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Summary: Croatia is in southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia, and is geographically diverse, with flat plains along the Hungarian border, and low mountains and highlands near the Adriatic coastline and islands. Croatia attracts hikers, biologists and cave explorers with its rich, untouched rugged areas and caves, and has an economy based primarily on tourism, finance and investment.

Capital: Zagreb
Time Zone: DST +0200 UTC
Population: 4,496,869
Languages: Croatian
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Kuna - Currently 1 HRK = 0.1995 USD $
Climate: The climate of Croatia is mediterranean and continental. The continental climate is predominant with hot summers and cold winters, and mild winters and dry summers along the coast.

Zagreb: Croatia's capital since 1557, Zagreb is in the northern reaches of the country and has a metropolitan flair that keeps the city rejuvenated. In addition to the National Museum and the Lotrscak Tower, the city has the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary serving as a late 19th century shell hiding the 13th century interior. In another part of the city, the Strossmayer Gallery and Archaeological Museum are big attractions, both in the lower part of town.

Spelunking: The world's deepest underground drop has been found here, at almost 1,700 feet straight down. In fact, two of the world's 20 deepest caves are found in Croatia. Take yourself to the Velebit region of central Croatia, to the Rozanski Hip National Park reserve, and explore away. More tame caves can be found near Gracac, and the Baredine Cave is one of the most approachable and tourist-friendly ones, found next to Tar, on the western tip near Pula.

Dubrovnik: Founded around 700 AD, Dubrovnik is separated from Croatia by a small tip of Bosnia - Herzegovina, and its city walls were built in the 13th and 16th centuries and are still standing. It has the Stradun, a long pedestrian walkway that goes across the whole city, from the Franciscan Monastery, operating for more than 600 years, through to the Rector's Palace and a small marketplace. Lord Byron, the 19th Century English poet, referred to Dubrovnik as "The Jewel of the Adriatic".

Security Warning: Although most regions of the country are safe to tourists, you should avoid the Krajina region and western Slavonia. Unexploded mines, as well as a potential for civil unrest, make these areas dangerous.

Keyboards: If you stop in to an Internet cafe, you will notice that the keyboard has a slightly different layout. Most notably, Y and Z have switched positions, so watch what you tzpe.

War: Avoid any discussion of the recent war, or ethnic politics in general, as the wounds are still fresh.

When To Visit: The warmer months are the best to tour the country, with September gathering lower hotel rates but still good weather. Zagreb hosts more than half a dozen jazz and music festivals, starting in the spring through to the beginning of fall.

Food: Croatian food is influenced by Slavic and Mediterranean roots. Among the local treats are a cheese donut called piroska, and burek, a dish made with layered meat and cheese distantly resembling lasagna.

Phrases: Hello = Zdravo, Yes = Da, No = Ne, Please = Molim, Thank you = Hvala, Do you speak English? = Govorite li engleski?

Tipping: Standard tipping of 10% is acceptable for restaurants, bars and taxis.

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