The culture of Croatia has roots in a long history: the Croatian people have been inhabiting the area for fourteen centuries, but there are important remnants of the earlier periods still preserved in the country.
In Early Middle Ages, Croatia was an important centre for art and architecture in south eastern Europe. There were many Croatian artists during the Medieval period, and the arts flourished during the Renaissance. Later styles in Croatia included Baroque and Rococo.
The music of Croatia, like the divisions of the country itself, has two major influences: a Central European one, present in central and northern parts of the country and in Slavonia, and a Mediterranean one, present in coastal regions of Dalmatia and Istria.
In Croatia both pop and rock are popular, as well as pop music influenced by Dalmatian or Slavonian folk elements.
From the mid-20th century onwards, so-called schlager music and chanson-inspired music have formed the backbone of the Croatian popular music.
Croatian fashion is as varied as the country’s landscape, one of the biggest influences on such diversity. Depending on where you lived in Croatia, and even today, that determined your clothing. In the Western-world, Croatian traditional clothing is typically only worn for holidays, special events, and even dancing. In Croatia, however, in some places this style of clothing is still worn every day.
Each cultural and geographical region has its own specific variety of costume that vary in style, material, color, shape, and form. Much of these regional costumes were influenced by the Austrian, Hungarian, German, Italian, or Turkish presence, due to whichever power ruled the region.
Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous, and is therefore known as “the cuisine of regions”. Its modern roots date back to proto-Slavic and ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized by the earlier proto-Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more famous gastronomic orders of today, Hungarian, Viennese, Vietnamese and Turkish, while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine, including Italian and French.
The Croatian language is the official language of Croatia, and one of 24 official languages of the European Union since 2013. Minority languages are in official use in local government units where more than a third of the population consists of national minorities or where local legislation mandates their use. These languages are Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Ruthenian, Serbian and Slovakian. According to the 2011 Census, 95.60% of citizens of Croatia declared Croatian as their native language, 1.23% declared Serbian as their native language, while no other language is represented in Croatia by more than 0.5% of native speakers among the population of Croatia.
Croatian literature is a definition given to the compilation of novels, dramas, short stories, poems and other various work of written kind entirely attributed to the medieval and modern culture of the Croats and the Croatian language.
Architecture in Croatia reflects influences of bordering nations. Austrian and Hungarian influence is visible in public spaces and buildings in the north and in the central regions. Large squares named after culture heroes, well-groomed parks, and pedestrian-only zones, are features of these orderly towns and cities, especially where large scale Baroque urban planning took place, for instance in Varaždin and Karlovac. Subsequent influence of the Art Nouveau was reflected in contemporary architecture. Along the coast, the architecture is Mediterranean with a strong influence of renaissance architecture in major urban areas exemplified in works of Venetian Giorgio da Sebenico and Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino. The oldest preserved examples of Croatian architecture are the 9th century churches, with the largest and the most representative among them being Donatus of Zadar.
Sport in Croatia has significant role in Croatian culture, and many local sports clubs as well as the Croatian national squads enjoy strong followings in the country. The most enduring sport by far in Croatia is football, and is played on amateur and professional levels amongst all age groups across the entire country. Several other major team sports are handball, basketball and water polo, with clubs in all parts of Croatia. Ice hockey is another popular team sport, namely in the Croatian interior. The most popular individual sports in Croatia are tennis, alpine skiing, and swimming, and to some extent table tennis and chess. Various amateur sport games are popular in Croatia, notably picigin.
Secular holidays include New Year’s Day, International Labor Day (1 May), Croatian Statehood Day (30 May), Antifascist Uprising Day (22 June), and the Day of National Gratitude (5 August). International Women’s Day (8 March) is still popularly observed.