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Croatia: A Crossroads of Precious Cultures, Part 2 of 3

2021-06-02
Lingua:English

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Croatia is home to approximately 444 protected areas, including eight national parks, two strict nature reserves, and 11 nature parks, totaling an estimated 9% of the country’s land. Among these is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is unique for its exceptional beauty and attracts many nature lovers every year. When speaking of Croatia’s natural wonders, another location must be mentioned: the island of Lošinj. For hundreds of years, it has been renowned for its miraculous healing properties.

An estimated 14 elements of Croatian culture have been added to the UNESCO Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity lists, including traditional Croatian music, dance, art, and festivals. The country’s folk music and dances are unique, and its traditional music and instruments are jewels that have been preserved and handed down for generations by the Croats. The Tamburica is one of Croatia’s most popular national instruments. The diple, a woodwind, is another traditional musical instrument that is popular in Croatia.

Croatia is home to several rich traditional singing styles, such as the Klapa, Ojkanje, the Istrian scale, and Bećarac, which are all included on the UNESCO Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity lists. Beautiful folk dances are normally accompanied by folk music, but the Croatian dance Nijemo Kolo is special. This Dalmatian hinterland circle dance is performed without music. Some other traditional dances are Bunjevac, Posavina kolo, and Dubrovnik, which are each popular in their respective areas of Croatia.

Croatia has many colorful festivals related to religion, and some are on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Included on UNESCO’s list in 2009, the traditional carnival bell ringers’ pageant in the Kastav area is celebrated each January. The Procession of Za Križen (Following the Cross) is a Christian ritual that is performed every Maundy Thursday on the Dalmatian island of Hvar. Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before the Christian holiday of Easter and commemorates the Washing of the Feet (Maundy), and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.

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