moved to Gospić where Tesla's father worked as an Orthodox parish priest. Nikola Tesla himself was supposed to follow his father and his mother's father into the Orthodox priesthood. Thankfully, he did not. In 1870, Nikola Tesla moved to nearby Karlovac to attend the Higher Real Gymnasium. A new Nikola Tesla exhibition centre is currently being built there, next door to the place of his former studies.

After Karlovac, Nikola Tesla continued his studies in Austria, and then spent some time teaching and working in Hungary. He eventually got a job working for Thomas Edison's company in Paris. While there, his incredibly innovative work was soon noticed and he was invited to go and work for the company in America.

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Nikola Tesla, pictured before his work in America © State Archives

Thomas Edison - also a pioneering inventor - is frequently cited as one of the most innovative figures in the development of electricity supply. However, Edison was adamant that direct current (DC) would be the best way to distribute electricity. The DC system he championed was in direct competition to that proposed by his one-time employee, Tesla. Despite Edison's wealth and power, the DC system he fought hard to impose proved to be impractical and unsafe. Instead, the AC distribution design, perfected by Tesla, became the standard supply system that the world uses today.

Nikola Tesla stayed in America for the rest of his life and continued to create countless pioneering inventions. He worked within the fields of early x-rays, wireless power supply, electromagnetic radiation and radio waves, before his death in 1943. In the years since he died, interest in the enigmatic Nikola Tesla has only grown.

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David Bowie playing Nikola Tesla in Christoper Nolan's 2006 movie The Prestige © Warner Brothers 

A mystique continues to surround him, not least because many of his wondrous ideas remain unrealised. Nikola Tesla has been portrayed in film by Nicholas Hoult and David Bowie (the latter, famously, in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige). The national airport in Belgrade, Serbia is named after him, as is Serbia's largest power plant. In Croatia, over 130 streets are named after Nikola Tesla.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Nikola Tesla Experience Centre Project Presented in Karlovac

ZAGREB, April 21, 2020 - Karlovac County authorities on Tuesday presented the Nikola Tesla Experience Centre, which is being built by the Karlovac High School, on the occasion of World Creativity and Innovation Day.

Damir Pintarić, director of the AB construction company in charge of the project, said that the centre has a gross area of 750 square metres.

The contractor is currently building partition walls and will soon start installation works and work on the roof and facade.

Pintarić said that in the current situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the company had to reduce the number of workers and introduce anti-epidemic measures.

Deputy county head Martina Furdek Hajdin expressed hope that the new centre would be a place where young people would find the inspiration to be innovative and creative, the more so as Tesla attended the Karlovac High School.

The project is worth HRK 15 million and its first stage will be completed by September.

Furdek Hajdin said that money for the completion of the project was expected to come from the EU's next financial perspective.

The county has secured HRK 9.6 million for the project, including one million from the Ministry of Culture.

More science news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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