Croatia is an Adriatic and a Central European
country. It streches in the form of an arc from the Danube in the northeast
to Istria in the west and Boka Kotorska in the southeast. Its area is
56,538 sq.km., and the area of the coastal sea about 31,900 sq.km. Geographically,
it is situated on the cross-roads between Central Europe and the Mediterranean.
|Total state area
(internal sea line)
| Marine economy
(teritorial sea line)
|Total economy area
|Coastline length of
|Coastline length of
Croatia is situated close to densely populated
and industrially developed European countries. Many internationally
important transport routes cross Croatia. The importance of the
geographical position of the Republic of Croatia is also enhanced
by the Adriatic Sea, the northernmost gulf of the Mediterranean
which is the closest to the central part of the European continent.
The most important routes are centered along
the Sava river, the Adriatic and the Drava river; there are also
several important transversal routes from the Austrian and Hungarian
border to the Adriatic coast (to Rijeka and Split).
Natural and Geographical
The area of Croatia can be divided into
three major natural and geographic parts:
The Pannonian and Peri-Pannonian area
comprises the lowland and hilly parts of eastern and northwestern
Croatia; mountains higher than 500 m are rare and of an insular
character. Most of this area is being used for farming and livestock
breading. Slavonija and Baranja in the east are the most suiotable
for growing cereals; the humid valleys and the hills are richly
afforested while the northwestern part, which gravitates to Zagreb,
is industrially the most developed.
The hilly and mountainous area, which
separates Pannonian Croatia from its coastal part, is less developed.
Its future development will be based on its transit importance,
the growth of the already existing wood and timber industry, and
the still underexploited potential for the production of healthy
food, and winter and rural tourism.
The Adriatic Area includes the narrow
coastal belt separated from the hinterland by high mountains.
This is predominantly a karst area with very dry summers. The
few streams mainly follow narrow gorges in breaking their way
through to the sea. The Croatian coastal area may further be divided
into the northern (Istria nad Kvarner) and southern part (Dalmatia).
It also lends itself to a longitudinal division into the islands,
the coast proper and the immediate hinterland.
The Croatian Adriatic coast is one of the
most indented in the world: it has 1185 islands and islets with
a total coastline of 4,058 km, the total length of the mainland
coast being 1777 km. The largest island is Krk; other large islands
include Cres, Brac, Hvar, Pag and Korcula. The largest peninsulas
are Istria and Peljesac, and the largest bay is Kvarner Bay.
A considerable part of Croatia lies at an altitude
of over 500 m, but there are no mountains higher than 2000 m. Lowlands
prevail in eastern and northwestern Croatia, while the highest mountains
in the mountainous part are found in the area which separates the continental
mainland from the Coast (Risnjak 1528m, Velika Kapela 1533m, Pljesivica
1657m) or close to the sea (Ucka 1396m, Velebit 1758m). The highest mountains
in Dalmatia are Biokovo (1762m) close to the sea and Dinara (1831m) in
Croatia's rivers belong to the Adriatic
and the Black Sea basin. The rivers in the interior are large and
calmer (Sava, Drava, Danube). The coastal rivers are shorter and
have a higher gradient. The longest coastal rivers are the Mirna
and the Rasa in Istria and the Zrmanja, the Krka and the Cetina
in Dalmatia. Karst streams running partly underground prevail in
Croatia has no large lakes (the largest,
Vrana, near Biograd has an area of 30 sq.km. The most atractive
are the Plitvice Lakes (a chain of 16 lakes with the river Korana
as the effluent), the Red and Blue Lakes near Imotski (unique karst
phenomena), freshwater lake Vrana, a cryptodepression on the island
of Cres and lake Prokljan (along the Krka river near Sibenik). The
best know man-made lakes are Lokve and Bajer in Gorski Kotar, Trakoscan
in Hrvatsko Zagorje and Peruca along the river Cetina in Dalmatia.
Lake Kopacevo and the surrounding swamp forests in Baranja are a
major hatching ground and bird habitat.
It stretches from the northwest to the
southeast between the Balkan and Apenine peninsulas for 783 km,
its average width being 170 km. Its average depth is 252 m; its
northwestern part is shallow (maximum 23 m in the Bay of Trieste),
while it is much deaper in the south (1200 m in the South Adriatic
basin). The prevailing winds are the cold bura, the humid jugo
and the refreshing maestrale.
Northern Croatia has a continental climate.
Central, semimountainous and mountainous regions, as well as the
entire Adriatic coast, have a Mediterranean climate. Spring and
autumn are mild along the coast, while winter can be cold and snowy
in central and northern regions.