Croatia is situated in southeast Europe adjoining the Mediterranean, central and southeast Europe. It lies between latitude 42° 23’ and 46° 33’ north, and between longitude 13° 30’ and 19° 27’ east. The importance of the geographical location of the Republic of Croatia is also due to the Adriatic Sea and as an extension of the Mediterranean Sea is reaches far northwards into the central region of the European continent.
The area of Croatia is divided into three distinct natural and geographical regions: the lowland or Pannonian natural region (encompassing) 55% of the territory and 66% of the population)
Littoral Croatia or the Adriatic natural region (encompassing) 31% of the territory and 31% of the population) The mountainous region (encompassing 14% of the territory and 3% of the population).
Croatia consists of: lakes and hills in the continental north and northeast (central Croatia and Slavonia as part of the Pannonian Basin); forested mountains in Lika and Gorski Kotar, belonging to the Dinara mountain range; a rocky shore along the Adriatic coastline (Istria, Littoral Croatia and Dalmatia). coastal waters: 33.200 km2
land and sea: 89.810 km2 total economic area: 113.680 km2 land borders: 2.028 km – specific details coastline: 5.835 km land coastline: 1.777 km island coastline: 4.058 km number of islands: 1246
Croatia has 122 towns and cities and 416 municipalities. Major cities and towns: Zagreb (capital), Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Osijek, Zadar, Karlovac, Pula, Sisak, Knin, Gospić, Šibenik, Slavonski Brod, Mali Lošinj, Vukovar, and others. There are 8 national parks: Brijuni, Kornati, Krka, Mljet, Paklenica, Plitvička Jezera, Risnjak, Sjeverni Velebit. Nature parks in the Republic of Croatia include: Biokovo, Kopački Rit, Lonjsko Polje, Medvednica, Papuk, Telašćica, Velebit, Vransko Jezero, Učka, Žumberak – Samoborsko Gorje, Lastovo and surrounding islands.
In the interior of Croatia the climate is temperate and continental; the mountainous regions have a semi-highland and highland climate, littoral regions have a Mediterranean climate (with warm, dry summers and wet, mild winters), and in the hinterland the climate is sub-Mediterranean (with
12slightly colder winters and warmer summers). The climate in Croatia is influenced by its geographical meridian location.
The average temperature in the interior in January is 0°C-2°C and 19°C23°C in August. Temperatures in Littoral Croatia in January range from 6-11°C and from 21-27°C in August.
There are an average of 2.600 hours of sunshine annually, making the Adriatic coast one of the sunniest on the Mediterranean. Sea temperatures in summer range from 22-25°C.
There are a total of 4275 species and 1072 subspecies of flora in Croatia. According to the total number of species per land area, Croatia ranks third in Europe. Around 6.5% of Croatian flora is endemic (346 related species). The most famous Croatian endemic plant is the Velebit Degenia.
According to the census from 2001, Croatia has 4, 437, 460 inhabitants. The large majority are Croats (89,6%); 88% are Roman Catholic, 4.42%, are Orthodox and1.28% are Muslim.
The official language is Croatian.
The Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a branch of the Mediterranean Sea separating the Apennine and Balkan peninsulas and the Apennine and Dinara Mountain Ranges. It extends over an area 138 595 km2, is 738 km long, 159.3 km wide on average, with an average depth of 173 m. The waters along the east coast of the Adriatic, from the Savudrija peninsula in the west to the Prevlaka peninsula in the southeast, belong to the Republic of Croatia. This beautiful 5790 km of coastline is one of the most indented coastlines in the world.
The islands of Croatia, 1246 in all, include almost all the islands along the east and central coast of the Adriatic and are the second largest group of islands in the Mediterranean.
The Adriatic is mostly a shallow sea. North of Pula it rarely exceeds 50 m and 100 m north of Zadar (which was part of the mainland during the Ice Age). In the south Adriatic there are crevices with sudden drops (the greatest depth is 1233 m).
Salinity is 38‰, which is higher than the world average.
The Adriatic is a relatively warm sea – temperatures vary from 22°C to 25°C in summer and from 5°C to 15°C in winter. Sea currents in the Adriatic are warm and run along the Croatian coast from south to north, and back down the Italian coast from north to south. The change in tides is not extreme.
The Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea is considered the cleanest sea in Europe.
Frequent winds include: Bora, a cold northerly wind, Jugo, a south wind with high precipitation, and Maestral, a cool north-westerly wind alleviating summer heat.
The Adriatic is teeming with flora and fauna. It is inhabited by numerous species of fish, mammals, molluscs, crabs, urchins, plankton, algae, sponges and other organisms. All these qualities lend themselves to the development of tourism and a fishing industry.
The Undersea World
There are over 116 registered and documented diving sites, including antique sailing vessels and fields of coral growing on sheer undersea walls, caves and warship wrecks, now inhabited by schools of fish.