Croatian culture- influences – a short historic review

Being settled in the middle of Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Balkans, it’s no wonder Croatian culture consists of a mixture of all kinds of influences from various parts of the Old World.
Only historically speaking, the Croatian coast has been inhabited in the antiquity period as a colony of the Greeks and the Romans which left us beautiful monuments such as the amphitheater in Pula (where you can book a tour) or Diocletian’s Palace in Split (how about visiting Split while you’re here?).

But the culture in Croatia existed before the antiquity period in the form of Illyrian tribes living in most of the space in which Croatia consists today.
Throughout history, the country experienced numerous cultural influences regarding the period it was in.

After antiquity, Croatia came under the cultural influence of Austro-Hungary which can be seen in the architecture in the continental part such as Zagreb but also some seaside places such as Rijeka (the biggest Croatian harbor). This period left an influence in a very distinctive way where many Croatians still today use some German phrases, and by behaving in a very civilized, old-school manners, you can mostly see in historic period movies. The influence lives still today, through art, general architecture, behavior, and all other kinds of visible signs of evolving of a nation. Maybe the most memorable inheritance is the culture of coffee enjoying coffee as a ritual which is a mixture of the mild Ottoman influence and the Austrian too. Read more about the culture of drinking coffee here.

Ston, by Archives of Tourist Board of Ston
Ston, by Archives of Tourist Board of Ston

Folk music merged with punk beats, sewing the newest fashion trends from your relative’s old clothes, and similar ways to combine the ways of the traditional East and modern West are maybe the best examples of how Yugoslav culture looked like in these areas.

Šibenik, Croatia photo credit by Šibenik Knin County Tourist Board
Šibenik, Croatia photo credit by Šibenik Knin County Tourist Board

Shortly after separation from Yugoslavia, Croatia embraced the Western culture in most of its segments but still keeping the spirit of all the older influences mentioned above.
How does that look like?

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