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GEOGRAPHY


 

Location:

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.

Area:

Total state area 89,810 km2
Teritory area (land) 56,610 km2
Aquatorium area
(internal sea line)
33,200 km2
Marine economy region
(teritorial sea line)
23,870 km2
Total economy area 113,680 km2
Coastline length 5,835 km
Coastline length of mainland 1,777 km
Coastline length of islands 4,058 km

Geographical position:

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 Features:

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.

Relief:

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 the hinterland.

Rivers:

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 Lika.

Lakes:

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.

Adriatic Sea:

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.

Climate:

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.

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