This episode is brought to you by Live.me. Yes, Game of Thrones was filmed here. (“Geography Now” opening jingle) It’s time to learn Geography – NOW! Hey everyone, I’m your host Barby. We are back in Europe, and today we are going to discuss 101 dalmatian – islands. Haaa, actually it’s more like 580, but first: The flag of Croatia is a little bit more fun and jubilant than most flags because it has the iconic checker pattern in the center. First of all, the flag is a horizontal tricolour that utilizes the Pan-Slavic colors of red, white and blue in equally sized stripes. The blue stands for freedom and hope, the white stands for peace and unity, and the red stands for the revolution and sacrifices. In the middle is the coat of arms with the iconic šahovnica, or the checkerboard shield pattern with red and white squares, sometimes referred to as the ‘chequy’. Some will say that this is because long ago, they were, like, two Croatias; one was called red Croatia, one was called white Croatia, with little evidence supporting that theory. There are five shields on top of the ‘chequy’ that form a crown above the šahonvica, each one representing the historical regions of Croatia. The first one is for Croatia Proper with a crescent and a six point star, Dubrovnik with two red stripes on a dark blue shield, Dalamtia with three crowned leopard heads, Istria with a golden goat with red horns, because, hey why not, and finally, Slavonia with a six pointed star, two silver stripes, and a pine marten running on a red field between the silver stripes. Yeah, for such a small country, those five regions have had an impact on historical operating. Let’s discuss more about that in: First off, before we jump in, you might hear a lot of other countries, specifically in the Slavic world, using the word ‘Hrvatska’ referring to this country instead of Croatia, to a lesser extent. It’s kind of like that whole thing with Germany. Germany: Wir sind Deutschland. America: Oh, you mean Germany? France: Allemagne? Sweden: Tyskland? Poland: Niemcy? Finland: Saksa? Germany: NEIN! First off, Croatia is located on the western part of the Balkan Peninsula in southern Europe, bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, hugging Bosnia and Herzegovina, giving them a small coast on the town of Neum, and just barely have a ten mile or sixteen kilometre wide border with Montenegro, at the southernmost tip of the country on the Adriatic Sea. The country is divided into 20 counties and the country’s capital is Zagreb. Fun side note, the small Bosnian-Herzegovinan port of Neum splits the country’s Dalmatian coast, technically creating an exclave for the Dubrovnik-Neretva area. They were thinking of building a bridge on the Pelješac peninsula so the entire country would be navigable by road, but plans were canceled in 2012. Speaking of which, historically, Croatia was divided into four general regions; you’ll probably hear a lot about these if you go to Croatia. They are: Croatia Proper, Istira, Slavonia and Dalmatia. Speaking of which, Dalmatian dogs are said to have origins in Dalmatia, hence ‘Dalmatian’. Ok, no more rabbit trails. We really need to get back on topic. Now, of course because of its complicated past, that we really don’t have a lot of time to discuss, Croatia has quite a few land and sea disputes, as well as enclaves and exclaves, but I’m just gonna list some of the most notable ones: the bay of Piran, the Dragonja river, the Sveta Gera, all that mess on the Mura and Drava rivers, then we get to Serbia, and it looks like earphones that were just pulled out of your pocket. The funny thing is nobody really pays much attention to these places, which is why when outsiders do, funny things happen. Back in 2015, a Czech guy came in and self proclaimed his own micronation called Liberland, on the supposedly unclaimed island in the Danube. He was totally arrested. But he wasn’t the only one. Two other guys tried unsuccessfully to attempt the same thing on separate islands and failed. The country has over a thousand islands on the Adriatic coast, even though only about 50 of them are inhabited – the largest ones being Cres and Krk – which even though Croatia ranks around 125 in country land mass, it’s all the way up to spot twenty in coastline length. That’s more than Sweden and South Africa combined. In your face, Mongolia! By the way – homework assignment, see if you can find this heart-shaped island off of Croatia’s coast. Zagreb may be the capital, but people come here to see Pula, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. The Croatian coast is acclaimed by many to be, by far, one of the most captivating places in the entire world to visit, especially to witness the sunset. Oh yeah, and Zadar has a strange thing called a “Sea Organ” that looks and sounds like this: Ok, let’s talk about plants and animals and stuff now, shall we? Ok, so Croatia may be primarily known for its coast, however, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any notable features inland. Althgough a lot of the land outside of urban centers is used for farming, Croatia still retains some world-renowned nature zones and national parks. First of all, the country is kind of split along the Dinaric Alps that meander diagonally across the northwest regions, all the way to the south along
the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Division kinda encapsulates the inner flatter areas that slope down into the Panonian Basin, where all the rivers, like the mighty Danube, flow. Because of this division, Croatia experiences quite a contrast in climate, even though the country takes up a small area. Zagreb can be completely different from Dubrovnik at any given time. About half of the entire country is made up of karst topography, which is basically another word for: “dissolved, cave-y, limestone-y ground, that erodes into fascinating shapes and providing a network of sub- “. Basically, cave-y area. Just like we said in Bulgaria, Croatia is loaded with caves. It’s not that hard to find them and many of them are absolutely breathtaking. Caves like the Blue Grotto on the Biševo island and the incredibly deep Vesebit caves, that go down nearly 1,400 metres. The one place that everyone in Pfff, ah that’s cute. The one place that everyone in Croatia will probably boast over will be the famous Plitvice National Park, which contains the Plitvice waterfalls and lakes, which is where the coolest music duo on the planet, Steven Hauser and Luka Šaulić, filmed their Mumford and Sons cover video. I can’t believe I missed you guys, like, a month ago, when you came into my town and did a concert, Arghhh! Sorry, I love 2Cellos. They are a great band. What? I can like music. Croatia also has that small Đurđevački desert and a wide range of wildlife, such as bats, otters, elk, boar, martens, wolves and that incredibly rare Eurasian Lynx, the largest land cat in Europe that can be found here as well. The coast, though, once again takes the center stage when it comes to Croatia’s spotlight moment. Because of its islands and coasts, Croatia has had a huge boost in tourism in the past two decades; an industry that outsiders didn’t exactly haveaccess to prior for the longest time, and the reason why will be discussed in: Croatia has a really, really long history
