1. The Dalmatian dog hails from Croatia and was used to guard the borders of Dalmatia and to run alongside carriages.
2. Croatian born Nikola Tesla invented the ‘Alternating Current’ electrical system that fuels our modern lifestyles. This prolific genius also had a hand in the development of light bulbs, X-rays, radio, laser, remote control, wireless communication and robotics!
3. Relative to its size Croatia has a vast coastline, with 1,144 islands, islets and reefs, accounting for 4,058 kilometres of its swerving 5,385 kilometre total length.
4. Tennis player Goran Ivanišević won the Wimbledon Championship in 2001. He is the only person to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon on a wildcard entry.
5. Zagreb is just 820 miles from London with flights taking under two hours. Dubrovnik is 1,057 miles from London, with a flight time of just over two and a half hours.
6. Zadar’s ‘Sea Organ’ is a prize-winning piece of architectural design that uses the action of the wind and waves to create hypnotic rhythmic harmonies.
7. Croatia has eight national parks including Mljet – home to Europe’s only wild Mongooses – Plitvice Lakes – a series of 16 lakes interconnected by waterfalls and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the limestone gorges of Paklenica.
8. The elegant cravat first hit the spotlight when rugged 17th century Croatian mercenaries, enlisted by Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu, wore them on the streets of Paris. The modish Parisians embraced this ‘new look’, ditching their ruffs in favour of this natty necktie.
9. The Rijeka carnival, Croatia’s biggest, celebrates Slavic folklore and mythology with much use of masks and merrymaking. It’s held annually in Lent.
10. Pula’s beautifully preserved amphitheatre was constructed in the first century AD, during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian.
11. The Emperor Diocletian utilised Brac’s dazzling white stone to construct his magnificent palace in Split. The sandstone remains highly prized and unpolished white stones still litter the island, relics of projects past.
12. The smallest town in the world, according to the Guinness World records, is Hum in central Istria – it has only 17 inhabitants (at the last count…)