The Croats

Croatia has 4,480 000 inhabitants. 89% of the population is Croats, the proportion of Serbs is 4,5%. Apart from them Bosniaks, Hungarians, Slovenes, Italians, Albanians and Gypsies live in the country. The most densely populated areas are the coastline and the northern regions. The largest city is the capital, Zagreb with 706,000 inhabitants, other big cities are Split, Rijeka, Osijek and Zadar.

Many Croats have migrated throughout the world due to economic or political reasons. The largest Croat communities live in the USA and in Germany.

Famous Croats:

Ivo Andrić – writer, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1961)

August Šenoa – novelist, poet, editor

Ivan Meštrović – world-famous sculptor

Janica Kostelić – alpine skier, world champion and Olympic champion

Goran Višnjić – actor

John Malkovich - actor

The majority of the Croats are Catholic and religion plays an important role in the life of the Croatian families. The most significant holidays are Christmas and Easter. The Feast of Assumption (August 15), Epiphany (January 6) and All Saints' Day (November 1) were declared national holidays.

There are several places of pilgrimage in the territory of Croatia. One of the most well-known places is Marija Bistrica located on the slopes of Medvenica mountain in Krapina-Zagorje county. The black wooden Mary shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. According to the legend, a local priest walled the sculpture into the church's wall to save it from the Turks in 1545. A few decades later a bright light shone from the place and the sculpture was rediscovered.

Trsat (above Rijeka) is also an important pilgrimage centre. Here the Our Lady of Trsat is linked with miracles.

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