on who it is and how it got to where it is now, and I’m just gonna summarise it in like eight seconds. Roman Empire. Kingdom. Subordinate. Empire State. Wars with Turkey. Yugoslavia one. Nazi puppet. Yugoslavia two. Civil war. And finally, European Union member. See, that wasn’t so hard! [punch] You forgot the Illyrians! First of all, the country is about 4.5 million people, and is actually one of the 30 or so countries experiencing a population decline. The country is made up almost entirely of ethnic Croats around 91%, Serbs makeup about 5%, and the rest is a slew of other people groups, mostly Slavic but toss in a few Italians, Jews, and why not some Chinese, and hey, you got Croatia. Now like mentioned in the Bosnia and Herzegovina episode, pretty much everybody in the Slavic Balkan nations can understand each other, especially these four countries. The only difference is that these two write in the Cyrillic alphabet and these two in the Latin alphabet. It’s a little more difficult for these fourcountries to understand the remaining Balkan states, like Slovenes, and Bulgarians, and Macedonians. Uhh, I mean the Former Yugoslav Republic… just call them Macedonians. [chatter of Greece, Macedonia (FYROM), and Bulgaria arguing] [Singapore sniggering] Croatia: Hey guys, can we get back to my episode? SHUT UP CROATIA! Nonetheless, the funny thing is pretty much all Slavs, whether they’re from Russia, Poland, or the Czech Republic, which by the way, just changed its English name to Czechia, or the Balkan Slavs can all pretty much hold a basic simple conversation with each other and get by, if they speak really slow and articulate well. It would be like if a Jamaican guy tried to speak to a Singlish-speaking guy. Behind the statue, the coffee shop with a boom boom. No, I say it’s on the right side of the statue. The statue, I’m gonna lock behind… look at the right, man! How do I know what you said? Why you sais behind. Alamak, No lah! You know this is right, this is left… Very SIMPLE Wha… Look at the right. Okey. All you had to say is the right, not behind. Clear now… Ya lah clear already lah. Alamak …Give you simple instruction also donno (don’t know) You are clear now?
Ok lah win already lah. Guys, that was Kevin and Leid. Give them a round of applause. Another quick way you can tell the Slavic Balkan states apart is the denomination. Croats and Slovenes are predominantly Catholic, while Serbs and Montenegrins are typically Orthodox. Croatians love water polo and don’t even get started on the whole Nikola Tesla thing. Serbia: He was a Serb. Croatia: But he was born here. Serbia: But he was a Serb! Croatia: But he was born here! [Serbia and Croatia fighting] Essentially, Croatia went from the fall of Yugoslavia and socialism in the nineties, and the civil war in the mid-nineties, to being labeled as the top travel destination by Lonely Planet in 2000…something. I think it was like 2005? Brandon: Dude, pause, seriously. We gotta check our sources. You’re making us look bad. Barby: Shut up, Brandon! I’m doing my best. Let’s talk about Croatia’s friends. In order to understand Croatia’s friends, you’d gonna have to look at two things: business and religion. First of all, their neighbors. When it comes to Serbia and Croatia, it’s kind of like: Croatia and Serbia have a lot of historical beef, but they hate to kind of admit that they secretly are kind of, a little bit, totally attracted and hot for each other. Business and diplomacy is still very big between these two, and ultimately they still cooperate pretty well. I was told that typically they even give each other a lot of points in Eurovision or something like that, and that just proves it. Eurovision proves everything. Slovenia was, like, a good friend that still held a few grudges, since Slovenia was the first to join the EU, and they originally vouched for Croatia but then they were like, “Wait, before you get in, we gotta settle some disputes, otherwise I’m blocking you.”. And they did, and then it got messy and then it got fixed. The end. By default, Croatia has an affinity for Catholic-dominated countries like Italy, Spain and Ireland, especially the Irish, since they kinda empathise with the whole struggle with the UK, and they are totally fangirls of the Vatican. When it comes to their best friends, however, they would probably say Germany and Poland. Germany is a really close friend since they are kind of seen as, like, the promised land, after so many Croatians moved in and made fortunes there. Germans also love visiting and doing business. Without a doubt though, Croatians love it when the Polish stop by. They are like the best friend who lives far away, but Skypes every week and sees them twice a year. On top of that, Pope John Paul the Second was from Poland, who liked Croatia so much that he visited three times. In conclusion, Croatia is kinda like the surfer cousin of the Slavic countries. After all the drama subsided, he opened up a hotel and a tiki bar on the beach, got a tan and was all like, “What’s up, world? Come take a vacation (Vacatia) in Croatia.” Stay tuned. Cuba is coming up next! Hey Geograpeeps! So Geography NOW just got its second sponsor! Download the live.me app if you like to livestream with me, I’m trying to go on as much as I possibly can. Also, feel free to help us out on Patreon; you get some cool, behind-the-scenes Geography NOW information, and stuff like that. Feel free to subscribe to this channel by just clicking on this box, and thanks so much for all the support guys, so help out on either live.me, Patreon, or just subscribe to this channel. Thanks a lot guys, have a good one!